Translink

Yorkgate Rail Station Redevelopment

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is bringing this development forward?

The project is being taken forward by Translink, NI Railways.


What is the role of the Council?

Belfast City Council will play a number of roles as the project progresses.

Planning

The local planning application will be submitted to Belfast City Council Planning Department. In their role as the statutory planning authority the planning department will manage the statutory planning process and determine the planning application.

Wider Council (Non-planning role)

The Council, including elected reps for the area, will also be kept up to date throughout the process.


Why is this project being brought about?

This exciting project will be a further milestone in the transformation of public transport, delivering a high quality sustainable transport hub to replace the current station. It will also help regenerate this part of the city while providing enhanced connections to the new Ulster University Campus.

The proposals will provide a modern, fit for purpose railway station with improved passenger and staff facilities and an enhanced station layout which has been designed to provide capacity for future passenger number growth.

Existing facilities within the station such as the shop/vending area are currently in a state of disrepair and permanently closed to the public. The redevelopment of the station will enhance the features and aesthetic appeal for the users of the station.

Enhanced accessibility is a key feature of the plans, including improvements to external public realm and access to the building and modern accessibility features for future users, including lifts, escalators and new public facilities.

Increasing development within the locality of the station will bring increasing passenger numbers to Yorkgate Station due to its key function as public transport node in this area.

The proposed project aims to provide improved passenger facilities to cope with this increasing passenger demand and as part of the ongoing regeneration of this part of the city.


Who is paying for the redevelopment and associated planning permissions?

The project, and all statutory approvals, will be publicly funded.

Where is the site and how large is it?

The site is located between York Road and the M2, to the north of Belfast city centre. The site is bordered by Whitla Street to the north, the M2 to the east, York Road to the west and Dock Street to the south. Yorkgate Station connects to the main traffic network through the A2 arterial route.

The proposed development site is circa 0.8 hectares.


What do the proposals include?

The development will include:

  • A new train station building with high quality customer and staff facilities
  • New public facilities including retail space, toilets, waiting areas and a Changing Places facility
  • Cycle parking and connections to existing cycle infrastructure
  • Potential to connect to new cycle infrastructure
  • A new footbridge between platforms
  • Increased platform width
  • New canopies to platforms
  • High quality landscaping and public realm

Will the existing train station be demolished?

Should this project receive planning approval and come forward the existing station will remain operational during construction of the new station. Upon completion of the new station the old station will be demolished.


How many jobs will it create during construction?

Early estimates indicate the creation of approximately 80 job roles through the construction period.


What will be in the different floors of the new station?

Lower Ground

Visitors to the train station accessing the facility from the York Road will enter the building at Lower ground floor. Here will be an attractive and welcoming entrance lobby providing access to stairs, an escalator and a lift.
Also provided at this level is room for storage and plant equipment and maintenance accesses.

Upper Ground Floor

The upper ground floor will provide access to the majority of the new station building facilities and the main concourse area. This floor will accommodate:

  • Retail / cafe space
  • Main concourse with waiting area
  • Ticket gate-line and booth
  • Secondary waiting area
  • Toilets including male, female and a Changing Places facility
  • Staff facilities including staff rest room and lockers
  • Access through to platforms via stairs or lift.

What changes are being made to the platforms?

A number of improvements to the platforms area of the station have been proposed. These include:

  • new platform surfacing
  • widened platform on the station-side platform to accommodate current and future passenger footfall;
  • construction of new over-bridge structure, including new passenger lift facility;
  • enhanced provision of platform canopies to increase shelter for passengers

Improved platform lighting levels for increased passenger safety

How has the design process been approached?

The proposal seeks to deliver a quality station building to meet projected passenger numbers and improve overall accessibility. The redevelopment will involve the excavation and re-grading of existing railway embankment and construction of associated retaining structures as required. The width of the platforms will be increased to accommodate greater passenger numbers and new canopies for the platforms will be provided.


Will there be any open space proposed as part of this redevelopment?

General landscaping enhancements will take place to facilitate the development of an attractive open building forecourt to integrate the station with the surrounding environment In line with Translink’s commitment to the environment and biodiversity strategy.


What size will the new train station be?

The proposed station will be 550 sq metres total gross floorspace.

How will the site be accessed and what changes are proposed?

The station will be designed to enhance access for users. Extensive public realm and landscaping is being introduced to the lands surrounding the station. The proposals include reconfigured bus and passenger/taxi drop-off zone. Safe, secure and covered cycle storage will be provided for 40 bicycles.


How many trips will the proposed train station generate?

The station has seen a significant increase in footfall figures in recent years, with total passenger throughput of circa 124k in 2006/07 showing a steady growth trend each year and increasing to circa 482k in 2018/19. It is expected that this demand will continue to rise due to surrounding development activity.


Will there be car parking?

