Enterprise Train at Belfast Central Station http://www.seat61.com

The refurbished Enterprise train was taken off the Belfast to Dublin service owing to safety concerns about its doors. The doors are reported to have opened on two occasions when the cross-border train was still moving.

The first of the newly-refurbished Enterprise fleet went into service on the Belfast to Dublin line in November. The £12.2m upgrade programme included an extensive safety approval process but issues around the doors saw the first train removed from service.

Update: On Wednesday (13th January) Translink said a detailed technical investigation and review of the door mechanisms by its engineering team, specialist door contractors and the train door manufacturer had been carried out and the train was now back in service.

Ian Campbell, General Manager, Engineering with Translink explained: “When these incidents occurred, all the appropriate safety and operational procedures were carried out. We immediately addressed the issue, removed the train from service and reported the event to the relevant safety authorities.  “We would strongly reassure our passengers and the wider public that there was no imminent danger for our customers travelling on board as a result of these two unrelated door faults.”

In light of the door faults, the Railway Safety Commission had banned the trains from operating in the Republic. Translink said it had satisfied the Irish rail authority’s concerns and the upgraded train would be returned into service.

“We will continue to collaborate with the Railway Safety Commission as we work to bring this significant Enterprise train refurbishment programme to fruition which will ultimately provide a much enhanced quality of service to passengers travelling on this important cross border route,” they concluded. The RSC said it had finished a review of evidence submitted by NI Railways and was satisfied that the circumstances which gave rise to the prohibition notice had been remedied.

A news release in September 2015 from the Special EU Programmes Body said the first newly refurbished Enterprise train had entered the ‘testing and commissioning phase’ of Translink NI Railways’ train upgrade programme which has received £12.2 million funding from the EU’s INTERREG IVA Programme. The major service overhaul will improve the cross-border rail experience for customers travelling between Belfast and Dublin as well as ensure the long-term reliability of the service for the next 10 years.

The refurbishment programme has been financed through the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) with support from the Department of Regional Development and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) in Ireland.

Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive, said: “The project continues to progress well as we enter this important ‘testing and commissioning’ phase in which this first fully refurbished train will be checked to ensure it complies with all necessary safety regulations and technical specifications. This will include ‘on-track’ testing of important new features such as passenger information systems, seat reservation systems and CCTV, as well as ensuring the reliability of all the train’s management systems.”

“Following successful completion of this important project phase and all necessary safety approvals, the first train can then be introduced into passenger service so that our customers can enjoy an all-new Enterprise journey experience with an emphasis on comfort, service and value. We would like to thank the European Union, Department for Regional Development and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in Ireland for essential funding to deliver this project.”

“We would also like to thank our customers for their continued patience and support as we work hard to complete this major rail project. We look forward to welcoming them on board their new Enterprise service and delivering passenger growth on this important route,” said Chris.

Paul Boylan, Programme Manager at the SEUPB which manages the EU’s INTERREG IVA Programme, said: “Developing cross-border transport infrastructure is a key facet in the INTERREG IVA Programme, which aims to enhance co-operation for a more sustainable cross-border region. The improvements being implemented by the Translink NI Railways train upgrade programme will bring a wide range of social and economic benefits to people living and working along the Belfast – Dublin rail corridor and we look forward to the programme’s successful completion.”

On November 17th the first refurbished Enterprise set made the journey between Belfast Central station and Dublin Connolly, passing through Newry.


NI Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen MLA and Chris Conway, Group Chief Executive for Translink chat with customer Edna Murray from Belfast as the newly refurbished Enterprise train left Belfast for Dublin in November

Transport Minister, Michelle McIlveen said: “The Northern Ireland Executive has invested significantly in railways and trains over the last decade with 43 new trains at a cost of around £200million in total. This has resulted in a tremendous growth in passenger numbers with a doubling of rail passengers in the last decade. Last year alone nearly 13.5million rail journeys were made in Northern Ireland.”

“I am confident that this major improvement in the Enterprise trains will encourage even more growth in rail passengers along this key strategic rail link.”

Welcoming the launch, (then) Finance Minister Arlene Foster said: “The Enterprise service between Belfast and Dublin provides an important infrastructure link for passengers travelling between the two cities. This delivery of this project, supported under the EU’s INTERREG IVA programme, will deliver social and economic benefits for citizens in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which will in turn contribute to economic growth and prosperity.”

