Demolition begins in preparation for the Belfast Transport Hub regeneration project
Translink has entered an important phase of the Belfast Transport Hub regeneration project with the start of demolition works on the main construction site area in the city centre.

The Transport Hub is to be located across a 20 acre site that includes the existing Great Victoria Street train station and Europa Bus Centre. Around 7m passengers already use these facilities each year and this is estimated to increase to around 13m by 2030.

The transport hub will combine bus and rail termini with interfaces for car, cycle, taxi and Belfast Rapid Transit. There are also plans to bring cross-border trains into the new facility, improving connectivity and access between Belfast and Dublin.

Large old warehouse buildings are to be demolished on site as part of the first stage of enabling works.

The Hub design team and architects comprise of Arup, lead architect Fanos Panayides and John McAslan and Partners, who also worked on the iconic Kings Cross station redevelopment in London.

Translink group chief executive Chris Conway said: “We continue to engage closely with a range of community, business and political stakeholders to consider project masterplan options. Their input will influence the operational and functional features of the Hub.”

Holborn Tube station to pilot a new escalator regime that goes counter to tradition
An new six month pilot scheme is to go into operation on 18 April at Holburn Tube station, aimed at improving capacity on the escalators and reducing congestion at the station.

The London Underground convention is for customers to stand on the right of escalators, allowing others to walk on the left. However, at stations with very long escalators, such as Holborn, few customers choose to walk, meaning that much of left-hand-side of the escalator is unused. A previous test held in November and December 2015, proved that as many as 30% more customers could use an escalator in the busiest parts of the day if they stood on both sides.

During that experiment, extra staff were brought in to ask customers to stand on both sides. A similar arrangement will be in place at the start of the new trial, after which the staff will not be present and LU will be testing whether customers will change their behaviour in the longer term through use of the signs and messages and force of habit.

A variety of messages, developed with the help of the behavioural science department at the London School of Economics, will be tested at different times to see which work best. These include standard instructions to customers and light messages that play on words about standing.

The new standing only convention will be applied to the two up escalators closest to Central line platforms. The other up escalator will still be available for people who want to walk.

Peter McNaught, operations director at London Underground, said: “It may not seem right that you can go quicker by standing still, but our experiments at Holborn have proved that it can be true. This new pilot will help us find out if we can influence customers to stand on both sides in the long term, using just signage and information. Anyone who wants to walk on the other escalators will be free to do so, but we hope that with record numbers using the Tube, customers will enjoy being part of this experiment to find the most efficient ways of getting around.”

Hatfield stationHatfield station is officially opened after £12.5m of redevelopment work
The £12.5m redevelopment of Hatfield station has been completed and officially opened by Lord Salisbury, whose residence lies close by at Hatfield House.

Work at the station includes a £6.9m 7-storey car park with 378 new spaces, 75% energysaving LED lighting and automatic number plate recognition. A large retail extension has been added to the station building, the booking hall has been refurbished and access improved with a new footbridge and lifts to all platforms. A new station forecourt has been constructed over the site of the old car park, with a bus interchange, covered cycle parking and improved links to the A1000.

To mark the occasion Hatfield House is entering into a station partnership with Great Northern, part of which includes the head gardener adopting the flower beds at the front of the station.