Rail line to close in November to test new passing loop

Queen Elizabeth II and the her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh arrive at Bellarena railway station after travelling from Coleraine by steam train during the second day of her visit to Northern Ireland to mark her 90th birthday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 28, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Ulster. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II and the her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh arrive at Bellarena railway station after travelling from Coleraine by steam train during the second day of her visit to Northern Ireland to mark her 90th birthday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 28, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Ulster. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The Londonderry to Coleraine railway line will close in November to allow to signalling systems that will allow trains pass one another at Bellarena tp be tested.

Fifty per cent of the signaling infrastructure on the line upgrade has already been completed and long-promised better-timetabling and an hourly service will be up and running by the end of the year, it is hoped.

Queen Elizabeth II and the her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh arrive at Bellarena railway station after travelling from Coleraine by steam train during the second day of her visit to Northern Ireland to mark her 90th birthday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 28, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Ulster. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Queen Elizabeth II and the her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh arrive at Bellarena railway station after travelling from Coleraine by steam train during the second day of her visit to Northern Ireland to mark her 90th birthday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 28, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Ulster. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Rail Minister Chris Hazzard told SDLP MLA Gerry Mullan that Phase 2 of the upgrade is nearly finished.

“I can provide you with the following up-to-date position on progress of the Derry to Belfast railway line: The passing loop at Bellarena, including the two new platforms, has been constructed and the down direction platform is now in operational use.

“The platform extension at Castlerock has now been completed.

“The detailed signalling and telecoms design has now been completed and approximately 50% of the signalling and telecoms infrastructure has been installed,” stated the Minister.

He said there’ll be a short closure of the line for testing prior to all systems go for 2017.

“A line closure is planned for November 2016 to test and commission the signaling and telecoms works which enables trains to and from Derry to pass each other at the passing loop. The overall project is on programme and is due to be substantially completed by December 31, 2016.”