The station has nearby parking provision located off York Road which is under third party ownership and a bus drop-off point located at road level near the station entrance. We are trying to encourage multi-modal transport and the utilisation of more sustainable transport modes other than the private car.


What improvements in road infrastructure will be delivered to accommodate the new train station?

The roads external to the site will not be impacted by these proposals. However the internal road layout will change as a result of these plans. The redevelopment plans also include the proposal to acquire the existing bus drop-off area and lands immediately to the front of the station to provide increased public realm space to the station’s York Road frontage. This will enhance the passenger experience and help connect the site to the wider the area. The plans also include the rearrangement and re-design of the bus and passenger drop-off facilities.


Will construction require the roads to be closed?

At this stage, we do not anticipate any road construction work programmes, however any requirement for road closures would be managed to ensure impact upon traffic progression on the surrounding road network is minimized.


What alternative modes of transport will be available for passengers travelling to and from the station?

The proposed development is situated in a highly sustainable location with strong access to a range of alternative modes of transport for passengers travelling to and from the train station. The York Road is one of the arterial routes to Belfast City Centre and can be accessed via walking, cycling, bus or car.  The proposals will also supply cycle storage facilities. 

Furthermore Transport NI are currently progressing a separate project – York Street Interchange – the intention of which is to redevelop the area of interface between the busy thoroughfares of the M2, M3, Westlink and York Street. If implemented, this will provide a more direct continuous route from Yorkgate Station to the city centre. It will also provide new bus and cycle access routes along York Street, all of which have the potential to increase the prominence of Yorkgate Station.

Translink are ensuring full coordination with developing proposals under the York Street Interchange project as the new Yorkgate station aims to be an integral feature of integrated transport in this location in the future

How many passengers currently use Yorkgate Train Station?

Latest available passenger utilisation figures show a total of 482k passengers for 2018/19. Impact of COVID19 aim will be to rebuild to current levels and beyond.


How many staff currently work at the Yorkgate Train Station?

Currently there are 1 - 2 staff members on duty at any given time

Will the train station be closed during construction? If so, will there be any disruption to arrival / departure services?

Should this project receive planning approval and come forward the existing station will remain operational during construction of the new station. Upon completion of the new station the old station will be demolished.


Will the redevelopment create more operational jobs at Yorkgate Train Station? If so, how many?

Permanent staff members at the station will increase to 2-3 staff members on duty at any given time. The retail space also brings the potential for added employment opportunities.


Will the redeveloped train station offer more services once operational?

Translink have upcoming New Trains 3 project which aims to improve capacity of current services. This is a 5 year project launching in 2022 which will be creating 7 permanent six car sets and providing 25% additional passenger journeys through the station by the project end in 2027.

When will the application be submitted?

The application is anticipated to be submitted in the summer of 2020.


When will you be looking to start building?

Subject to planning permission being granted work on site could begin in the first quarter of 2021.


How long will the construction phasing take to complete?

It’s estimated that once work commences it will take approximately 18 months to complete the project.


How will the construction site be managed?

The development team will comply with current construction guidelines to minimise any potential negative impacts on the surrounding area.


Will local contractors be brought in for construction?

It is the ambition to create a number of employment opportunities for local businesses.

Why are you holding a public consultation?

While the project is considered as a local application and therefore a period of formal community consultation is not statutorily required, Translink is committed to listening to the feedback of the local community and users of the station regarding its future. This feedback will submitting alongside the planning application later this year.

Due to the current circumstances of COVID-19 and our commitment to upholding social distancing measures, a series of voluntary pre-application community consultation events will be held virtually using Zoom on the following dates and times:

  • 30th June 2020 – 10am -11 am
  • 30th June 2020 – 6pm – 7pm
  • 1st July 2020 1pm – 2pm

Feedback received will be analysed and will be used to inform the final planning application. A Pre-application community consultation report will be submitted alongside the planning application.


Who are you consulting with?

This consultation is open to all members of the public and we welcome feedback from members of the public, neighbouring businesses and elected representatives.


How can I submit my comments?

There are a number of additional ways you can comment. You can do this by:

Email: yorkgatetrainstation@turley.co.uk  

Consultation Hotline: 0808 1688 296


How long do I have to comment?

Feedback to the pre-application period closes on 21st July 2020. Once the application has been submitted comments can be made to the Belfast City Council Planning Department.


What are you planning to do with the consultation feedback?

All feedback submitted will be summarised in a Pre-Application Community Consultation Report which will be submitted alongside the planning application. Personal details will not be shared with a third party and we will not contact you in relation to any other project or for marketing purposes.

The information you provide will be stored securely until determination of the planning applications. Following determination, this information will be deleted. Unless you have indicated otherwise, we will not contact you about this development.


How will the application be decided / determined?

Ultimately the planning application will be determined by the Belfast City Council. This decision will follow the statutory planning process whereby all statutory consultees will provide comment on the application. During the process the public will be able to view all information online and comment if they wish.