29 Sept 2022

Minister of Infrastructure assures Foyle MLA Delargy that progress on improved rail links from Derry is in hand

Nichola Mallon says a business case is being produced to boost connections from city to the rest of Ireland

Minister of Infrastructure assures Foyle MLA Delargy that progress on improved rail links from Derry is in hand

Derry's railway station could well be part of a high-speed rail link that would connect the city with Belfast, Dublin and Cork in the future.

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA, Pádraig Delargy, urged the Department for Infrastructure to commit to delivering improvements on the Derry rail line.

However, Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon of the SDLP, responded by stating that following the All-Island rail strategy review being completed, a business case was being produced that would hopefully see improved rail links for Derry and the north west.

Mr Delargy had stressed the need for improvements to begin given it had been two years since they had been announced.

He said: “In 2020 studies were announced for the Phase Three improvements to the Derry-Coleraine rail line, as well as a half hourly Derry-Belfast service.

“Two years on, there has been no progress on these vital upgrades and while the all-island rail review is welcome, we now need to see action and delivery.

“I pressed the infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon and her Department to commit to improving the Derry line.

“Investing in public transport and improving connections to the north west is a priority for Sinn Féin and I will continue working to see it delivered.”

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon insisted that progress was being made with new feasibility studies in the pipeline to examine how further improvements beyond Phase Three could be made.

The Minister also stated she insisted that Derry be made part of the high-speed Belfast – Dublin – Cork rail project to ensure the north west not be left behind.

She said: “Since coming to office I made my commitment to rail connectivity across this island a priority. I recognised the lack of investment West of the Bann and particularly how rail connectivity needed developed in the North West.

Department for Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon

“That is why I commissioned a new feasibility study to get Phase Three of the Derry to Coleraine rail line back on track. I am pleased to confirm that the study is now complete and a business case is being produced so that this important project for the people of Derry and beyond can be progressed at long last.

“I have also commissioned further studies to examine options of new halts and associated park-and-ride facilities at Strathfoyle, Eglinton/City of Derry Airport and Ballykelly.

“These studies will also examine the possibility of introducing half-hourly services from Derry and I am pressing my team to finalise this as quickly as so we can move forward for the north west with pace.

“In addition, I submitted a bid to enhance services on the Belfast – Derry Line for the period 2021-22 to 2024-25 from New Decade New Approach Unique Circumstances Funding administered by the Northern Ireland Office.

“The bid included proposals for the enhancement of services containing: an hourly Derry–Coleraine frequency on a Sunday; an additional early morning service from Derry to Belfast connecting with the 08.00hrs Enterprise service to Dublin; and an additional later night Saturday service from Belfast arriving in Derry at 0:44 hours.

“Funding has not yet been made available in respect of this bid however the I am continuing to press for the much needed investment and to engage with Executive colleagues on the importance of developing and investing in our rail network to address regional imbalance, tackle the climate crisis and better connect communities.

“That is why also I have commissioned the first ever all island strategic rail review with Minister Eamon Ryan of the Irish Government to develop and enhance rail right across our island.

“The North West connections across the North are crucial but so is the need for connectivity right across our island. That is why I ensured that the high speed rail project for Belfast – Dublin – Cork now also includes Derry. Rail can transform the North West, our island economy and the lives of citizens here by opening up connections across Ireland.

“That is my ambition and with my short time in office, we’ve made much progress and I’m committed to making more for Derry, the North and the rest of our island.”

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