Published Tuesday, 10 July 2012
An NI railway train travels to its destination. (© Pacemaker)
The major overhaul will be ready by next April and just in time for most of Derry - Londonderry's year as UK City of Culture.
From 29 July, passengers will be taken by bus to their destination while the line is upgraded following safety concerns about the picturesque track.
Two contracts worth £17.3 million were announced for track relays by local companies McLaughlin and Harvey Ltd and McCann BAM Rail. They are part of a total investment of more than £50 million.
The overall engineering project also includes installing new drainage, new ducting for signalling cables, an overhaul of the Bann Bridge and reconstruction of the Pottagh Bridge.
Eugene O`Brien, head of track at Northern Ireland Railways, said: "This section of the track passes through some of our most scenic coastline and the completion of this project will allow us to build on this asset, contributing to the economic and social regeneration of the area, particularly during the 2013 UK City of Culture year."
More than a million people are believed to use the route each year.
Mr O`Brien said: "This project represents a significant investment in the line for the future.
"Passengers will notice train journeys are smoother and more comfortable, trains will be quieter and the overall performance and safety of the line will be maintained at a high level."
SDLP MLA John Dallat said turning the line into a co-operative may be a long-term solution.
He added co-operatives had done well since 2008 despite the economic downturn and local councils could take over ownership.
"It would show that the line is not an afterthought and not depending on the crumbs from the table but would become an essential and core activity," he said.
Mr Dallat said the line was run-down and prepared for closure until 2000.
"It is still depending on piecemeal funding and I welcome some efforts now to explore the possibility of European funding," Mr Dallat said.