Irish Transport Minister discusses new rail routes

Campaign group ‘Into The West’ have met with the Republic’s Minister for Transport and the Environment, Eamon Ryan TD, to discuss improved rail provision for the north-west of the island.

Among the topics discussed were a new rail service from Derry to Letterkenny, extending that service through Donegal to Sligo, to connect with the proposed Western Rail Corridor and a new direct rail line from the North-West to Dublin, via Strabane and Tyrone.

Minister Ryan expressed interest in the possibility of rail being restored to Letterkenny, as well as having a direct route to Dublin - and confirmed that he is working with Stormont Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon on a comprehensive review of the rail network across the island.

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Into The West Co-Chair, Steve Bradley, commented “We are grateful to Minister Ryan for giving us the opportunity to make the case for improved rail provision in the north-west. Our region is the forgotten corner of the island when it comes to infrastructure, and Donegal and Tyrone have been left without rail for decades. Whilst there is still much to do before any firm commitments could be given, the Minister reacted positively to the case for a new commuter rail route from Derry to Letterkenny, and also to the possibility of a direct route to Dublin from Derry and Letterkenny. Such a service would run via Strabane and Omagh, so would really help bind the north-west city region together physically.

“We also discussed our longer-term ambition of extending rail from Letterkenny to connect with the proposed new ‘Western Rail Corridor’.

“That project seeks to create a direct rail link between Cork, Limerick, Galway and Sligo. By adding Letterkenny and Derry to that corridor you would not only connect every main town in the western half of the island by rail – you would also create a necklace of rail linking all the key population centres in Ireland. It would be a game changer for the island’s economy and connectivity, and also a huge asset for Irish tourism”.

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