Belfast is about to witness a significant transformation with the opening of the Grand Central Station, set to become the largest transport hub on the island of Ireland. With an estimated cost of £200 million, this infrastructure project is poised to make a lasting impact on the cityscape and public transportation system. Located at Weavers Cross, behind the Europa Hotel, the station replaces the previous warehouse-dominated area.
The development is already in full swing, with the main building, train platforms, and bus stands well under construction. Once completed, the vast 1.3 million square feet space will incorporate a variety of facilities, including office spaces, residential areas, student housing, retail stores, and leisure amenities. Moreover, visitors can look forward to Saltwater Square, a new public realm space designed for outdoor performances and community events.
The completion of the Grand Central Station is projected for the final quarter of 2024, and the entire project is expected to be finished by 2025. This impressive transport hub will replace the existing Europa Bus Centre and Great Victoria Street train station, serving as the new home for Northern Ireland’s cross-border Enterprise train service. With eight railway platforms, 26 bus stands, and dedicated facilities for bicycles and taxis, the station aims to cater to approximately 20 million passenger journeys annually.
Chris Conway, the Chief Executive of public transport operator Translink, expressed his excitement about the project. He highlighted that the new station would have a transformative effect on public transport, leading to a significant investment and a greater shift from private car usage to public transportation. Furthermore, the station’s size, which will be approximately ten times that of the current Europa Bus Centre and Great Victoria Street train station, paves the way for enhanced travel experiences.
As the hub of various deprived areas, the Grand Central Station presents an opportunity for the regeneration of Belfast. The entrances to the station, including Glengall Street, Grosvenor Road, and Hope Street, will undergo public realm improvements, providing visitors with an impressive gateway to the city. Additionally, the development space of 1.3 million square feet will be utilized for mixed-use purposes, including residential, office, and science park developments. This regeneration initiative holds immense potential for revitalizing not only the station area but also the surrounding neighborhoods of Lower Falls and Sandy Row.
1. When will the Grand Central Station in Belfast open?
The Grand Central Station is set to open at the end of 2024.
2. What will be the size of the Grand Central Station?
The station is expected to be the largest transport hub on the island of Ireland.
3. What facilities will be available at the Grand Central Station?
The station will feature eight railway platforms, 26 bus stands, bicycle facilities, and taxi services.
4. How many passenger journeys is the station estimated to cater to annually?
It is projected that the station will accommodate approximately 20 million passenger journeys each year.
5. What regenerative potential does the Grand Central Station hold for Belfast?
The development of the station and surrounding areas presents an opportunity for the regeneration of both the station area and neighboring districts such as Lower Falls and Sandy Row.