Mal McGreevy began the Coleraine Borough Council meeting on 19th February 2013 with an update on the Coleraine-Derry/Londonderry rail line.
Mr McGreevy, General Manager of Rail Services at Translink, confirmed that the Coleraine-Derry/Londonderry line will reopen one week ahead of schedule on the 24th March.
He continued to outline what progress Translink had made in recent times. The number of services between Belfast and Coleraine had increased by around 70% as numbers of passengers using the service had increased by 10-15% on the previous year.
There will also be a train commencing on the 25th March leaving from Belfast and arriving in Derry/Londonderry at 8.25am – the earliest time a train has arrived at the destination via this route. However, this early train will be 19 minutes longer than the usual journey.
Mr McGreevy said, “We made a commitment many years ago to what some people called the ‘lesser used lines’. We now have no lesser used lines.”
Councillors were impressed by the figures given and were in agreement that it was a good boost for the area.
Cllr McClarty commented, “It is not that long ago that we were predicting the demise of our train line. I think that everyone should be supporting Translink and what they are doing.”
Deputy Mayor Maura Hickey added, “It really does help us economically here in Coleraine. It is a great asset.”
Mr McGreevy completed his presentation by mentioning what needed to be done in future years to consolidate the hard work that has already been completed.
He said, “Over £600 million will be needed in the next 25-30 years just to maintain the network that we have. Without further extensions, services are expected to cost £30 million per year. I think it is important to recognise what we have done but to continue investment.”
A consultation date has been set for the 15th April to discuss further upgrades to the network, including having more six-carriage trains in service.