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Translink (Northern Ireland)

Translink is the brand name of the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company (NITHCo), a public corporation in Northern Ireland which provides the public transport in the region. NI Railways, Ulsterbus and Metro are all part of Translink.

Translink provides services all over Northern Ireland and also to Dublin, in a partnership deal with its counterpart in the Republic of Ireland. It also provides local bus services in many towns and cities all over Northern Ireland including Bangor, Derry/Londonderry, Ballymena, Omagh, Craigavon and Antrim. The Metro service operates throughout Belfast, right out to the suburbs.

NITHCo was established in 1967 to take over the Ulster Transport Authority as well as Citybus Limited (Belfast only - successor to the Belfast Corporation Transport Department). Citybus is now known as Metro.


  • Northern Ireland Railways 1
  • Ulsterbus 2
    • Goldline 2.1
    • Private/Contract Hire 2.2
    • Day Tours 2.3
  • Metro 3
  • Ulsterbus Foyle 4
  • Controversy 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Northern Ireland Railways

NIR, Helen's Bay Station, September 2009

Northern Ireland Railways (NIR), formerly and briefly called Ulster Transport Railways (UTR), is responsible for running the railway network in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland railway network is currently 330.58 km (205.41 mi).

The main passenger line operates from Portadown to Bangor. In addition to this, Translink also provides rail services between Belfast and Derry/Londonderry to the north and Newry to the south, continuing across the border, which is part of the fast Enterprise service between Belfast and Dublin. Also operated are services to Larne and Portrush, which is a branch off the Belfast-Derry railway line line, at Coleraine.

By 2015 Translink hope to have a service operating from Belfast International Airport to Belfast city centre. Translink are in talks with the airport about reopening the Lisburn-Antrim railway line, which was closed in 2003 in favour of the quicker Bleach-Green line. The Lisburn-Antrim passes Belfast International Airport and could be used to provide services to it.


Ulsterbus Goldliner, Newry, March 2010

Ulsterbus is responsible for most of the bus services in Northern Ireland. They operate around 20 bus stations which include: Armagh, Antrim, Lisburn, Bangor, Newtownards, Downpatrick, Newry, Craigavon, Dungannon, Omagh, Enniskillen, Londonderry, Coleraine, Ballymena, Magherafelt, Larne and Newcastle and others within Belfast and 1,100 Buses. Ulsterbus is charged with transporting over 65,000 children per day to school.


Goldline is the name given to the key Inter-urban bus services operated by Ulsterbus linking major cities in the north & south. Amongst these are the flagship Service 212 'Maiden City Flyer' from Belfast to Derry/Londonderry & the X1 from Belfast to Dublin/Dublin Airport. There are also a number of cross channel (North Channel) services to Great Britain, including the 921 Belfast - Birmingham & the 923 Belfast - Edinburgh.

Main Goldline services include:

  • X1/X2/200/001 Belfast - Banbridge - Newry - Dublin Airport - Dublin
  • X4/274/BE33 Derry~Londonderry - Omagh - Dublin Airport - Dublin
  • 209/210 Belfast - Cookstown
  • 212 Belfast - Derry~Londonderry
  • 215 Belfast - Downpatrick
  • 218/219 Belfast - Ballymena - Coleraine
  • 234 Derry~Londonderry - Limavady - Coleraine
  • 237/237A Belfast - Newcastle
  • 238/238A Belfast - Banbridge - Newry
  • 239 University of Ulster - Newry
  • 240 Newry - Rathfriland - Downpatrick
  • 246 Dungiven - Limavady
  • 250/251 Belfast - Armagh
  • 256/256A Belfast - Larne
  • 261 Belfast - Dunganon - Enniskellen
  • 270/271 Belfast - Cavan
  • 278 Portrush - Coleraine - Monaghan
  • 290 Derry~Londonderry - Magee College

Private/Contract Hire

Translink also provide a number of hire services to the public.

Day Tours

Ulsterbus operate "Day Tours" to other parts of Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland mainly shopping and to some tourist attractions.


Metro bus, Belfast, October 2009

The Translink Metro service (previously Citybus) operates bus services within the Greater Belfast Area. Metro operates 12 bus corridors (QBCs) in Belfast, plus a number of additional routes.

The service began as the Belfast Corporation Transport Department. In 1973, these services were transferred to the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company as Citybus Limited, becoming part of the "Translink" integrated network in 1995. In 2004, Translink/NITHC announced that Citybus would be completely rebranded & reorganised into 12 QBCs and integrated with Ulsterbus services in the Greater Belfast area. Citybus was re-branded as Metro on 7 February 2005.

Metro currently have a wide fleet mainly of double deckers that consists of:

  • 60 - Volvo B7TL/Alexander 'ALX400' (New in 2001 & 2005)
  • 24 - Volvo B7TL/Transbus 'ALX400' (New in 2003)
  • 54 - Volvo B9TL/Wrightbus Gemini (New in 2008)
  • 28 - Volvo B9TL/Wrightbus Gemini Mk.2 (New in 2012/2013).

They also operate 100 single deckers in the fleet:

  • 30 - Volvo B7RLE/Wrightbus Eclipse Mk.2 (New in 2012/2013)
  • 33 - Scania L94UB/Wrightbus Solar (New in 2001 & 2003). [Approx. as moves between Metro & Ulsterbus of these are often].
  • 37 - Volvo B10BLE/Wright Renown (New in 1999/2000). [Of 09/13, although withdrawal of these has begun.]

Metro also have a group of ten exUlsterbus Goldliner coaches for use on private hire. These are Volvo B10M/Plaxton Excaliburs, new in 1999 & painted in a startling pink livery.

Total - 275

Ulsterbus Foyle

Ulsterbus Foyle, Strabane, January 2010

Ulsterbus Foyle is a division of Translink that operates bus services in Derry/Londonderry. The new service was opened in September 2006 following an update of the city's bus routes and replacing some of the older buses. Ulsterbus Foyle is similar to Metro that operates buses in Belfast.

These services were the first to carrying letters within their service 'number'. They are numbered FY1-FY16.


Translink received criticism from Consumer Council Chief Executive, Eleanor Gill for providing inadequate service despite raising fares at a greater rate than inflation. She told BBC News that "passengers will rightly ask why average fare increases on Ulsterbus and Metro are above inflation while punctuality and reliability are below their target."[1]

See also


  1. ^ "Bus and train fares set to rise". BBC. 12 March 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-05. 

External links

  • Translink web page
  • NI Bus
  • Irish Transport Trust
  • Ulsterbus Tours
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