Rail campaigners from Into The West have welcomed the announcement by Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard that he has asked Translink to provide an hourly service from Derry to Belfast from this summer.
The campaigners, who have been at the fore of the drive for better rail facilities for the north west, said the move was “a positive step”, made possible by the completion last month of Phase II of the upgrade of the railway infrastructure.
In a statement the group said: “Put into practice, this will mean that Derry will have, for the first time ever, an hourly rail service to and from Belfast.
“This is a long-overdue delivery of improved public transport services to the North West.
“Rail travel between the two main cities of Northern Ireland takes too long. We urge the Minister to ask Translink to carry out a feasibility study into significantly reducing travel times. It should be possible to run a service which takes less than two hours.”
Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney also welcomed the development.
He said: “In recent months Chris Hazzard, Minister for Infrastructure has made great strides moving forward key infrastructural projects. The hourly service from Belfast will vastly improve connection between both cities. It will make it easier for people carrying out business, attending hospitals, Universities and opening up the whole tourist product for the hinterlands of Derry and Donegal.”