Titanic tourist attraction and new transport system for Belfast

A Titanic-themed tourist attraction and a rapid transit transport system are to be built in Belfast as part of a £250m (€299m) investment announced today.

A Titanic-themed tourist attraction and a rapid transit transport system are to be built in Belfast as part of a £250m (€299m) investment announced today.

The £100m (€119.4m) Titanic Signature project will be located on the same site on which the famous White Star Line vessel was built almost 100 years ago by Harland and Wolff shipyard workers.

The £150m (€179.2m) transport route will run from the east to the west of the city and so link two areas traditionally divided on religious grounds.

Stormont ministers gave the go-ahead for the ambitious infrastructure projects during their weekly Executive meeting.

It is hoped the five-storey Titanic centre will be open to the public ahead of the centenary of the boat’s sinking in April 1912.

The Executive is providing half the funding with a range of other stakeholders, including Belfast City Council, contributing the other £50m (€59.7m).

The attraction will also incorporate conference facilities, and is expected to see 800,000 users a year and generate £46m (€55m) annually for the local economy.

The future of the project had been thrown into doubt last year when a bid for lottery funding was turned down.

Work on the rapid transit system is set to get under way in 2011 and one of its stops will be at the new Titanic centre, which is on the east side of Belfast Lough.

It will run from the Milmount in the east to Glenmona in the west and will call at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald, Stormont, the City Hall, the Royal Victoria Hospital and a number of other destinations.

Ministers had rejected proposals for a full tram network on cost grounds, with the rapid transit system described as being a “tram on wheels”.

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