Coleraine Borough Council met in the council offices in Cloonavin on Tuesday 19th February 2013 at 6.30pm.
Deputy Mayor Alderman Creelman, chairman for the evening, opened proceedings by welcoming everyone to the meeting.
The first item of business was an update from the General Manager of Rail Services in Translink, Mr Mal McGreevy. He addressed the council on the upcoming opening of the improved Coleraine and Londonderry/Derry rail line.
Mr McGreevy revealed twenty new trains will operate on this line, as opposed to the original thirteen.
In response to the 70% increase in passengers travelling on trains between Belfast and Coleraine, Mr McGreevy stressed, “It was necessary to implement a new timetable that would see trains running hourly.” Trains have been increased from eleven to nineteen per day, Monday to Friday and eight on a Sunday.
Mr McGreevy told the chamber, “The line will reopen one week ahead of schedule on 24th March 2013”, while adding this had been, “A challenging programme.”
Councillor McClarty extended his praise of the reopening to the gathered councillors, commenting that not many years ago the prediction for the line was demise, but now he is pleased that there is, “A bright future ahead for the railways of Northern Ireland.” Making reference to the service provided by Translink, he further added, “The service is now tremendous” and that he was, “Looking forward to travelling on the improved line.”
Councillors heard how Translink have installed new technology, enabling passengers to access a ‘wifi’ network when travelling. This new service will allow passengers to connect to the internet free of charge whilst on the move, giving them the opportunity to check emails, browse social network sites or catch up on work whilst travelling with Translink. The new scheme was widely praised by the majority of the gathered councillors and it was commented that this added a new incentive for people to use public transport.
Councillor Barbour echoed this praise by adding he thought it was a, “Great idea to be able to use computers on a train.” He also made the comparison that this wifi scheme would help to, “Enhance our tourist rate” and, “Help us economically.”
Mayor, Councillor Cole ended the item of business by commenting, “I cannot wait to get using my free pass to try out the line.”
The meeting continued by following the next item of business on the agenda.