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Knockmore to Lurgan Ballast Rehabilitation Enabling Works

Project: Knockmore to Lurgan Ballast Rehabilitation Enabling Works

Client: Translink


The railway line between Knockmore (south of Lisburn) and Lurgan consists of twin track railway with a maximum line speed of 90mph. In areas actual speeds have been reduced by Permanent Speed Restrictions (PSRs) and further Temporary Speed Restrictions (TSR’s). The reductions in Line Speeds are a response to gradual deterioration of track formation, resulting in the development of slurry spots/wet beds, broken concrete sleepers, deterioration of ballast and poor track alignment. Northern Ireland Railways (NIR) Infrastructure Division are proposing a programme of works utilising track ballast rehabilitation methodologies.

The Primary objective of the Track Ballast Rehabilitation Programme will be to return to, and maintain the operational line speed on the network to the design speed as a result of rehabilitated permanent way ballast.

NIR proposed to undertake these works by use of a Ballast Cleaner and new ballast to rehabilitate the existing track ballast. The Ballast Cleaner is an on-track machine which excavates ballast below the sleepers, screens the excavated material and returns suitable size stone to the track bed together with the addition and distribution of imported virgin ballast into the Permanent Way to replace the removed unsuitable material.

The Enabling Works scheme is being undertaken in advance of the ballast cleaning siteworks. One of the aims of this scheme is to ensure that the Ballast Cleaner will be able to work in a cleared zone free from infrastructure and the Enabling Works Contract comprises:

  • New drainage, installed outside the ‘clear unobstructed zone’ for operation of the ballast cleaner
  • Demolition of remaining elements of the old platform at Maze station
  • Moving of existing ballast retention walls beyond the operational zone of the ballast cleaner
  • Dig out of wet beds
  • Replacement of broken sleepers
  • Refurbishment of Moira Level Crossing, including re-ballasting, provision of new Strail units, localised re-instatement of approach roads and white lining

Funding for the scheme has been made available through the Connecting Europe Facility.