Future of Derry rail line 'secured'

Published Thursday, 06 October 2011
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The rail service between Londonderry and Coleraine is to be given a full upgrade in time to bolster the City of Culture year in 2013, it has been announced.

Transport Minister Danny Kennedy revealed the decision after the Executive endorsed £27m of funding for work on the rail line to start in July 2012.

He said that the announcement secures the future of the Londonderry to Coleraine rail line.

"I have been able to manage expenditure from within my own department's capital budget to enable this phased option to proceed," the UUP minister said on Thursday.

"I realise that there are other competing priorities for funding, not least capital investment needs within my own Department's budget. However the case for investment in the Londonderry to Coleraine rail line is compelling."

Translink aims to complete the first phase of the relay, from Coleraine to Castlerock and from Eglinton to Londonderry, by April 2013.

This work will require the line to be completely closed for approximately nine months.

There was an outcry in the North West after it was announced in August that the £75m needed for a total upgrade was not there.

Work was said to be postponed until 2014.

At the time Translink blamed this on deferred government funding but Mr Kennedy had emphasized his commitment to the project.

However it has now emerged there definitely had been a reprieve for the rail line.

The extra money will be transferred from the A5 Aughnacloy to Derry road project.

Sinn Féin's Foyle representative Raymond McCartney has welcomed the decision and praised the minister for listening to the views of people in the north west.

He said: "This development will give added confidence to those tasked with planning for the City of Culture 2013 and other events over the coming years."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
John in Ballymena wrote (1,178 days ago):
Great news - with passenger numbers on this line increasing massively over the last few years this is a win win for everyone from Belfast right up to the maiden city.We want to see car parking facilities provided where possible to maximise the opportunity and eventually link the system to the Southern Irish trains at Letterkenny.What a tourist attraction that would be!Think positive and invest in really beneficial servicies like this that will benefit us all many times over.Great news.
Jamesbelfast in Belfast wrote (1,212 days ago):
In response to Stevie. You whinge if it doesn't happen and keep on whinging when it does. With that attitude I hope you are not on the platfrom to greet visitors during the City of Derry's city of culture year. Also why not read the news report fully. It clearly states another project lost out. That's were the money came from.
Steven in County Antrim wrote (1,212 days ago):
This is really welcome news by the looks of the Coleraine to Londonderry track it badly needs upgraded. The new Spanish built trains being phased in which has been reported on earlier are also welcome but the N.I. rail network needs other investment too such as the Bus/Rail park and ride facility at Templepatrick what has happened to that? The reopened stretch of line between Bleech Green and Antrim still only has one station yet two were planned i.e. Templepatrick. Londonderry needs the link agreed but not having train facilites at NI main Airport is a joke.
Marc in Derry wrote (1,212 days ago):
Great news, shouldn't have been delayed in the first place but I draw your attention to "The extra money will be transferred from the A5 Aughnacloy to Derry road project." What will happen to the A5 now?
stevie in derry wrote (1,212 days ago):
danny kennedy, you and the rest of the idiots at the big tea house in stormont are a joke.. it should never have come to this, to hold a city to ransom denying it a service that is paramount to it..you say you found the money within your budget yet a few days ago there was a story of an agency handing back millions of unspend cash doled out to them..that's where you got the cash so don't sit there and try and bask in any sort of glory with the thought that the people of this city will be forever grateful...your a joke...your all a joke. if this had have been a belfast problem with it's rail link it would have been sorted without all the hype that was caused here for derry.
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