Translink has announced it is to increase rail services on the Londonderry line by 70%.
Mal McGreevy, Translink’s General Manager, made the announcement at the Coleraine Borough Council meeting on Tuesday evening, 19 February.
Services will be increased from 11 to 19 on weekdays, with an additional three services at weekends.
It is hoped the new services will help to attract visitors from across Northern Ireland to Londonderry as it enjoys UK City of Culture status. For the first time a train from Belfast will arrive in Londonderry before 08:30, improving transport links and potentially boosting visitor numbers in the area.
Mr McGreevy said an increase in passenger numbers, believed to be between 10-15% up on last year was the reason for the decision.
He added, “We no longer have lesser used lines in the province.”
The move coincides with the news that the line between Coleraine and Londonderry is to reopen on the 24th March, after essential maintenance work had been carried out.
Ulster Unionist Councillor David Harding said that people in the area “have missed the line badly.” He said the increase in services will be an “added attraction to our town.”
Independent Unionist Councillor David McClarty, congratulated Translink on its decision, saying, “I think everybody should be supporting Translink and what they are trying to accomplish.”
Deputy Mayor Maura Hickey said, “The new timetable really does help us economically.”
However in his address to the council Mr McGreevy said that £600 million would be required over the next 25 years just to maintain the current railway networks. Averaging between £25million and £30million per year.
Mr McGreevy added that Translink were always on the lookout for “opportunities to expand” in Northern Ireland, hinting that “in not many years time” carriages on Londonderry line trains could increase from three to six.
For timetable information regarding the Londonderry line, see link below.
More information on Coleraine Borough Council can be found here.