To date, three of 20 brand new Translink NI Railways trains have arrived into Northern Ireland and the first train is due to start entering passenger service later this year. All 20 new trains are due to be in service during 2012.
The preview follows Translink NI Railway’s recent announcement that a record 10.4million passenger journeys were made during 2010/11 – the highest level since the 1960s.
Representing an investment of £114 million funded by the Department for Regional Development, it is expected that the 20 new trains will further boost rail passenger numbers.
Speaking at the Fortwilliam event, Translink Group Chief Executive, Catherine Mason, said:
“We are delighted to welcome the Minister to this special preview of the new ‘Class 4000’ train. This is a great opportunity to showcase the modern train features and update the Minister on the overall progress of our ‘New Trains Two’ programme.
“The three new trains that have arrived to date are now undergoing an intense period of static and on-track testing before they can enter passenger service. We continue to ask the public to remain vigilant during this important project phase as trains are operating day and night across the network at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour.
“Testing is going well and the project remains on schedule with the first new train due to go into passenger service on the Larne railway line this autumn.
“We are also underway with a series of associated ‘New Trains’ projects including a series of platform extensions to accommodate longer trains and the construction of a new Train Maintenance Facility in South Belfast.
“Rail travel is a huge success in Northern Ireland with over 60% growth since 2002. This reflects an ongoing programme of change and enhancement to the local rail network, continued high performance levels, good customer service, effective marketing campaigns and shows that government investment is paying off.
“This new fleet will allow us to build on recent success and make a significant and sustainable contribution to the social, environmental and economic development of the country.
“We look forward to working closely with the Minister and keeping him informed on progress throughout this hugely important ‘New Trains’ programme,” said Catherine.
Translink NI Railways’ ‘Class 4000’ trains are being manufactured to the very latest industry standards in terms of performance, comfort, safety and accessibility.
Once in service, they will run alongside existing C3k trains previously delivered in 2005 and will mean that Translink NI Railways will operate an entirely modern fleet.