SDLP East Derry MLA John Dallat has written to the Chief Executive of Translink requesting that the official opening of Portrush Train Station not be delayed further and has suggested Michael Palin be invited after the visit of a member of the Royal Family was called off.
He said: “It is my understanding that the official opening of Portrush Train Station was delayed because a member of the Royal Family was suddenly unavailable to attend.
“This is a great resource for local people and I don’t believe we should be beholden to the schedule of a previously invited guest. I’ve written to the Chief Executive of Translink to request that the board of directors considers an alternative guest with connection to local railways.
“I think it would be wonderful if the journalist and TV presenter Michael Palin could be asked to do the Official Opening. Many people will know that Palin has produced several astonishing documentaries of train travel in different parts of the world and one of his best was ‘From Derry to Kerry’. I have no doubt that this film sparked a new determination to fight for the line’s survival and renaissance.
“Having Michael at the official opening of Portrush Station would be an opportunity not only to open the new station but to celebrate the success of the Belfast-Derry network. This has increased its passenger numbers beyond recognition and has shown clearly that when investment is made in new trains and infrastructure the public will respond accordingly.”