The SDLP Spokesperson on Regional Development John Dallat has said this morning he is confident that the postponed second phase of the upgrade of the Derry to Belfast Railway will now proceed within months.
He said: “Last week the Assembly’s Regional Development Committee travelled to Derry to take evidence for their inquiry into the causes of the highly regrettable delay in carrying out Phase II of the upgrade of this increasingly important railway.
“The railway is not just important to the people of Belfast and Derry but plays an increasingly important role in the economic and social wellbeing of people who use stations at Ballymoney, Coleraine, Castlerock, Bellarena and, in the future, hopefully Limavady and Ballykelly.
“Among those giving evidence were people not just from Derry but from Limavady and Coleraine who have expressed their concern about the delay in carrying out vital improvements which will allow an hourly service and a much improved timetable.
“There is now serious pressure on Translink, the Department of Regional Development and the Assembly’s Executive to ensure that the new tender currently in process is handled much better and the money is available to carry out the work without any further delay.
“It is my belief that this contract involving a passing look at Bellarena and new vital signalling equipment can proceed without interruption to the service within weeks.
“As a direct result of the inquiry there will be a much clearer understanding of the need to further invest in the Belfast-Derry Railway to ensure that it is fast and frequent and up to mark as a proper inter-city service capable of linking with the railway network on this island.”