The head of Derry’s Chamber of Commerce has said that the new North-West Transport Hub, which was officially opened earlier this week, could be an ‘economic catalyst’ for the region.
President of the Chamber, Brian McGrath, said the new facility is ‘vital and long overdue’.
The £27m Transport Hub is located at the former Waterside Train Station, a Grade B-listed building which served as one of the city’s main stations for a century before closing in 1980.
Welcoming the new facility, Brian McGrath said: “Increased connectivity for the North West is crucial and we hope this will act as a further economic catalyst for the region. This new hub will encourage more people to travel to Derry-Londonderry and allows us to capitalise on the immense potential of our local tourism offer. Improved infrastructure is also key to the economic development of the entire North West region and we hope this will attract more business to the North West city and region as well.”
Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion described the opening of the Transport Hub as ‘fantastic news for the city’.
“This state-of-the-art facility will increase connectivity across the north west and provide a huge economic boost to the city.
“I commend those involved, including former Minister Chris Hazzard, in transforming this wonderful old building and bringing it into line with the 21st century.”
Alliance Councillor Rachel Ferguson said the Transport Hub is a ‘great bonus for commuters in the North West’ and will encourage more people to use public transport.
Her party colleague, Councillor Philip Mc Kinney, added that in addition to being a Transport Hub ‘the building will welcome a public venue for classes and events to be enjoyed by the entire community. Improvements such as this help to attract new businesses and increased numbers of tourists, both of which will benefit the local economy.”
Long time rail campaigner Jim McBride, of Into the West, said the new facility “is something we have campaigned for for over ten years”.
“It is a great facility, the only thing we don’t have now is an improved train service,” he said. “To maximise the new facility we need to have phase three implemented as that work would improve journey times.”
Mr McBride added: “We want £30 million to improve the line between Castlerock and Eglinton to maximise the potential of the station. If we can’t shorten the journey times to Belfast, in our eyes it is a missed opportunity.”