Speaking at Belfast Central Station ahead of the train’s departure to Dublin Connolly Station, Translink Group Chief Executive Chris Conway said: “This is great news for our customers. The service looks and feels like a modern new train with the emphasis on comfort, service and value.”

“Customers will first notice the train’s striking modern new look with a stylish purple, red and grey livery. Stepping on board, the transformation is incredible with vibrant, eye-catching new colour schemes, attractive seating with power sockets, plush carpets, new tables and lighting. Once all trains are completed we will also have our new electronic seat reservation displays operating.”



Walking tour of Monaghan town led by Grace Moloney and Theresa Loftus assembles at Monaghan County Museum, Hill Street. Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Walking tour of Monaghan town led by Grace Moloney and Theresa Loftus assembles at Monaghan County Museum, Hill Street. Photo: © Michael Fisher



Monaghan Gospel Choir under the direction of David Drum brought to an end one of the most successful summer schools ever held by the William Carleton Society with a concert at Fivemiletown Wesleyan Hall. The Choir sang some of their favourite numbers including ‘By the Rivers of Babylon’ and ‘How Great Thou Art’. But the big hit of the night was the guest appearance by Gloria from Tydavnet. She sang with them the song which gave her a number one hit in 1978, ‘One Day at a Time’, before going on to delight the crowd with several other songs. There was a rousing finale when the Murley Silver Band directed by William Hill returned to the stage to accompany the Choir in two songs, bringing an end to a most enjoyable night.

The previous night members of the Clogher Valley Walking Club led a group of ramblers on part of the Carleton trail in the area of Fardross forest. The route passed by an old Mass rock, thought to date back to penal times. The walkers were met by two pipers, Jim Brady and Frank Gildernew as they arrived back at Somers cafe. The Ulster Scots juvenile pipe band also played for the guests and inside the cafe the McKenna family from Clogher provided traditional music.

On the Monday night at the Rathmore Bar in Clogher there was a music session with a new traditional group called SÍoda, one of whom is from Emyvale. They were joined at one stage by SeosamhÍn Ní Bheaglaioch from Dublin, a sean-nós singer and well-known broadcaster who sang a number of songs in Irish. On Sunday, she sang unaccompanied during a ceremony at the Blue Bridge at Inishdevlin, Emyvale. Summer school events in Emyvale and Monaghan were part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the PEACE III Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and delivered through the Monaghan PEACE III Partnership.

The summer school director Michael Fisher unveiled a plaque which had been restored with the help of local craftsmen by Emyvale Development Association. In 1997, Monaghan County Council in conjunction with the Association erected a Plaque there but weather conditions eventually rotted the  plaque backing and it came away from the wall. The programme began at 4pm in Emyvale Leisure Centre with light refreshments and then a move to the Blue Bridge. Some walked while transport was laid on for the remainder. At the Bridge Peadar McMahon, chairman Emyvale Development Association,  began proceedings giving some background and then introduced entertainment from the Murphy family of Jack, Chloe and Lauren playing traditional music, Seosamhín Ní Bheaglaioch, and Edelle McMahon singing the ‘Romance of the Merrow Queen’, which has local connections.

Breege Lenihan, Tullyvogey, Tydavnet inspects the restored plaque at the Blue Bridge Photo: © Michael Fisher

Breege Lenihan, Tullyvogey, Tydavnet inspects the restored plaque at the Blue Bridge Photo: © Michael Fisher

Michael Fisher then addressed the crowd and spoke about Carleton and also about another great poet and writer, Terence O’Gorman, whose works have just been launched in book form by his daughter, Patricia Cavanagh. He read a poem about Emyvale, written by Terence and contained in the book. He thanked the Bowe family and Seamus McAree for their part in the preparations for this event and then unveiled the restored Plaque. Seamus McCluskey then added some historical notes and interesting facts about the Blue Bridge, Carleton and the area in general. Finally Peadar McMahon thanked those who assisted – Truwood; Connolly Furniture; Murphy Sound and Video; The Murphy family musicians; Seosamhín and Edelle; Richard McCarron (local stonemason who, with Declan McMahon, erected the plaque and advised on stonework); the Photographers; Moran’s Transport; Norah Ryan; Jim Balfe and Paddy Sherry; George McCarron; Emyvale Leisure Centre Committee; The Emyvale Development Committee and all who attended; There was special thanks to Paul and Ann Bowe for their assistance and support, which was greatly appreciated. He then invited all to return to the Leisure Centre for a reading by the Carleton Players of the ‘Fair of Emyvale’, adapted by Liam Foley. On Saturday, around sixty people took part in a walking tour of Monaghan town led by Grace Moloney of the Clogher Historical Society and Theresa Loftus from Monaghan County Museum.

