AS the construction of the new York Street Train Station in North Belfast unfolds, one local man Michael Holmes stands at the helm of this transformative project.

As a seasoned Programme Manager at Translink, he brings his wealth of experience and passion for community development to this significant undertaking.  

Born and raised in North Belfast, Michael's connection to the area runs deep, having attended Belfast Royal Academy where he used the old station as a school pupil.

Now, he leads the charge in bringing to life a brand-new facility that will replace the current Yorkgate Train Station, which is one of the busiest on the Translink network with some half a million passenger journeys per year. 

The new York Street Station opening in late spring 2024 represents a monumental development for North Belfast. Serving as a welcoming entry point to the city and a vital hub for residents, workers, students, and visitors alike. The ultra-modern facility will greatly enhance connectivity in the area for passengers from across the North to Ulster University, Sailortown, Cathedral Quarter, City Quays, Cityside, inner North Belfast and other nearby communities.   

Built with sustainability in mind, the station aligns with Translink's Climate Positive Strategy, aiming to reduce emissions and promote sustainable transportation options.  It will also act as a gateway to the wider rail network to both the Larne and Derry lines and is within easy access to the new Belfast Grand Central Station (due to open later this year) connecting to bus, coach and rail services throughout Ireland.

"At Translink we are changing the way we design, build and operate our infrastructure to minimise whole-life carbon and air pollution emissions," explained Michael.


"At York Street from design to construction, steps have been taken to minimise the overall environmental impact and contribute significantly to the ambitious goals set to be Net Zero by 2040 and Climate Positive by 2050. 

"The construction process itself tells a story of efficiency. From saving over 6,000 litres of water to sustainably recycling 12,000 tonnes of excavated material, York Street Station embodies the principles it stands for."

With eight years of dedicated service at Translink, Michael has proven himself as a capable leader, having successfully managed various high-profile projects, including the £15million Bus Safety Upgrades and the £3million N I Railways Operating Centre (NIROC) refurbishment project. His expertise extends internationally, having managed construction projects in Australia for three years, focusing on regional infrastructure initiatives. A graduate of Ulster University with a first-class degree in Construction Engineering and Management, 

Beyond its functional significance, York Street Station will also serve as a beacon of community pride, reflecting the surrounding neighbourhoods through a captivating piece of public artwork that will be installed outside of the station, reaching some 8 metres high.  

"We recognise that heritage is of great importance to the people of North Belfast, so Translink has put the local community at the heart of the new station," Michael continued.


"In partnership with Golden Thread Gallery, Translink has engaged with over 1,000 people in the local communities of North Belfast. It has been wonderful to see how the local community have engaged with the station through art workshops."

The success of the creative partnership was demonstrated recently when Translink and the Golden Thread Gallery won the prestigious Arts & Business NI Creative Community Engagement Award.  This engagement became part of the sculpture’s creative concept, representing how the unique journeys that people experience when they travel by train are interconnected, weaving through landscapes, cities, and stories.   

The bold new sculpture entitled ‘Journeylines’, which is based on the work the community did and light drawings created on journeys from the station, will be a distinctive cartography sculpture representing the possibilities of travel and people’s own journeys through life.