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Translink to mark closing of Great Victoria Street Station with day of community activity

Historic photo of Great Victoria Street station in Belfast.

 Historic photo of Great Victoria Street station in Belfast.


To mark the last day of passenger services at Great Victoria Street Train Station, Translink has planned a day of activities with something for everyone to enjoy starting from 8am on Friday, 10th May.

 

Anyone travelling from Great Victoria Street Station that day will receive a free commemorative ticket (subject to availability) and Translink has published a limited-edition special booklet outlining the history of the station.



Trains run as normal on May 10th with the last train to ever leave the station scheduled for just after half eleven (11.32pm) to Bangor likely to be popular with rail enthusiasts and historians so Translink is advising passengers to allow a little extra time to purchase tickets.

 

Hilton Parr, Head of Rail Customer Services, Translink, who started at the company the year the current Great Victoria Street Train Station opened in 1995 said:


“We have a packed programme of activity to mark the end of this era in the station’s history. Throughout the day there will be schools’ workshops for local pupils, musical interludes from the Translink Choir and City of Belfast Youth Orchestra, a Cool FM Roadshow and presentations showing the history of the station in images.




 

“With lots of changes coming including a new rail timetable from Saturday 11th May, we are encouraging passengers to come along and be part of history as we mark the closing of this facility that has been serving the community for almost 30 years but also, to come and learn more about the exciting world class integrated station due to open this autumn.

 

“Great Victoria Street has been a key rail station for the region for some 185 years since first opening in 1839. It played a significant role in several key moments in history including both World Wars, facilitating ambulance trains in the first and American troops in training for D-Day during the second.

 

“Since1995 when it reopened, thousands of passengers have travelled through every day for work, education, leisure, nights out, getting to health appointments and much more.  During this special day we want to surprise and delight our passengers, recognise our staff, many of whom started their careers at the station and engage the community capturing all the nostalgia of the occasion and making this a memorable day for all.”




 

Great Victoria Street station is closing to make way for Belfast Grand Central Station which is set to open this autumn. As the largest integrated transport hub on the island of Ireland, it will significantly increase both rail and bus capacity and the ability to have more services for passengers travelling to destinations across Northern Ireland and beyond.


The Europa Buscentre currently remains open.


About Great Victoria Street station


Belfast’s first railway terminus Glengall Place opened on 12th August 1839, on the site of a former linen mill. Trains belonging to the Ulster Railway first ran as far as Lisburn reaching Portadown in 1842 and Armagh in 1848.


A new station building was constructed in 1848 to a design by the Ulster Railway engineer John Godwin. It was renamed Belfast Victoria Street in 1852 and then in 1856 Belfast Great Victoria Street. A through train to Dublin was first made possible in 1853.

 



During the First World War, Great Victoria Street Station facilitated ambulance trains staffed by the Royal Army Medical Corps. Up to 120 injured servicemen were transported on each of these trains which ran about 30 times between Dublin (North Wall) and Belfast.

 

During the Second World War, the station greeted a huge influx of American troops, in training for D-Day bringing with them cigarettes, iced donuts, US newspapers and magazines as well as soft drinks, the likes of which had never been seen in Belfast before!


Special trains also operated to bring tradesmen and workers to the Belfast shipyards, the aircraft factory and other manufacturing plants in aid of the war effort. Workers’ trains also ran from Great Victoria Street to a huge American aircraft assembly base at Gortnagallon near Crumlin.




 

Part of the original 1848 Great Victoria Street station façade was demolished in 1968 to make way for the new Europa Hotel, which opened in 1971. The remaining parts of the station were then damaged by two separate bombings in 1972. In April 1976 the station was closed with all rail services moving to the newly built Belfast Central Station, now renamed Lanyon Place.

 

Later, in 1991, came the new Europa Bus Centre and Great Northern Mall shopping area. History was again made with a new Great Victoria Street Station opening on 30th September 1995.

 

 

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