Coleraine council confirms re-opening of rail line – Clodagh Rice

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Coleraine Borough Council has welcomed the announcement from Translink that the railway line between Coleraine and Londonderry will reopen on March 24th.

Mr Mal McGreevy, a representative from Translink, told the council last night that the line is to re-open one week ahead of schedule.

This year has seen the introduction of 20 new trains across Northern Ireland, as well as a new timetable for Coleraine services.

From January 6th, there has been a 70% increase in trains from Belfast to Coleraine. Services will now operate 19 times a day – 16 times on a Saturday and seven times on a Sunday.

There will also be four commuter trains in mornings, some of which will be extended from three to six carriages.

Passenger numbers are continuing to grow at a “remarkable rate” and there has been a 10-15% increase on last year’s figures.

This will however mean that trains from Belfast to Londonderry will now pass through Coleraine in morning services, adding 19 minutes to the journey time.

Councillor David McClarty praised the bright future of the service which he described as “resurrected” given not long ago the council had been predicting the demise of the route.

Many other councillors joined Mr McClarty in his praise, including Councillor Barbour who commended the “greatly enhanced” public service.

The Mayor also congratulated Translink on their developments and expressed his thanks for the opening of the new line given the landscape is “second to none.”

Mr McGreevy concluded with the announcement of a report that is to be published throughout the year by the Department of Rural Development highlighting issues with the transport services.

The report estimates that £600 million will be needed in the next 25 years in order to maintain the current services which are said to be worth more than 10 times that amount.

Without further extensions, services are estimated to cost £30 million a year.  However Mr McGreevy did add that he would like to consider more opportunities for improvements to existing services, such as the extension of all trains from three to six carriages.

 

 

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