Report on £30m Phase 3 Derry-Coleraine rail upgrade due November, says Nichola Mallon
Transport Minister Nichola Mallon expects a report on the long-delayed third phase of the Derry to Coleraine rail upgrade to be ready by November.
She said ‘a full and robust’ business case will then have to be submitted for her consideration. It’s estimated Phase 3 of the rail upgrade will cost roughly £30m. The project will involve the full relay of the track between Castlerock and Eglinton.
Sleepers and ballast will be replaced and bridges refurbished along one of the most picturesque sections of rail in Ireland, if and when it is ever approved and funded.
Speaking in the Assembly before it rose for the summer recess Ms. Mallon said the uprgrade of the Derry line was one of her priorities.
“Rail has huge untapped potential to deliver multiple benefits across our island. It is also an important component of addressing regional imbalance. That is why, as Minister, I have been very much focused on improving connectivity to the north-west. In line with that commitment, I commissioned a feasibility study to get phase 3 of the Coleraine to Derry project back on track....I also commissioned additional studies to explore the possibility of a half-hourly service between Belfast and Derry, as well as to provide additional rail halts at Ballykelly, Strathfoyle and the City of Derry Airport at Eglinton.
“I can tell Members that work on the Phase 3 feasibility study is ongoing, with a number of topographical and pilot studies under way. A report is still on schedule to be completed by November of this year. A full and robust business case will then be prepared and submitted to me that will ensure that all future spend is fully informed by it and that there is high-level assurance on costs, risk and benefit realisation,” she said.