Railway station plans need to ‘speed ahead’

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Transport chiefs are being urged to speed up their timetable for improvements to Ballymena Railway Station.

Hold-ups and parking pressures were among the issues raised in a letter to the Minister of Regional Development by North Antrim DUP assemblyman, Paul Frew. He has also written to the Chairman of Translink urging them to progress additional investment at the station.

The DUP man said: “I have received many complaints regarding the current levels of service by Translink in Ballymena. It must be said that the numbers of people using trains has increased over the last number of years and the frequency of trains has also increased, this is to be welcomed but that brings with it other pressures and problems .

“People complain about the capacity of the park and ride scheme which is something that Translink need to address as soon as possible. I have been told that Translink have recently agreed to consider a future upgrade of Ballymena Rail Station facilities and further examination of the feasibility of park & ride options may dovetail with this project.

“However the park & ride project is included in the capital plan for 2015/2016 and can progress independently, subject of course to the acquisition of land being successfully concluded,” he contended.

Mr. Frew added: “Another issue is the single track between Ballymena and Antrim whereby Belfast bound trains have to wait up to five minutes in Ballymena Station until the Coleraine bound train comes through - but if that train has a problem or is late then that has a knock on effect meaning that commuters could well be late for appointments.

“I would also call for train service times to be matched up with Bus service. You would think that this would be the case with both modes of transport based in stations beside each other but there are weaknesses.”