Rail Transport in Northern Ireland - NIR Passenger Services - C

Rail Transport in Northern Ireland - C

NIR Passenger Services

Below is a list of all passenger routes on the island of Ireland. Please note the following when examining routes:
  • Services below usually, but not necessarily always, involve a change of trains. Changing points are shown in bold type.
  • Services at different times of day will serve a different subset of the stations shown below. The "stations served" lists all possible stops for any train on a given route. As an example, some services to Limerick do not involve a change at Limerick Junction, and some services to Cork may stop at Limerick Junction, Charleville and Mallow only.
Northern Ireland Routes

Services in Northern Ireland are sparse in comparison to the Republic or other countries. A large railway network was severely curtailed in the 1950s and 1960s (in particular by the Ulster Transport Authority). Routes now include suburban services to Larne, Newry and Bangor, as well as services to Derry. There is also a branch from Coleraine to Portrush. On Northern Ireland Railways distances are quoted in miles and metres.

Belfast Suburban

Three suburban routes run on 20-minute frequencies in and out of Belfast Great Victoria Street railway station, these routes then pass through Belfast Central railway station before continuing onto destinations at Bangor, Derry, Larne and Newry.

Belfast to Derry

Stations served on this line are:

Great Victoria Street
City Hospital
Belfast Lanyon Place
Yorkgate (partial service)
Whiteabbey (partial service)
Mossley West

The service to Derry has suffered from a lack of funding over recent decades. The existing line is not continuously welded and has speed restrictions in parts. For some time the threat of closure hung over this route but a funding package of £20 million was confirmed in December 2005. The same month saw the introduction of the new CAF railcars on the line and despite the fact that the service remained slower than the Derry-Belfast Ulsterbus service, the improvements saw a rise in passenger numbers to over 1 million per annum.

However, these in 2007 when it was revealed that the £20 million earmarked had not been spent while there had been a £20 million overspend on the Belfast–Bangor line, and the "Into the West" rail lobby group had proposed extending the line cross border into County Donegal to Letterkenny and then on to Sligo, thus releasing EU funding.

Currently the department has partly completed a plan in place for Regional Development, for relaying of the track between Derry and Coleraine by 2013, which includes a passing loop, and the introduction of two new train sets. The £86 million plan is expected to reduce the journey time between Belfast and Derry by 30 minutes and allow commuter trains to arrive in Derry before 0900 for the first time.

Coleraine to Portrush

Stations served on this line are:

Dhu Varren

Belfast to Larne Harbour

Stations served on this line are:

Belfast Great Victoria Street
City Hospital
Belfast Lanyon Place
Larne Town
Larne Harbour

Cross-Border Routes

Belfast–Dublin and Dublin–Belfast

Stations served on this line are:

Belfast Lanyon Place
Dundalk Clarke
Drogheda MacBride
Dublin Connolly

This cross border service, named Enterprise, is jointly owned and run by Northern Ireland Railways and IÉ. Despite having some of the most modern InterCity rolling stock on the island, it has been dogged by numerous problems. An historical problem on this route has been disruption to services caused by security alerts (devices on the line, hoax devices, threats and warnings). These continue to the present day.

The punctuality on this service remains poor for other reasons. The InterCity route, despite being mostly high quality continuous welded rail, is shared with suburban services outside both Belfast and Dublin.

A further problem was due to the locomotive and rolling stock arrangements. Unlike most other locomotive-hauled rolling stock in Ireland, generator vans were not part of the train – even the DVTs did not supply power. Thus the General Motors-built locomotives had to supply head-end power for lighting and heating throughout the train.

Although many types of locomotive are well designed for this purpose, these particular locomotives had struggled under the extra strain. The wear on the locomotives and time out of service were unusually high. On at least two occasions locomotives had burst into flames while shuttling along the route. To avoid further damage, four Mark 3 Generator Vans entered service in September 2012.

The collapse of the Malahide Viaduct in late 2009 temporarily stopped all Enterprise services from Dublin to Belfast for 3 months. The viaduct was repaired and the line re-opened in November 2009.

Rail Transport in Ireland Operation

Ireland Major Operators: Iarnród Éireann & NIR
Ireland Ridership:
50 million (Republic of Ireland, 2019)
15 million (Northern Ireland, 2017)
Ireland System Length Total: 2,733 km (1,698 mi)
Ireland Electrified Lines: 53 km (33 mi)
Ireland Freight Only Lines: 362 km (225 mi)
Ireland MainTrack Gauge: 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)
Ireland Electrification:
1500 V DC DART in Dublin
Ireland No. Stations: 147

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