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A Milewater Milestone towards Glider

2 May 2018

The introduction of the Glider, Belfast’s new innovative mode of travel, isn’t just about testing new vehicles and erecting new halts along the route – the iconic violet vehicles need storage and maintenance facilities to maintain high levels of service and reliability; with that in mind, work is now complete on the first phase of the Milewater Service Centre in the north of the city, which will be the main base for the high capacity, high specification vehicles. 

Thanks to investment worth approximately £20 million, with £14million support from the European Regional Development Fund through the Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme for Northern Ireland 2014-2020 and support from the Department for Infrastructure, the new site is a major step on the road to the delivery of the entire Belfast Rapid Transport project, a key Programme for Government objective which goes live across the east and west of the city on 3 September.   

Working with local contractor Henry Brothers Ltd, Translink has delivered a high quality service centre facility befitting the new service, with enhanced facilities to accommodate the longer vehicles, workshops, central storage facilities, specialist equipment and bus washing and fuel facilities. 

Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive, said: ‘‘The new eco-hybrid Glider vehicles are high capacity articulated buses and at 18 metres long, are considerably larger than standard buses, requiring larger facilities and specialist equipment.  This new facility will help us to maintain the Glider fleet in quality condition in order to deliver high standards of service and reliability, as well as maximising efficiencies. The new site also brings additional employment opportunities, including up to 120 construction jobs, and over 100 Translink staff will be based on site once the service centre is fully operational. 

‘‘The new facility will be fully operational by August, in time for Glider going live in early September.’’   

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister, said:  “I’d like to congratulate everyone who has worked on the successful completion of the first phase of the Milewater Service Centre; a very welcome, tangible milestone in the Belfast Rapid Transport (BRT) project.  We’ve made a commitment in The Belfast Agenda to developing the city’s infrastructure, improving connectivity and creating employment and opportunity, and the BRT will make a significant contribution to those objectives by transforming public transport in Belfast and helping us to deliver on our wider economic growth.” 

Ciarán de Búrca, Department for Infrastructure Director of Transport Projects said: “The Belfast Rapid Transit project represents an investment of £90million from the Department for Infrastructure.  The new Glider service coming into operation in September 2018 will improve connectivity across the city and help us to achieve our ambition to increase the use of public transport, walking and cycling as set out in the Programme for Government.  

“The completion of this phase of works on the Milewater Service Centre is a significant milestone in the delivery of the flagship BRT project which is set to further enhance the image of Belfast and inspire more people to choose public transport.”   



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