Into The West slam latest delay on Derry line

The former Waterside Railway Station. 2001JM65
The former Waterside Railway Station. 2001JM65
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New speed restrictions on the Derry rail line have been described as “nothing less than insulting to the people of the city”.

Said ITW in a statement: “We have repeatedly been assured that Minister Danny Kennedy is committed to bringing the line up to an acceptable standard without further delay. But all we get is delay, delay and more delay.

“There’s an element of bluff about blaming the weather.

“We have three separate speed restrictions - 20 mph at Bann Bridge since June 7th; 20 mph at Broharris Bridge since November 4th; and now 30 mph at Carrichue. All this after the line was re-opened after a nine-month closure to great fanfare on March 24th last.

“This has gone beyond a joke.”

The group says it is “alarmed” that removing the latest restriction will involve substantial work and require additional funding.

“Northern Ireland Rail has said that the work will take ‘a multiple of months’. It cannot guarantee completion during 2014. So the go-slow could last until 2015. That cannot be put down to weather alone. It’s a continuation of a pattern.”

The group says that Derry people have been “repeatedly short-changed and let down” by the rail authorities.

“A ‘temporary’ speed restriction at McConaghy’s Crossing was in place for seven years, a ‘temporary’ restriction at Lisahally for three years.

“Just a couple of weeks ago, we heard that installation of a passing loop at Bellarena - crucial for an hourly service and for the future of the line - had been put off until 2016.

“It is also becoming clearer by the day that the Department of Regional Development puts a low priority on provision of a proper terminus at the old Waterside Station. The people of Derry are being treated very shabbily.

“We will have to step up our campaign in the coming year.”