‘Still discrimination’ on Derry railway

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

Rail lobby Into The West says that Derry is still being discriminated against when it comes to development of the rail service.

An Into The West spokesman said this week that the facts spoke for themselves.

He said: “We see the Department of Regional Development funding new rail development in the east, while upgrade of the Derry line and of the historic Waterside Station lags far behind.”

The lobby group contrasts the treatment of the Belfast-Dublin line with the Derry line.

“With regard to the Dublin line, the new work which has been announced this month is due for completion next year. In contrast, work on Phase Two of the Derry development has been pending for a number of years and is now to be delayed until 2016 - with no firm guarantee that even this target will be met.

“All this is despite the fact that passenger numbers on the Dublin line are decreasing - while numbers on the Derry line are increasing. The transport authorities in Belfast used to defend the lack of investment in the Derry line by calling it a ‘lesser used’. Well, Belfast-Dublin is now lesser-used. But we never hear that phrase used about it.”

The rail campaigner added: “Exactly the same pattern can be seen in the handling of the issue of the old Waterside Station. A massive 64%overall majority for the old station emerged from the consultation this year - the three other options winning 36 percent between them. But instead of accepting this, the DRD announced a ‘forum’ to look at all the options again.

“To rub salt in Derry’s wounds, there is still no sign of this ‘forum’ actually being set up or any indication of what its composition and remit will be.”

“We strongly suspect that Translink and the Department want to build an anonymous structure,” he added.