Derry Chamber of Commerce President Selina Horshi welcomes ‘transformative’ rail review

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Derry Chamber President Selina Horshi says the local business lobby is pleased the draft All-Island Strategic Rail Review has included many proposals its members have been campaigning for.

She was speaking after Arup’s draft All-Island Strategic Rail Review recommended the development of a new Derry to Portadown rail link and a spur from Derry to Lettekenny.

The Chamber President said the report includes 30 transformative recommendations which would ‘utterly change the landscape of the island of Ireland’ and play a crucial role in ‘our island’s transition to low or zero carbon modes of transport and will be an important step in our journey to net zero also’.

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“In January 2022, the Londonderry Chamber submitted a joint response to the review’s consultation with our colleagues in the Letterkenny Chamber, highlighting the urgent need to upgrade the rail network in the North West of Ireland and ensure reliable connectivity for our region.

Selina HorshiSelina Horshi
Selina Horshi

“This included ensuring large urban centres in our region – including the likes of Derry, Letterkenny, Omagh, Strabane, and Ballybofey – are connected to other large towns and cities across the island for commuters, students, international tourists, and visitors to our region. In our submission, we outlined the immense economic benefits that a stronger, more reliable, and more frequently served rail network would have for the North West. We also highlighted the absurdity that no airport on the island of Ireland is currently served by a rail connection.

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“We are very pleased to see that many of our recommendations have been taken on board and are included in the report. This includes extending the railway into Tyrone, Derry and Donegal; exploring new stations in the Derry city region; and restoring the rail line between Derry and Portadown.”

Ms. Horshi, however, said it was ‘disappointing that no proposal to open a new halt at the City of Derry Airport has been proposed and we will continue to make the case for this, while we also believe that Fermanagh should also be included in any upgrades to ensure true connectivity for the North West of Ireland’.

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“Overall, this is an incredibly ambitious report which outlines the huge economic and social benefits that a transformed rail network would have across the island of Ireland,” she said.