Government Inquiry into railway set up

An Inquiry is to be held into Phase Two of the Derry rail line upgrade. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire.
An Inquiry is to be held into Phase Two of the Derry rail line upgrade. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire.
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Have your say

Local people have been urged to give their views on the setting up of an Inquiry into the controversy surrounding Phase Two of the Derry to Coleraine railway line upgrade.

The Committee for Regional Development announced that they are commencing the Inquiry after it emerged that the actual cost of the rail project is now likely to be £40m- double the original estimate.

Translink’s original figures were branded as “frankly little more than a guesstimate”, by Transport Minister Danny Kennedy earlier this month.

The second phase of the railway line to create a passing loop and new signalling for trains on the 30km stretch of line between Derry to Coleraine was already delayed by a year, even before the recent review uncovered the under-estimate.

The terms of reference for the Assembly Inquiry meanwhile have now been defined.

It will focus on ensuring that the procurement process for Phase Two of the railway line is compliant with 12 guiding principles governing the administration of public procurement.

The Inquiry team will also assess the effectiveness of the project management process, while examining how the financial planning and cost estimates were reached. They will further evaluate communication lines in respect of the project and the Department’s own overview of it.

The processes required to ensure that the existing 2014/2015 budget is retained will also come under scrutiny.

The committee are now also asking to hear people’s views, and Jim McBride from rail lobby group Into The West urged local people to have their say on the matter.

Mr McBride said: “We firmly believe that an investigation is needed into the management of this project. We hope that the measures now being taken will help get the railway upgrade back on track.

“Into the West stopped the line from closure by getting the support of most people in the North West. We hope that people contact the Inquiry and make it clear that an hourly service to Belfast must be delivered by 2016 instead of being delayed yet again. We have been short-changed too often.

“A good transport infrastructure is essential for tourism and to boost our deprived local economy.”

People can write to: The Committee for Regional Development, Room 435, Parliament Buildings, Ballymiscaw, Stormont, Belfast, BT4 3XX; e-mail: committee.regionaldevelopment@niassembly.gov.uk or telephone: 028 9052 1440. Deadline for submissions is December 12th, 2014.

Meanwhile a spokeswoman for Translink said there has been no further developments on phase 2 of the line works.