All posts by Jayne McCormack

Councillors pleased with improvements to North Coast rail lines

BY JAYNE MCCORMACK

The Derry/Londonderry train line has seen a "major refurbishment"
The Derry/Londonderry train line has seen a “major refurbishment”

Coleraine councillors were told of the huge transformation to the North Coast’s railway system at their meeting on Tuesday, 19 February.

Mal McGreevy, general manager of rail services at Translink, said that there had been a 70% increase in the number of trains operating between Belfast to Coleraine and Coleraine to Belfast.

He told councillors that Translink was “very grateful to Coleraine” and that the new timetable, which came into effect on 6 January 2013, meant that there were now 19 trains operating to Coleraine every weekday, with 16 operating on Saturdays and at least 7 on Sundays – a huge boost for the town’s transport.

Councillors were also pleased to hear that passenger numbers were up 10-15% from last year.

Mr McGreevy spoke about the re-opening of part of the Derry/Londonderry line, which has undergone a “major refurbishment” and confirmed that the line would be accessible again from Saturday, 24 March, a week ahead of schedule.

He said the first morning train would arrive in Derry/Londonderry at 8.25am on Monday, 25 March and added, “There has never been a train arriving in Derry/Londonderry before 9am before.”

Cllr David Harding was the first to commend Translink for their efforts. He said, “The people of Castlerock are excited, and people out there have missed the line badly.”

Cllr David McClarty said, “Not too long ago we were predicting the demise of railway in Northern Ireland and now it has been totally resurrected.”

Another issue high on the agenda was the 2013 Somme Association pilgrimage to the Somme, France from 28 June to 2 July.

The pilgrimage will mark the 97th anniversary of the battle, and councillors debated over who should attend.  They agreed to send Cllr Gerry McLaughlin, whose father fought in the Somme, and the outgoing Mayor, Samuel Cole.

The council normally sends the incoming mayor and a councillor to the pilgrimage, but Mr McClarty proposed an amendment, arguing that, “The incoming mayor is a busy person” and that outgoing Mayor Cole should attend because he was too busy to attend as incoming mayor in 2012.

All councillors voted in favour of the amendment, and Cllr Yvonne Boyle said it would be a “wonderful” opportunity for Mr McLaughlin.

The council also considered proposals for a 24-month pilot project to deliver a free, public Wi-Fi service on Portrush beaches.

A free Wi-Fi service will be piloted for 24 months on Portrush beaches
A free Wi-Fi service will be piloted for 24 months on Portrush beaches

When asked by Cllr Barbour if he envisaged people using their computers on the beach, Alan Jeffers, Regeneration Manager of the Portrush Regeneration programme, said that computers and Wi-Fi provisions are “very much a part of the new generation.”

 

 

For more information about Coleraine Borough Council, visit their website.

Return of the Mac: CD Review

The world rejoiced earlier this year when legendary rock group Fleetwood Mac announced a 2013 world tour. Jayne McCormack takes a trip down nostalgia lane to explain why ‘Rumours’ is still one of the best albums of all time.

Fleetwood Mac's 35th anniversary edition of 'Rumours'
Fleetwood Mac’s 35th anniversary edition of ‘Rumours’

Music lovers everywhere are ecstatic that the band responsible for classics including ‘Little Lies’, ‘Everywhere’ and ‘Tusk’ is hitting the road once more to please millions of Fleetwood fans worldwide.

This year marks the re-release of their greatest album ‘Rumours’ (1978), which has been repackaged for a 35-year anniversary edition (a year too late, strangely) with an additional two discs of previously unreleased material so that hardcore fans can truly appreciate the band’s brilliance.

‘Rumours’ is timeless – it’s an aural delight and one album that every music enthusiast should own. It has sold over 40 million copies worldwide, and was infamously recorded while tensions within the band were reaching boiling point.

Drummer Mick Fleetwood even called Rumours “the most important album we ever made.” It flows so beautifully that each track that compliments another. From the opening rustic guitar in ‘Second Hand News’, to the hopeful, upbeat tune of ‘Don’t Stop’ and the wonderfully romantic ‘Songbird’, there has simply never been another album like this.

‘Dreams’, sung by the sultry Stevie Nicks and surprisingly enough, Fleetwood Mac’s only Number 1, is her attack upon guitarist Lindsay Buckingham after their poisonous relationship and subsequent break-up, to which Buckingham responds with ‘Go Your Own Way’. The two songs are not only fantastically well written but the emotional baggage that accompanies the tracks is so raw that you can actually feel their tumultuous history being captured throughout the album.

Add to the track list ‘The Chain’, probably one of their best-known hits and also the famous Formula One theme tune, and two lesser-known tracks ‘I Don’t Want to Know’ and ‘Silver Springs’, which show off the band’s ability to harmonise that has never been replicated as well by any other band. It’s simply a perfect album from start to finish.

Disc Two includes previously unreleased live tracks, recorded at various shows during the band’s 1977 ‘Rumours’ tour, while the final disc includes ‘More from the Recording Sessions’ – songs that didn’t make it into the 2004 double-disc re-mastered edition. Notable tracks include the unrecognisably slow demo version of ‘The Chain’ and the early recording of ‘Oh, Daddy.’

This repackaged edition of ‘Rumours’ is a must-have for any true Fleetwood fan. It gives listeners a magnificent insight into Fleetwood Mac during the creation of an album that continues to amaze generation after generation, and sits on a musical pedestal that few bands can emulate.

For more info and tour dates visit Fleetwood Mac’s website here.