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Train travel chaos in Northern Ireland as 'major signal failure' hits line between Lisburn and Portadown

By Claire Williamson

Published 02/12/2015

Passengers in Lurgan wait for a shuttle bus to take them to Belfast. Picture: Vincent Kearney BBC @vincekearney
Passengers in Lurgan wait for a shuttle bus to take them to Belfast. Picture: Vincent Kearney BBC @vincekearney
Frustrated passengers queuing for a bus substitute in Lurgan.

Commuters were faced with travel chaos in Northern Ireland this morning as signalling problems caused major problems for Translink trains.

A bus substitute was put in place for passengers stranded as the Lisburn to Portadown trains were disrupted due to the "major signal failure".

Translink advised passengers to make alternative arrangements as delays were expected.

<Are you caught up in the chaos? Let us know and send your pictures here>

Long queues formed as passengers waited for buses to shuttle them to their destination as their trains were not running.

Bewildered commuters took to Twitter to vent their frustration and confusion as they fell victim to the delays.

One tweeted: "Packed train from Lisburn this am #sardines felt like London tube"

Another called it "shambolic".

A 57-year-old man from Lurgan told the Belfast Telegraph: "I was travelling from Lurgan to Belfast, the platform was closed with a notice saying there was a signaling problem in Portadown.

"It appeared trains weren't travelling in either direction.

"By the time I came around to other side of the platform it said they were putting buses on. The queue was from the entrance of the station right out to the footpath.

"There were enough people to fill a bus and a half I would guess.

"At 7.10 I asked how many buses were coming, they didn't know. No buses had arrived at this point in time. The man said we've only known about this for an hour and a half.

"Which at that point in time made my mind up thinking 'you are not going to be depending on these guys'.

"There was a chap in front of me with a push bike and he was told no he couldn't bring his bike with him on the bus - with that I left.

My wife was passing at 8.45 and it looked exactly the same as it did t at 7.10.

"Staff said if you have a car take the car. That was their advice. When you go to the train station to take a train you are told to take your car.

"I was going to Belfast so the bus service was only going to take me to Lisburn and then I'd have to get off in Lisburn and take the train so it transpired my car journey took me the best part of an hour and a half and I suspect I wouldn't have been any quicker using Translink."

He added: "When you have experience Translink two or three times you are resigned to the fact - you become accustomed to it."

Many complained about the length of time that it took for the replacement bus service to arrive for stranded passengers.

One said: "Finally on a bus now. Very poor to wait that long #refund."

Translink apologised for any inconvenience caused. Normal services on the Portadown line has now resumed.

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