J3574 : NIR six-car set, Titanic Quarter station, Belfast - September 2016(1)

taken 1 year ago, near to Ballymacarret, Sydenham, Belfast County Borough, Shankill and Queens Island, Northern Ireland

NIR six-car set, Titanic Quarter station, Belfast - September 2016(1)
NIR six-car set, Titanic Quarter station, Belfast - September 2016(1)
The first of the evening peak trains on the Bangor line, the 15.55 ex Gt Victoria Street, is usually a six-car set – in this case 4019 and 4005. The Titanic Quarter station is quite handy for students at the Belfast Metropolitan College J3575 : "Met" and "Arc", Belfast. See also J3574 : NIR six-car set, Titanic Quarter station, Belfast - September 2016(2).
Titanic Quarter (Bridge End) railway station, Belfast
Bridge End station opened in May 1977. It served the Harland & Wolff shipyard and (to a lesser extent) the nearby Rupert Stanley College and replaced the halt at Ballymacarrett.
It was renamed “Titanic Quarter” on 28 March 2012. The platforms were extended towards Central earlier in the same year.

Note added 10 August 2017: a draft “Belfast East Bank Development Strategy” published by Belfast City Council in June 2017 envisages the closure of the present Titanic Quarter station and its replacement by a new structure, on a currently vacant site, between Bridge End and Middlepath Street “Relocating the Titanic Halt to a more pivotal and better connected location will enhance public transport accessibility to East Bank as a whole, support higher density development and aid legibility for visitors to the Titanic Quarter. Onward journeys from the station on foot will be supported by public spaces adjacent to the station assisting orientation and wayfinding and the creation of a high quality route northwards to the SSE Arena and Titanic Quarter.”
The Belfast – Bangor railway line
The Belfast & County Down Railway (BCDR) opened its railway line from Belfast (Queen’s Quay) to Holywood on 2 August 1845. This line was extended to the seaside resort of Bangor by the Belfast Holywood & Bangor Railway (BHBR), which opened on 18 May 1865. The BCDR absorbed the BHBR in 1884.

While double-track throughout, the BCDR always regarded its Bangor line as a branch off the main line to Newcastle. However, creation of the nationalised Ulster Transport Authority (UTA) in 1948 changed matters somewhat as only the Belfast – Bangor line survived the mass closures implemented by the UTA in 1950. The old BCDR Bangor line received a further blow in 1965 when it was isolated from the rest of the Irish railway system by closure of the Belfast Central Railway line from Ballymacarrett Junction (east of Queen’s Quay station) to Central Junction, just west of the former GNR(I) Great Victoria Street station (see: LinkExternal link ). However, on a positive note, introduction of UTA built MED railcars gave Belfast – Bangor the distinction of being the first main railway line in the British Isles to be operated solely by diesel traction.

In 1976, the Belfast Central Railway reopened as part of a project to replace both the GNR(I) Great Victoria Street station and the BCDR Queen’s Quay with a “central” station situated in east Belfast. Today (2013), Belfast – Bangor is an important part of the Northern Ireland Railways’ system, with services to Bangor originating from Portadown or the reinstated Great Victoria Street station. While diesel locomotives may occasionally visit with engineer’s trains, all passenger services are in the hands of Spanish built 3000 or 4000 class railcars.

For photographs of the former line to Newcastle, please see: LinkExternal link . For photographs at Queen's Quay station and Central Services Depot, please go to: LinkExternal link
The Belfast Central Railway & The Cross-Harbour Rail Link :: J3474
Opened in 1875, the Belfast Central Railway (BCR) initially connected Central Junction (at MP 112 on the Great Northern Railway (Ireland) Dublin – Belfast main line, just west of Great Victoria Street station) with Ballymacarrett Junction at MP0.44, outside Queen’s Quay station on the Belfast & County Down Railway. A later extension to the BCR permitted running from East Bridge Junction (near the current site of Belfast Central station) to the Belfast & Northern Counties Railway (BNCR) at York Road. Passenger and freight trains could therefore travel from Dublin to Bangor (although seldom did), but only freight traffic passed through the tunnel under the Queen’s Bridge between East Bridge Junction and the BNCR. While the BCR did initially offer passenger services between Great Victoria Street and Queen’s Quay, these lasted only a short time as reversal was required at both Central Junction and Ballymacarrett Junction. The BCR became part of the GNR(I) empire in 1885.
The BCR system was closed by the Ulster Transport Authority (UTA) in 1965, with the railway bridge over Middlepath Street demolished in 1966. However, the line from Central Junction to Ballymacarret Junction was reopened by Northern Ireland Railways (NIR) in 1976 as part of the Belfast Central project, which involved constructing new stations at Belfast Central (East Bridge Street) and Botanic (Botanic Avenue) and replacement of the “shaky bridge” over the River Lagan.
Plans to bring trains from the former BNCR Larne line into Central station were first mooted in 1977, but rejected – then approved – and finally cancelled following the 1979 UK general election. The proposal was revived again in 1987, but continually postponed by Northern Ireland’s direct rule administration until work finally started in summer 1991. In addition to a rail link from a new Lagan Junction (on the east of the River Lagan) via a bridge over the River Lagan to Yorkgate station and the Larne line, the Sydenham By-Pass (A2 Belfast – Bangor road) was extended to the existing M2 Motorway. The cross-harbour rail link opened on 28 November 1994 with the Lagan rail bridge named “Dargan Bridge” by HM Queen Elizabeth II on 9 March 1995.
Separately to the cross-harbour link, NIR succeeded in returning rail services to Great Victoria Street station on 30 September 1995. In addition to a new station, this project involved new track from Westlink Junction to City Junction which permitted through running from Great Victoria Street to Bangor, Londonderry/Derry and, for the first time, Larne.
For the purpose of this Shared Description, the area covered includes Central Junction/Westlink Junction to Ballymacarrett Junction and Lagan Junction to Yorkgate station. For views from Central Junction to Great Victoria Street station, see: LinkExternal link . For Queen’s Quay to Ballymacarrett Junction, see: LinkExternal link . For York Road/Yorkgate to Larne Harbour, see: LinkExternal link . For photographs of surviving structures on the BCDR line to Newcastle (and branches), see: LinkExternal link and for photographs on the line between Ballymacarrett Junction and Bangor, see: LinkExternal link
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Albert Bridge and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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J3574, 419 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Wednesday, 28 September, 2016   (more nearby)
Submitted
Wednesday, 28 September, 2016
Geographical Context
Railways 
Place (from Tags)
Belfast 
Railway (from Tags)
Northern Ireland Railways 
Subject Location
Irish: geotagged! J 353 746 [100m precision]
WGS84: 54:36.1065N 5:54.4165W
Camera Location
Irish: geotagged! J 353 746
View Direction
East-northeast (about 67 degrees)
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