The Cullybackey Area Signalling and Level Crossings Renewals Project involves significant upgrades and associated civil engineering works on the track and the platform of Cullybackey Train Station and the surrounding area. It represents a major capital investment by the Department for Infrastructure and is essential to maintain high safety standards and operational performance for users of the railway.
Translink is working to transform public transport in line with our vision to be your first choice for travel, today, for tomorrow. As an essential public service, public transport is fundamental to the economic, social and environmental well-being of our society. An essential major rail refurbishment commenced between Cullybackey and Ballymena in Winter 2021 and will continue until Summer 2023.
Contractor compounds are located at Shellinghill Road, Sand Road, Spence Crescent and Ballymena Road. These are used for essential material handling and storage. As we approach the end of the project, compound sites will begin to be demobilised. The project has three elements:
- Cullybackey Level Crossings: The three Level Crossings at Cullybackey were coming to the end of their operational life after 30 years of service and required renewal. The crossing equipment has been renewed with updated technology which will enhance safety standards.
- Platform Extension at Cullybackey Train Station: A platform extension at Cullybackey Station is now substantially complete and this will facilitate signalling works. There will also be improvements to the platform pedestrian access at the entrance of the station.
- Killagan to Ballymena Cable Ducting: Around 5.5 miles of new cabling needs to be upgraded in the project area. This will enable technology enhancements to be maximised driving improved signalling efficiencies and reducing the levels of maintenance required in the future.
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- Enhancing the network to attract more people to choose ‘greener’ travel
- Protecting Northern Ireland’s rail infrastructure for future generations
- Enhanced network performance
- Reduced maintenance levels for the future
- Longer platforms for 6-car walkthrough trains - more space and capacity for passengers
Indicative Project Timeline
We have carefully considered the best timing to deliver this important project in order to minimise the overall impact for passengers and local residents. The below indicative schedule is currently being completed by the project team.
December 2021: Project commencement and compound establishment
Throughout 2022 and ongoing: Cable ducting along the route from Killagan to Ballymena with night working. Autumn 2022: Minor infrastructure works around the station including fencing, the erection of new barriers, resurfacing works and upgrades to the existing access ramp.
November 2022 – March 2023: Platform extension at Cullybackey Train Station with day and night working. Autumn 2022 - Spring 2023: Level crossings upgrades & signalling infrastructure works with day and night working and associated road closures.
Winter 2022/23 - Spring 2023: Testing and commissioning works (including a 10-day line closure and local road closures).
Finishing works are required after the blockade to complete the project.
Impact of Works
- Level Crossings - Local road closures and traffic diversions have been required from time to time to facilitate the renewal of the level crossings with finishing works current being completed.
- Platform Works – Platform extension works are ongoing with day and night working. An alternative access is in place for train passengers via the existing footpath at Spence Crescent (accessed from Station Road), which has been upgraded, and through the Station House garden. This is signposted locally, and the station remains open.
- Cable Ducting - Ducting works are being carried out at night with noise mitigation measures and prior notification to properties in the vicinity.
Working With the Community
We have been working with the local community and elected representatives seeking to support community initiatives in the local area that will leave a lasting legacy associated with the project. We have ensured that all community activities align with Translink’s corporate positions including our CSR Strategy, Climate Positive Strategy, ‘SPIRIT’ guidelines and our four key CSR themes of Go Eco, Go Healthy, Go Safe and Go Together.
The Translink Safety Bus has visited both Buick Memorial PS and Cullybackey College to highlight safety issues associated with the use of public transport to local children in a fun and interactive environment.
We were also delighted to partner with Buick Memorial PS to provide sponsorship for book vouchers and additional books as part of the schools Book Fair and World Book Day to improve the school library.
We have engaged with the Cullybackey Community Partnership group and Buick PS to support a joint project called the ‘Friends of Buick’ initiative which funded books, arts and crafts, planting at the nursery and an intergenerational reading and planting project.
More recently we have engaged with Buick PS to provide a site visit to the station for primary 6 pupils which included a talk from Translink’s Level Crossing Risk Coordinator. Translink have also provided train tickets to Buick PS for their primary 7 pupils and teachers to travel to Belfast.
We have worked closely with Cullybackey Community Partnership to develop environmental and biodiversity projects that will benefit the whole community. This has included sponsorship for a Bug Hotel and the regeneration of the local ‘orchard’ land at Old Cullybackey Road to provide seating and signage.
We have also engaged with Cullybackey College to provide a career’s talk to the senior school linked to ‘International Women in Engineering Day’. This talk was delivered by two female Translink graduates and the female project manager from the contractor and highlighted the range of opportunities in the engineering field.
To recycle some of the materials from the construction works, we donated cable drums to the Portglenone Men’s Shed for reuse in making furniture and crafts during their classes.
We will continue to work with the community to support local initiatives and projects which will leave a legacy associated with the project.
Translink has engaged with the local community from the outset of the project through various meetings, an online webinar, letters to local residents, the contractor’s control centre number and public drop-in sessions in May and September 2022 and February 2023.
We will keep the local community updated as this project progresses, letting you know more about our construction methods, our timescales and exactly when we will be working.
We are grateful for your support for our efforts to deliver a better rail service for everyone, helping make public transport first choice for travel, for today and for tomorrow.
If you would like to speak to a member of the project team, please contact the Babcock dedicated control centre on: 020 8629 5060, then option 5 (Rail Systems), then option 1 (Translink).