New transport hub for Belfast

TRANSLINK has been granted planning permission for a new £208 million multi-modal transport hub in Belfast, which is to be built on the site of a former freight yard at Grosvenor Road close to (in the north-west direction) the current Great Victoria Street (GVS) terminus.

The residential and commercial units that will be built to complement the transport facility will be known as ‘Weavers Cross’.

The hub is planned to have four platforms (eight faces) and 26 bus stands plus the usual terminal facilities. The project is to be carried out over the next five years and, when completed, will replace GVS and adjacent Europa Buscentre.

The site, which is vacant, is bounded by the Grosvenor Road, the A12 Westlink, a busway and bus parking area. A large building owned by British Telecommunications is situated at the corner of the Grosvenor Road/Durham Street junction and, while it is off-site, it will partially obscure the frontage of the new hub.

The Grosvenor Road site housed Belfast’s then sole-remaining railfreight terminal until 1972, when it was closed to railborne traffic that was transferred to a new facility at Adelaide built on the site of the former Great Northern motive power depot and yard. This area is now occupied by Adelaide Traincare Depot and Infrastructure yard, which were opened in 2012. (The freight yard at Adelaide closed in the early 2000s because the traffic handled there and the adjacent Guinness siding was withdrawn).

Discussions have been held with community groups and other interested parties regarding the impact of the hub development on neighbouring areas – the planned demolition of the Boyne bridge, which carries Durham Street over the existing rail and bus station areas, being particularly controversial.

Track alterations

When the hub is opened, the section of multiple track between Westlink Junction and GVS will be closed. Trains to and from the City Junction direction will run into and from the hub using the existing Blythefield Curve and a reconfigured Westlink Junction layout, while the existing double line between Central Junction and Westlink Junction will also be altered at the latter to connect into the hub’s throat.

The platforms of the new terminal will be straight in order to conform to best practice. It is believed the short double-tracked section between City and Central Junctions may be reduced to single track when the hub is opened. This section forms part of the Cross Border main line, but its status will be reduced as the Belfast terminal of the ‘Enterprise’ service will be relocated from Lanyon Place to the hub.

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