Derry's new transport hub 'will create a gateway' to North West
A scheme to develop the former Londonderry train station into a major transport hub will begin in April, it has been announced.
Translink chief executive Chris Conway gave a progress report on the North-West Multi-Modal Transport Hub during a visit to the city yesterday.
A model of the finished site went on display just days after Translink confirmed passenger numbers on the Derry to Belfast line have increased by 37% since the introduction of hourly trains.
The plans will also include the demolition of the city's current railway station, with that site being redeveloped to allow for more practical communal use.
Once completed, the hub will include a community space, and will open up a significant swathe of new space along the banks of the River Foyle.
Other station features will include a park and ride facility, a bus turning circle and a Greenway link to the city centre via the Peace Bridge, as well as track, signalling and telecoms work.
Concerns had been raised about why the plans indicate that trains will not be able to be brought fully into the Victorian building that was the original station.
Translink said this is due to limitations imposed on it by modern railway safety standards, which no longer allow trains to terminate directly against buffers.
The hub marks an investment of around £27m, secured from the EU's INTERREG VA Programme, supported by the Department for Infrastructure and the Republic's Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.
Mr Conway said: "This is a major scheme that will be a key portal for the North-West region, supporting business, leisure and tourism opportunities.
"It also protects the iconic Victorian station building and will be a catalyst for development in the wider Waterside and Duke Street area.
"We have seen strong growth in passenger numbers of around 37% on the Derry/Londonderry line rail corridor since the introduction of the hourly service, and the new facility will further help to build on this success by encouraging more people to choose more active, sustainable transport modes."
Mr Conway said he was committed to making public transport the first choice for travel in Northern Ireland.
He said Translink had invested heavily in the city in recent years, with track and fleet enhancements representing a cash injection of £55m.
"We are very excited about this latest project and the benefits it brings to the region," he added.
"The station design combines the best of heritage with next generation requirements, providing a real sense of openness inside, with a new civic space that has been well received."
The architect behind the project, Bronagh Lynch from Consarc Design Group, said the iconic Victorian station will be restored.
She said it would give a significant listed building "a viable future".
"The planned restoration will protect and enhance this well-loved feature of the city's architectural heritage, making it a true gateway to the North West and a facility that the entire community can take pride in," Ms Lynch said.