Lisburn–Antrim railway line
|Lisburn to Antrim line|
The closed station at Ballinderry
|Status||Closed to Passenger Services|
|Stations||6 prior to closure|
|Number of tracks||Single-track with passing loops.|
|Track gauge||1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) Irish gauge|
|Operating speed||70 mph (110 km/h)|
The Lisburn–Antrim railway line is a 20-mile (32 km) line of Northern Ireland Railways. It links Knockmore Junction on the Belfast–Newry railway line with Antrim on the Belfast–Derry railway line. It has been closed to passenger service since 2003.
The line opened in 1871 as the Dublin and Antrim Junction Railway. The train service on the line was provided by the Ulster Railway until 1876, and by the Ulster Railway's successor the Great Northern Railway thereafter. In 1879 the D&A Junction ceased to be a separate company and was absorbed by the GNR.
Translink's reason for closing the line was that it was unable to maintain two routes to Antrim. The Bleach Green — Antrim line which had been closed since 1978 was reopened in 2001, providing a faster route between Belfast Central, Antrim and Londonderry. Translink operated a skeleton service on the line but then gave notice that it would be shut.
The route is still maintained and is used for crew training and train diversions, for example for passenger services on 09 and 23 October 2011 when there were weekend engineering works at Mossley West. Speculation remains that the line could one day re-open under plans to operate a Belfast — Lisburn — Antrim — Belfast circular route, with the possibility of a station for Belfast International Airport which is close to the line at Aldergrove.
The line was to be used for through passenger services in both directions from Belfast Central to Londonderry on Sunday 15 September 2013, in addition to which there was to be a service from Belfast Great Victoria Street to Coleraine in the evening. This could be confirmed by searches for Lisburn to Antrim journeys for mid afternoon on 15 September 2013 in the Translink Journey Planner at http://journeyplanner.translink.co.uk/
Translink's future plans include re-opening this line allowing trains from Derry to run once per hour on an alternating pattern between Bleach Green and Knockmore.
In summer 2012, a section of railway embankment weakened by weather near Knockmore gave way as a train was about to pass over. The driver managed to stop and reverse the train away without incident. The embankment has since been repaired.
On the 12th September 2016, the Democratic Unionist Party announced that they would propose a motion to reopen the line as part of an Airport Link. It could mean that services could resume on the line in the near future. It would likely mean that Knockmore would be replaced by the new Lisburn West station at the site of the old SERC building a little further down the line.
- Hajducki, 1974, pages 5, 9
- Hajducki, 1974, page xiii
- "Passengers escape injury over damaged railway". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
- "Rail Accident Report 14/2013: Train ran onto a washed-out embankment near Knockmore, Northern Ireland". RAIB. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
- "NEWS TRANSLINK - NORTHERN IRELAND RAILWAYS". IRRS. February 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- Hajducki, S Maxwell (1974). A Railway Atlas of Ireland. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. map 5, map 9, page xiii. ISBN 0-7153-5167-2.