Derry to Coleraine rail news ‘a horror story’

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A “horror story” is how one Limavady councillor has described news there is no money for the £75million upgrade to the Derry to Coleraine line, due to start next year.

Limavady councillors heard from top Translink officials on Tuesday the upgrade was being deferred to 2014.

Safety works would start next year during which some passengers would be bussed between Derry and Coleraine.

Reacting strongly to the news, SDLP councillor Gerry Mullan said not only was it disappointing, but it “set alarms bells ringing”.

“This cannot go unchallenged,” he said. “This seems to be a back door way of closing the service.

“I really am gutted. It has to be fought for tooth and nail. The North West deserves better than this. It’s a horror story.”

SDLP Colr. Michael Coyle reacted strongly, saying: “No matter how we are told it is a bitter pill to swallow.”

DUP councillor and MLA George Robinson said while Translink say they are committed to the line “it is hard to believe when a third if the trains are being cancelled”.

“Passengers have told me they believe that the safety argument is nothing more than a step to closure,” he said, “and this is especially the case as there is to be an increase in the frequency of buses between Coleraine and Derry and the disruption is to last for up to 2 years starting in 2012.

“Passengers are deeply concerned at the future of the line and I share their pessimistic outlook after this announcement.”