Mal McGreevy, general manager of rail services at Translink, addressed Coleraine Borough Council on Tuesday to discuss the completion of the consultation process on the new Derry-Londonderry rail line.
Councillors were told how the 70% increase of train services is helping transform the North Coast.
The Belfast – Coleraine line has seen an increase from 11 journeys on weekdays to 19 with 4 commuter trains arriving in Belfast before 9am.
The council was informed that the Derry-Londonderry service will be operational from Saturday 24th March, one week ahead of schedule.
The new service allows for the arrival of a train in Derry-Londonderry at 8.25am. The first time a train has arrived there before 9am.
Mr McGreevy expressed gratitude to local rail users: “I am very grateful to passengers in Coleraine for their custom” as he confirmed a 10-15% increase in passenger numbers.
Cllr McClarty congratulated Mr Greevy, adding: “not that long ago we were predicting the demise of train services in Northern Ireland, now there has been a resurrection and there is a bright future”.
Also on the agenda was the question of who would represent the council at the 2013 Somme Association Pilgrimage due to take place in France from 28th June to 22nd July.
It was agreed that Cllr McLaughlin would attend the 97th anniversary commemorations with Mayor Samuel Cole after Alderman Morris Bradley proposed an amendment that Mr Cole attend the event instead of the incoming Mayor.
Mr McLaughlin said the association was struggling to keep going. He appealed for a plaque to honour those who died: “It is disgraceful [that they don’t have a plaque] given that 50,000 people died from the island of Ireland”.
Public Administration Review
The government’s review of public administration was briefly discussed as it was confirmed that local government would be required to meet the costs of transitionary functions.
Finance Minister Sammy Wilson confirmed on the 11 February 2013 that the Northern Ireland Executive will make funding available.
The proposed location of the main council is still unknown, prompting Cllr Duddy to comment on what he said was ‘a lack of clarity’ from the DOE, before adding: ‘I find that incredible’.
A reorginisation bill is expected on the assembly floor after easter.
Alan Jeffers, of the Portrush Regeneration project, informed the council of plans to introduce WiFi in tourist areas including beaches.
Councilors were assured that a procurement process should see limits imposed on downloads and blocks on inappropriate downloads.