Six months on.. still no station

The former Waterside Railway Station. 2001JM65
The former Waterside Railway Station. 2001JM65

Rail lobby group Into The West (ITW) have expressed dismay at the lack of visible progress on a new rail station for Derry.

ITW spokesman Jim McBride said it was shocking that while a raft of other rail projects have been announced elsewhere in the north, there has been no noticeable progress since the results of public consultation on four options for Derry’s station were published six months ago.

That report- the publication of which was delayed- identified that the will of the people was to bring the Old Railway station back into use.

Mr McBride said: “It is now six months since then and what has happened: zero. Within that time an upgrade has been announced for the Enterprise service, which carries 60% of the passengers on the Derry line, and yet there is this reluctance to do anything here. Why is that? Are we on the wrong side of the Bann? Ballymena is getting a new station, why not here, where, despite lack of promotion, the number of passengers has increased by a third over three years?”

A Department of Regional Development spokeswoman said an Economic Appraisal on options has been drafted and looked at internally, and that “next steps” were being examined ”in the context of available and known budgets”.

She added: “At this stage it is not our intention to publish the Appraisal as it could potentially impact on future commercial negotiations.”

A Translink spokeswoman meanwhile said: “We are developing a ‘Statement of Need’ to determine more detailed design and costings for a new facility. Currently, no government funding has been confirmed. The Statement of Need is a project management document which defines the client’s specific requirements for the project in terms of scope, functionality and quality. It forms part of the Project Brief. The Statement of Need covers all options not just the preferred option.”