Lisburn to Lurgan ballast refresh gets underway

THE closed Lisburn to Antrim branch line witnessed some driver route-learning specials on January 25 ahead of engineering between Lisburn and Lurgan.

Driver training underway on the Lisburn to Antrim branch on January 25 as Class 3000 DMU No. 3015 passes Ballinderry, operating from Antrim to Lisburn. In recent years the loop has been rationalised here and also at Crumlin, meaning there are no longer any loops on the branch. CHRIS PLAYFAIR

Antrim is to be one of the locations for loading stone, and the use of the branch allows for the transfer of ballast trains by avoiding the Belfast city corridor.

The work involves hiring in Irish Rail’s Plasser & Theurer RM90 ballast cleaner No. 781, which extracts ballast from under the sleepers and separates out the good stone from the bad. The good stone is reused and the ballast topped up with new stone. The unit previously visited the Northern Ireland Railways network for a successful trial in 2013.

It is expected that two of NIR’s General Motors Class 111s will be out during each shift; one delivering new ballast from Poyntzpass and the other taking the spoil train on and off the branch.

Work was due to begin on February 14, with the first phase, working north from Moira, running until late March.  The closed Lisburn to Antrim branch line witnessed some driver route-learning specials on January 25 ahead of engineering between Lisburn and Lurgan.

Read more News in the March issue of The RM – out now!

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