‘Ringfence rail money’ says Derry lobby group

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A spokesperson for the rail lobby group Into the West has said the upgrade of Derry’s rail line and acquisition of the historic Waterside station needs to be ringfenced from budget cuts due to be implemented by Stormont.

The spokesperson said: “Phase II of the upgrade is already 18 months late. In the current climate, the prospect of it being completed by late 2016 is beginning to look shaky. But there seems to be no problem delivering a £17.6 million project on the Belfast-Dublin line which was first mooted less than a year ago.

“Rail passenger numbers in the North are on the up and up, with the Derry-Belfast line showing the most dramatic rise - 1.68 million passengers in 2013 2014, up from 1.26 million in 2011/2012. This has been biggest percentage increase anywhere on the island. The Derry-Belfast line, despite all the obstacles placed in its way, is a glowing success story. We are not asking for subsidy of a failing line. The business case for completing Phase II of the upgrade is conclusive.