To provide a fully accessible Railway Station in Portadown with lift access to the island platform and Obins Street, ensure compliance with DDA, Health and Safety (H&S) and Building Regulations Requirements and provide a refurbished railway station capable of meeting passenger and staff needs.
The aim of this project is to improve the connectivity across the eligible area by improving the rail service on the Belfast to Dublin train route. Portadown Railway Station is located in the north of the town centre and is managed by NI Railways - Translink. Portadown Station operates along the main Belfast – Dublin line and provides 453 services per week. It was built nearly 30 years ago and includes commuter and staff services within a single and part two-storey building on the southern side of the railway line. The building is bordered to the south by the Northway dual carriageway and to the north by terraced housing at Park Road. A ‘Single Up’ platform and an island (‘Down’) platform are connected via a subway underneath the railway line.
As well as the normal passenger facilities, the station also accommodates staff booking on point, training and meeting rooms and a signal cabin. Next to the main building, the park and ride car park offers car parking spaces, for both disabled and non-disabled people and 15 staff spaces. The introduction of new train services has led to an increasing number of passengers travelling using Portadown Station.
Translink has identified that Portadown Railway Station requires refurbishment to provide better customer facilities and to meet the requirements of a range of relevant legislation in relation to Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), Health & Safety (H&S) and Building Regulations.
The specific objectives of the project were:
- To improve access to connectivity for those living in the eligible area.
- To provide a refurbished railway station capable of meeting passenger and staff needs.
- To provide retail opportunities within the existing station.
- To improve access to the enterprise service (Belfast – Dublin) for passengers within the eligible area.
- To provide new staff training facilities.
The main work to the station is now complete and the station was officially opened by the DRD Minister Danny Kennedy MLA on 4th July 2013. This has ensured that the project has delivered on its aims to provide a fully accessible railway station in Portadown ensuring compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), Health and Safety (H&S) and Building Regulations requirements and has provided a refurbished railway station capable of meeting passenger and staff needs.
The wider economic benefits of this project are a key element, the general rationale for investment in public transport is in the contribution that it makes to economic growth and this is recognized by the Northern Ireland Executive which has identified investment in transport infrastructure as one of the key factors contributing to regional economic development.
It has contributed to this in 4 strategic ways:
· Improving labour mobility – improved public transport is a key to increasing mobility of labour and thus increasing the efficiency and competitiveness of businesses – this project has led to increased cross border and regional mobility.
· Creating and sustaining employment – the main effects of investment in the rail network are in respect of jobs created in the construction industry – this project has contributed to this by creating approximately 120 Construction jobs on site with many more jobs created within the region via the project supply chain. 1 long term unemployed person was employed through the project and remains employed with the company.
· Attracting and developing tourism – the quality of public transport is an important factor in the development of tourism. A recent study showed that rail was particularly important because it provides links to two key visitor access points – the Port of Larne and Dublin.
· Acting as a catalyst to support regeneration – public transport is seen as a catalyst for regeneration through linking urban and rural areas and is important in profiling the island of Ireland to outside visitors. This is particularly important in the case of the cross border rail service as it has been an important contributory factor to the development of the Belfast – Dublin economic corridor.