by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

Work has started on a new rail station for Portrush, well ahead of the town staging the British Open Championship next summer.   An event to mark the official start of construction work at the station was held  recently under the stewardship of local contractor Graham.


  The scheme represents an investment of approximately £5.6 million, with funding secured from the Department for Communities (£4.7m) and Department for Infrastructure (over £900K).

 

The new train station is one element of a wider £17m Portrush Regeneration Programme, led by the Department for Communities, which also includes a major public realm and revitalisation scheme for the town. 

 

Work is set to be completed next spring ahead of the 148th Open, Portrush, to be held in the town in July 2019.  This major sporting event offers a significant opportunity to sustainably develop the economy of Portrush town and the wider North Coast in a way that will bring substantial benefits to the area in terms of visitor numbers, spend and investment.  The new, modern, fully-accessible station will allow for further passenger growth at Portrush station, with over 620,000 journeys per year currently being made to and from the existing station.  It will also contribute positively to the ongoing regeneration in Portrush town centre and surrounding area.

 

Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive, said: ‘‘We are delighted to get this exciting project underway.  The new facility will provide modern passenger facilities to cater for the growing passenger numbers and will play a key role in the transport plans for the 148th Open next year. We are transforming public transport to be Your First Choice for Travel in Northern Ireland; this new fully accessible station will offer modern waiting facilities, improved passenger information and signage to local amenities and attractions as well as enhanced cycle storage to encourage active travel and ‘greener’ tourism links.

  

‘‘We look forward to working alongside a range of stakeholders in delivering this key project and would like to thank both Departments for the essential funding to deliver this facility for the town and for the wider Causeway Coast and Glens District.

 

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Councillor Joan Baird OBE said: “The beginning of work on a new train station is a hugely significant aspect of the ongoing regeneration of the town.

 

‘‘The facility will provide visitors with a welcome which appropriately reflects Portrush’s status as a premier resort, complementing the public realm improvements which are already making a positive difference to its visual appeal.

 

‘‘The new train station and the regeneration programme as a whole will put Portrush in an optimum position as it looks forward to the return of the 148th Open next year and the associated benefits this will bring.”

 

William Cameron from the Department for Communities said: “The Department is delighted to see that work is underway to deliver a new modern train station, with much improved facilities for Portrush. The new station will not only serve the increasing numbers visiting the North Coast but will also help regenerate the area around one of the main gateways into this popular seaside town.

 

“The new train station is one of the projects in the £17 m Executive endorsed Portrush Regeneration Programme that will help regenerate Portrush in the run up to the 148th Open Championship next year and help position the area to maximise the economic return that the 148th Open and its legacy will present. Other projects include a major public realm and shop frontage schemes. The Department is grateful to Translink for their commitment to this project and I look forward to seeing the exciting plans for the train station becoming a reality over the coming months.”

 

Moira Doherty, Department for Infrastructure Director of Public Transport said: “Encouraging people to make sustainable travel choices is a key ambition in the draft Programme for Government.  To achieve this, we need to have the right infrastructure in place.  The Department for Infrastructure has invested £900,000 in the development of these modern new facilities which will help to transform public transport services in Portrush, drive up passenger numbers and contribute to the economic development of the region.

 

“We are also committed to making public transport accessible for all, so it is hugely important that the upgraded station will include a Changing Places facility, enabling more disabled people to travel with confidence.  The Department will continue to work in collaboration with our partners as this innovative project comes to fruition.”

 

GRAHAM’s Managing Director – Civil Engineering, Leo Martin, said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded the Portrush Train Station contract. We recognise the importance of this project as part of the overall Portrush Regeneration Scheme and its ambitions to enhance the image of the surrounding area and to help regenerate the local town.

“The eyes of the world will descend upon Portrush for the 148th Open and we’re proud to be able to play our part in shaping the growing reputation of the town, and Northern Ireland as a whole. But more than that, we’re committed to delivering a lasting impact and a legacy for Portrush as it aims to enhance its high quality tourism offering for the future. This new station will certainly act as a catalyst for growth.

“Translink, and the rail sector throughout the UK and Ireland, to deliver projects safely and efficiently, with a focus on exceeding client expectations, trust us.

“We are looking forward to strengthening our relationship further with Translink and are determined to complete the Portrush Train Station to the highest standards, which will serve to broaden Portrush’s visitor market base and help to create a whole year tourism economic base for the town.”

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Ciara Lappin, Doran Consulting; Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive; Leo Martin, Managing Director, GRAHAM; Moira Doherty, Department for Infrastructure; William Cameron, Department for Communities; Louise Sterritt, Translink Project Manager; and Cllr William McCandless, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.

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