Colum Eastwood says rail review a ‘once-in-a-generation’ chance to restore rail in north west
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The Foyle MP was speaking as a draft copy of the All Island Strategic Rail Review included the reopening of the old Derry to Portadown rail link among 30 recommendations that will involve a multi-billion euro investment in rail over a quarter of a century if it is approved.
The draft report also recommends an extension of rail from Derry to Letterkenny.
“Securing the first detailed review of rail infrastructure across Ireland was one of the SDLP’s significant achievements in the last term of government.
"Commissioning the review in cooperation with the Irish Government, we understood the immense practical benefits that investing in rail will have for people in the North and across our island.
“We now have a £30bn rail restoration plan that will help decarbonise transport across Ireland, connect people and opportunities in communities that have been severed from economic investment for far too long and bring people across our island closer together,” he stated.
The SDLP leader said the inclusion of the reopening of the ‘Derry Road’ as the Great Northern Railway was once known was a major boost for Derry and Donegal.
“I am particularly glad that the restoration of rail from Letterkenny to Derry and on to Portadown is a key recommendation of the review. The withdrawal of rail services in the West has left substantial scars on communities here that have never healed because the promised investment in roads infrastructure was abandoned for decades. This plan is a rededication to people in the West.
“The SDLP’s mission is to end division and build a new Ireland. The All Island Strategic Rail Review is an ambitious example of how we can end the physical divisions between communities and connect people, particularly in the west, to new opportunities that will help to build a modern, connected and prosperous new Ireland.”