Regional Development Minister, Danny Kennedy expressed his disappointment that the second phase of the Londonderry to Coleraine rail project could be delayed by up to twelve months.
Translink has encountered issues in relation to procurement meaning the second phase of the scheme to create a passing loop and improve signalling will not be completed until 2016.
The Minister said: “Translink have been engaged for some time in a procurement process to carry out the second phase of work to improve the Londonderry to Coleraine rail track.
“I am very disappointed that this £22million project will now be delayed beyond the end of 2015.
“I have raised with Translink my concerns when they encountered difficulties.
“I fully acknowledge that with schemes of this kind it is very important to ensure the procurement process is carried out appropriately.
“Whilst I am frustrated at the delay I have asked Translink to make this an absolute priority going forward.
“I want to stress that I remain fully committed to this important project.”
Referring to the success of the first phase of the project, Minister Kennedy said: “The rail line between Londonderry and Coleraine was reopened in March 2013.
“The number of people travelling on the line has been significant and vindicates my decision to retain an important line that had been earmarked for closure.
“I know that work is also ongoing to develop options for Londonderry rail station. This is something that no doubt will be welcomed by the local community.’’
SDLP MLA John Dallat sad he hoped the project could be completed as soon as possible.
“This is a set back and we are used to them,” he said in a statement.
“We need to make sure that, as quickly as possible, we get a proper inter-city service between Belfast and Derry, servicing the towns and villages in between.”