Hamill’s Beat - The old train station - it’s a ‘no brainer’

Happy St Valentine’s Day. It’s a red letter day for Derry. Ebrington Square will be opened this evening. It’s terrific with fine views over the river, the Peace Bridge and the city. We’ll love it.

If you visit the square this evening, or anytime soon, please ask yourself if you want a new railway station squeezed into the tight space between it and the river, close to the Peace Bridge? (I know I wrote about this last week but it’s hugely important.) Shouldn’t we leave the riverside uncluttered for all to enjoy?

This is especially so as we already have a wonderful old station just three or four hundred yards further along. It could easily be re-connected to the line. The site of the present embarrassing little ‘halt’ could be used for extra car park and ride spaces.

The old station is at Duke Street Roundabout, It’s in the heart of the Waterside. It has good space in front for buses and taxis to pull in.

Passengers with luggage won’t necessarily want to walk across a foot and cycle bridge to the city centre although the Riverside Masterplan actually does envisage another foot bridge in the vicinity of the old station. It would be perfect for rail users who do want to walk. In any case, wouldn’t it be simple to run a path for a few hundred yards to connect the old station with Ebrington and the Peace Bridge?

Good road access to the station is essential. A station close to the Peace Bridge would be relatively cut off from the Waterside and would either mean a new access road through St Columb’s Park or hugely increased traffic on Browning Drive.

As the Americans would say it’s a ‘no brainer’.

Read more from Norman Hamill in the Journal every Tuesday