ULSTER Unionist transport Minister Danny Kennedy has reaffirmed his commitment to upgrading the Coleraine to Londonderry railway line.
Speaking during a debate about the railway line in the Assembly, Mr Kennedy said: “I remain fully committed to upgrading, and not just maintaining, this section of the railway network as quickly as possible.
“There is no doubt the railway service to and from Londonderry is an important investment for both the North West and for the development of Northern Ireland.
“To emphasise the importance of the line I have recently committed £7million in funding so that Translink can plan and implement a programme of engineering works, this demonstrates my clear commitment to ensure the future of the line and this work is already in planning.”
Explaining the timeframe and the detail of the current plans for the line, the Minister said: “As part of the outworking of Budget 2010 the Coleraine to Londonderry track relay project was deferred until 2014 and funding of £20million was allocated to 2014/15 to allow the project to start in 2014. This decision took account of the budget constraints faced but also to avoid disruption to the City of Culture Year in 2013.”
The Minister added: “In recent weeks I have initiated discussions with key stakeholders in the North West, including a meeting of political representatives and other interested groups in the Council Chamber in the Guildhall. I have also raised these matters with my Executive colleagues and will continue to review options and have discussions about what is technically and financially feasible.”
“There is no doubt that creating fast, reliable and comfortable train services will bring benefits across Northern Ireland and the development of the railway service, particularly the Coleraine to Londonderry line is important and something I will continue to actively pursue.”