Phase 3 of Derry rail upgrade slated for 2025 with 9 month closure required
and live on Freeview channel 276
The work on Phase Three of the project will be carried out from August 2025 to July 2026.
The line will be closed for up to nine months to facilitate construction.
Stuart Wightman, Director of Public Transport Operations at the Department of Infrastructure, confirmed the expected start date in correspondence with local rail campaigner Paul Hughes, from the Enagh Youth Forum.
"In relation to the Phase 3 upgrade of the Coleraine to Derry Rail line, this is a major civil engineering project to renew the entire track bed including ballast and sleepers between Castlerock and Eglinton, securing this section of the railway for future generations.
“It involves the upgrading of structures to accommodate the track relay, associated drainage works and will allow for speed increases of the line to 90mph where possible, depending on physical infrastructure.
“Following approval from the Department of Finance, the Department has issued a letter of offer to take forward this important project. This shows the strong commitment that the Department has to rail services to the North West,” Mr. Wightman advised.
The senior civil servant confirmed that Translink is now taking forward work to undertake detailed design, procure a contractor, and to purchase the required materials.
“This will mean that, subject to an approved full business case, construction work on the Phase 3 project is scheduled to be carried out from August 2025 to July 2026, with work continuing to the end of 2027 to allow for additional night time work and the construction defects period.
“The planned line closure is anticipated to last approximately nine months during the construction period. Translink will ensure there is sufficient communication and service planning with stakeholders and local residents in respect of the line closure,” he stated.
Meanwhile, DfI is undertaking a separate feasibility study for half hourly train services on the Derry–Belfast line, Mr. Wightman indicated.
"This includes the creation of new halts at Eglinton/City of Derry Airport, Strathfoyle and Ballykelly and this work is due to be complete in Quarter 2 of 2023.
“This project will be subject to the necessary approval processes as well as the need to secure budget to take forward the project, should it demonstrate value for money.
“As part of this work, consideration will be given to understanding what works could be undertaken at the same time as the Phase 3 project.
“This study will consider the greenway development at Strathfoyle to ensure that any project taken forward connects our communities as we work towards a carbon neutral public transport network,” stated Mr. Wightman.
Mr. Hughes has said a halt at Strathfoyle, if approved, would be transformative for the local area.
“A new rail halt at Strathfoyle would achieve a five minute travel time into the centre of Derry.
"There is more than enough land available that could facilitate this and a new rail halt would be of a great benefit to local people and complement the new Greenway,” he stated.