‘Totally new rail approach not needed after delays’

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Rail Minister Chris Hazzard has rejected a suggestion by DUP MLA George Robinson that Translink should revisit its strategy for minimising delays on the Derry to Belfast line following a series of teething problems to a new signalling system before Christmas.

Mr. Hazzard said: “I am aware of a number of delays on the Derry to Coleraine line that arose in early December 2016 following the activation of new signalling.

“It is clear that the performance issues at that time were not satisfactory, but Translink has worked hard with the contractor to address the issues during the bedding-in period.”

Mr. Robinson asked the Minister to have “an urgent conversation with Translink about replacing the current strategy, because it is not fit for purpose”.

But Mr. Hazzard replied: “The delays are down to barriers at Bellarena and a faulty track circuit at Castlerock. You go too far by suggesting that we need an entirely different approach and saying that the standard is not what it should be.

“I go back to my original answer: the 2016 results showed a perfect score of 100% for reliability. That is a fantastic score, and fair play to all those who achieved it.”