For the first time, the summer school had opened in Monaghan, with a conference on William Carleton, Patrick Kavanagh and Charles Gavan Duffy. Art Agnew from Carrickmacross who grew up in Inniskeen put in a lively performance as Kavanagh, delivering extracts from ‘The Green Fool’ and other works. International guest Professor Thomas O’Grady from Boston read some of his own poetry, including verses about Prince Edward Island, where he was born. He also talked about Kavanagh and Benedict Kiely. Earlier the summer school was officially opened by the Mayor of Monaghan Cllr Sean Conlon, who was accompanied by the Mayor of Dungannon and South Tyrone, Cllr Sean McGuigan. Mary O’Donnell who comes originally from Monaghan and is a patron of the William Carleton Society read some of her poems. Dr Brendan O Cathaoir and former Monaghan Museum curator Aidan Walsh spoke about Charles Gavan Duffy, while the final talk was given by Felix Larkin, director of the Parnell summer school in Avoca, on the Shemus Cartoons in the ‘Freeman’s Journal’.

The proceedings switched to Clogher on the Monday, in the presence of the Bishops of Clogher Right Reverend John McDowell and Dr Liam MacDaid, and Bishop Emeritus Dr Joseph Duffy, a patron of the William Carleton Society. Among the speakers were Professor O’Grady, Professor Owen Dudley Edwards, honorary director of the summer school, and the television presenter and commentator Tom McGurk, who spoke about his upbringing in Brockagh, County Tyrone.

This part of the summer school is supported by the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister and funded through  Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council under the District Council Good Relations Programme and the William Carleton Society committee gratefully acknowledges this funding.OFMDFM (1)

On Tuesday the guests included Dr Ciaran Mac Murchaidh from St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, who spoke about the Irish language in the 19thC Clogher Valley area and Dr Ian Adamson on Ulster-Scots. William Carleton Society President Jack Johnston gave a talk on the history of Augher. Josephine Treanor from Knockatallon spoke very movingly about her great great grandmother Anne Duffy, the miller’s daughter from Augher and Carleton’s first love.   Dungannon_logo

Wednesday’s session attracted national headlines with the speech of Mary O’Rourke about a proposed grand coalition between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. There was also an interesting session on the current state of the Orange Order by Professor Jon Tonge from Liverpool. The audience included former Police Ombudsman in the North Dame Nuala O’Loan and her husband Declan, an SDLP Councillor in Ballymena.

Mary Kenny’s talk on Edward Carson, Dubliner, Irishman and Unionist was well received and provided a fitting end to the formal part of the summer school. The seventh day was devoted to a literary tour of Fermanagh, led by Gordon Brand (Secretary, William Carleton Society) and Frank McHugh, deputy director of the summer school. The tour headed to the Crom estate near Newtownbutler on Upper Lough Erne, where our guide was Vicky Herbert from Lisnaskea. She took the group on a walk to the old Crom Castle and past the famous yew trees, some of the oldest in Ireland. She also pointed out the house where the author Shan Bullock had lived as a child. His book ‘The Loughsiders’ is based around Crom and the neighbouring villages.

The Wiiliam Carleton summer school was brought to a successful end with a literary tour of Fermanagh, finishing with a visit to the Ceili House near Enniskillen. Host Tom McGowan has assembled a range of unusual objects from road signs to old rowing boats and oars to radios. The group led by summer school director Michael Fisher was met by the Chair of Fermanagh District Council, Alex Baird.

The Wiiliam Carleton summer school was brought to a successful end with a literary tour of Fermanagh, finishing with a visit to the Ceili House near Enniskillen. Host Tom McGowan has assembled a range of unusual objects from road signs to old rowing boats and oars to radios. The group led by summer school director Michael Fisher was met by the Chair of Fermanagh District Council, Alex Baird.

The day finished with a visit to the Ceili House, a private establishment run by Tom McGowan outside Enniskillen. Based in a former quarry, it includes a vast collection of memorabilia including old radios, road signs and rowing boats and oars. The group met the Chair of Fermanagh District Council, Alex Baird and after a pleasant dinner, returned to Corick House to round off a hectic week of engagements.  EU flag2colors