Translink NI Railways has adopted a range of measures in a bid to reduce the impact of the current sub-zero weather conditions on services.
Special railway anti-freeze, temperature-triggered point heaters in key areas, salt and grit and barrier heaters are all being used to help reduce the effects of the colder weather and minimise delays to services for our passengers, said a spokesperson.
Special web-based forecasting tools from the MET office are also being used to keep drivers and operational staff up to date with real time weather information.
Ian Morrow, Safety Quality and Environment Manager, Translink, said, “Although there have been some very frosty nights in the past weeks, our services as yet haven’t been badly affected by the weather and we were pleased to be able to support our colleagues in the North West recently, when bus services were impacted by extremely challenging weather conditions.
In anticipation however of the freezing conditions which have been forecast for the remainder of the winter, we have been taking the following steps to mitigate their effects.
Our programme of Point Heater Installations, introduced in 2010 at key strategic points including Larne and Killagan, ensures they are kept free from frost to keep trains moving. We have also introduced barrier heating systems to ensure that barriers at level crossings don’t freeze.
Following the extensive ice and snow of winter 2010-2011, we trained around 100 staff in additional competencies such as clearing snow from points and other NI Railways assets. Arrangements are in place to have these personnel ‘on standby’ in the coming weeks to keep rail, platforms and walkways clear.
We have also improved our Contact Centre’s call queuing system, using a ‘cloud-based’ telephone system and server, providing greater resilience and allowing business to continue as normal.
We would call for members of the public to take extra care when using any of our facilities in the colder conditions.
We will do all we can to ensure trains run as normally as possible and will keep passengers informed through social media, station announcements, our website and traffic and travel news.” Ian concluded.