Greater Belfast train service: Political backing for circle line campaign

A number of greater Belfast political representatives have backed a growing campaign to radically transform the area’s train system.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 19th November 2021, 10:28 am

Campaign group ‘Circle Line Belfast’ started a petition which has quickly gained the support of local communities and elected representatives.

The idea, which proposes a circle train line stretching to 25 locations around the Belfast Metropolitan Area, was proposed earlier this week and has already gained a flurry of attention.

In the petition to the Department for Infrastructure (DfI), which has been signed nearly 2,000 times, the campaigner said; “The Belfast Metro Area has a chronic dependency on car use highlighted by the daily traffic jams and congestion that blight the city.

“[Our] proposal would be to reallocate the York Street Interchange funding to reopen the Knockmore Line between Antrim and Lisburn and dual the train track going North from Belfast to create a Circle Line around the city.

“[You could have] services running every 15 minutes in both directions up to Midnight and connecting with the International Airport.

“Such a system should make train journeys the logical choice when travelling to and from Belfast removing cars and traffic from the city and ultimately reducing emissions.”

Alliance Lisburn Councillor David Honeyford said, “This is something that needs to happen and soon. This is only an idea at this stage but it’s a very good one and something that I’ve been calling for.

“The line and most of the infrastructure already exists and what we’re calling for is for the Department for Infrastructure or Translink to look at the feasibility of doing something like this.

Green Party councillor, Simon Lee said; “If there is a will, much of disused rail infrastructure could be resurrected. The Belfast Train Circle proposal goes well beyond Belfast, and could service areas beyond the city, including parts of Lisburn and Castlereagh.

“Any way to get folks out of their cars is well worth looking at. I hope that the SDLP Infrastructure Minister considers this proposal.”

A spokesperson for the DfI said that the minister was “committed to developing transport infrastructure”.

They added: “While the Department is not aware of any formal proposal for a Belfast Circle Line, any proposals and views will be considered as part of the Regional Strategic Transport Network Transport Plan process before any final decisions are taken.