Adelaide Depot, Belfast


This 18 month project, being undertaken by GRAHAM Construction on behalf of the Client Translink/NI Railways, involves the construction of a new train maintenance facility on a brownfield site with a high density of both commercial and residential neighbours.

Scheme Monitor John O’Neill was very impressed with what he saw on both of the site’s visits, commenting that “this site has gone to considerable lengths to demonstrate the benefits of the CCS approach to its people on-site and much wider publics than usual”. John continues, noting that “the score from the first visit was already outstanding and it is extremely impressive that the site has managed to improve on that score - unreserved congratulations are due.”

We asked GRAHAM Construction what practices they had put in place to earn such high praise.

Please can you describe the project you are working on?

This new facility, being built at the Adelaide depot in Belfast, will service 20 new state-of-the-art Class 4000 trains. Works for the new facility comprise of:

  • A new train maintenance building – approximately 5,100m² in plan area.
  • Two tracks – one for heavy maintenance and one for light maintenance.
  • Fit out of all building and telecom services.
  • Three gantry cranes, train lifts and Controlled Emission Toilet (CET) facilities.
  • Construction of new accommodation buildings and offices, approximately 400m² in plan area, as an annex to the new maintenance building.
  • Refurbishment of an existing operations building, plus infrastructure works including paving, drainage, fencing and utilities.
  • Construction of approximately 1,600 metres of new railway line.
  • Construction of a new train wash, fuelling apron and oil storage facilities.
  • Construction of track interfaces with the main Belfast to Dublin railway line at both ends of the site, as well as a new track crossover.
  • Installation of new signalling and operations telecoms.
  • Construction of a new temporary footbridge.
  • Installation of an acoustic barrier.
  • A 20,000m² materials storage and the demolition of a number of existing buildings.

How have you incorporated the Scheme into your site?

The principles of the Considerate Constructors Scheme were introduced to employees and subcontractors initially through site inductions and the Operatives’ Handout. This was then reinforced through the use of Toolbox Talks and various posters around the site reminding operatives to always be aware of the image they project to the public and visitors. We had a full time Community Liaison Officer working on the project who has been instrumental in incorporating the Scheme into our site, and ensuring there is local community engagement. The public were made aware of the Scheme and that our site was signed up to it by displaying the Scheme logo on all literature, the client’s website and through the use of banners and flags which were displayed in prominent places. We also enlisted the help of Ivor Goodsite to make sure that the local primary school children were aware of the dangers of a building site and of how to stay safe.

Our site team have been particularly sensitive to our neighbours, and have tried to keep disruption to a minimum, keeping all parties well-informed of any upcoming noisy or night-time works – which were essential due to possession of the railway line. Excellent communication was maintained throughout the project, explaining through the public noticeboard (which we erected at the railway station) and a monthly neighbours’ newsletter what was happening on-site, including photos of various site visits from local clubs, primary schools and the residents’ group. A specially constructed elevated viewing platform was put in place for these site visits, allowing visitors to get a better view of the works while at the same time making their safety a priority – removing the need for them to actually walk through the site.

Food vans from local businesses were organised to visit site twice daily to reduce the need for operatives to leave site at lunchtime, and those doing so were encouraged to remove muddy boots and to be in clean dress.

Since the beginning of the project, what challenges have you faced and how have you been able to overcome these?

This project included the laying of new railway track, leading off from the existing line, directly behind a densely populated area which housed everyone from families and pensioners to students and NHS staff working shift patterns. The noise disruption from these works was one of the biggest challenges faced by the site team. As well as giving notice of these works well in advance, a joint site/client excursion was arranged for the neighbours to the local transport museum with the purpose of connecting people with the development of transport in NI and to further communicate the necessity and benefits of the construction of the new facility – winning converts among the neighbours to the principles of the Scheme.

Could you detail a few examples of good practice you have put in place on site?

Stub it Out
Initiatives on site included the provision of a smoking cessation workshop followed up by 10 weekly visits by specialists from Ulster Cancer Foundation, which also included the supply of Nicotine Replacement Therapy products. This had a great success rate (80%), aided by extensive support from the site management team and camaraderie within the group.

Recycle, Reuse
To further engage people, management encouraged “personal recycling”, inviting people to bring in unwanted goods from home. Items were swapped and the remainder recycled to a local charity.

Climate Week
In addition to this, many operatives are part-time farmers and were invited to bring in their local produce. This was displayed, cooked and offered on-site as a low-carbon meal during Climate Week.

Travel Safe
Following a strong focus on promoting safety, the site team sponsored a local company to come on-site to do winter safety checks on site personnel’s private vehicles – saving people time and providing reassurance for their winter motoring.

Any other comments?

This project involved a lot of community engagement, and the site team went to considerable lengths to demonstrate the benefits of the CCS to its site operatives and the wider public. All initiatives were carried out with the site team, the industry, client and the general public in mind, with the intention that all would benefit from the implementation of the Scheme.