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Queen's NI railway halt plaque removed over vandalism fears to be reinstated

By Rebecca Black

Published 29/09/2016

The Queen unveils the plaque on the platform at Bellarena Station
The Queen unveils the plaque on the platform at Bellarena Station

A plaque unveiled by the Queen at a new train halt at Bellarena which was removed by Translink officials over fears it would be vandalised is to be reinstated.

The Queen, accompanied by Prince Philip, visited Northern Ireland in July and took in the sights of the north coast, including the Giant's Causeway and Bushmills.

During the one-day visit she also experienced a steam train journey, enjoying some of our most stunning scenery while travelling from Coleraine to the restored platform at Bellarena.

Many people stood at the railway line along the route and cheered as the train passed, before the Queen disembarked and unveiled the plaque at Bellarena halt in Co Londonderry.

But the plaque was removed within 24 hours of being unveiled.

Following an Assembly question asked by People Before Profit MLA Eamonn McCann, it emerged that Translink staff removed the plaque, believing it could be vandalised.

A Department of Infrastructure spokesman stated in its response to Mr McCann: "Translink has advised that, because the halt at Bellarena is unmanned, it was concerned about the safety of the plaque and the possibility that it could be vandalised. Translink is currently looking at options to minimise this risk."

However in a statement on Thursday, Translink said it would be reinstated in October.

A spokesman said: "We can confirm that the plaque marking the official opening of Bellarena halt by Her Majesty the Queen, will be reinstated in early October, following internal discussions to expedite the process.”

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