Translink changes would cause ‘serious disruption’

A Magilligan woman who uses the Derry to Coleraine train up to three times a week says she would be lost without it and said forthcoming changes announced by Translink would cause her serious disruption.

Translink announced last month that because of cuts to its budget from the Department of Regional Development, the £75m required to upgrade the line was not available and the work would have to be deferred for three years.

In addition to this, Translink said it would be necessary to reduce the number of trains running between Derry and Belfast from nine to five per day and that there would be an increase in the number of buses operating from Derry to Coleraine for passengers who wish to take the train on to Belfast. This includes passengers who board the train at Bellarena, who have to get a bus to Limavady.

“I use the train two to three times a week, and I go to see my son in Derry,” said Isa Doherty. “If I can’t get the train then I would have to get buses and that would be very awkward. I live right beside the train station so it’s very convenient for me and means I don’t have to worry about transport. I don’t know what I would do without it.”

East Derry MLA John Dallat said: “It is very difficult not to feel that once again the north west has been shafted by an Assembly which should be a beacon of light shining into a new future where the injustices, discrimination and inequality of the past is no more.

“This is happening when other European countries are electrifying their railway networks even in rural areas to comply with the highest environmental standards, while we struggle on in the dark ages.

“It is a disgrace and an issue which the SDLP doesn’t intend to accept lying down because to do so would be to accept that the people of the north west are second-class, and those days are over.”