Minister sets out plan for £27m rail upgrade

Danny Kennedy has set out his multi-million pound plans for the Derry to Coleraine rail link.
Danny Kennedy has set out his multi-million pound plans for the Derry to Coleraine rail link.

Transport Minister Danny Kennedy has set out his plans for the Derry to Coleraine railway line.

The Minister has secured the Executive’s approval of £27 million, from the Department and Translink’s existing budget, for a phased re-lay of the rail line, starting in July 2012.

Mr. Kennedy told the Assembly yesterday: “Completing this phase of track enhancement in time for the 2013 City of Culture year will deliver very real benefits for the people of the North West, for the people of Northern Ireland and for the thousands of visitors that come to Northern Ireland. This approach will secure the long-term future of the line and assist in efforts to bring major golf tournaments and other tourism and cultural initiatives to the north coast.”

Phase one will include relaying the end sections of the line, from Coleraine to Castlerock and from Eglinton to Derry, and essential bridge works.

The line will be completely closed for approximately nine months during the works, from July 2012 to April 2013. It’s thought the project will cost £27 million.

Eight return trips per day will operate when the line re-opens in April 2013.

Phase two will complete the re-signalling works between Coleraine and Derry in 2014 and construct the new passing loop in 2015, with a total estimated cost of £22 million.

Phase three will undertake the relay of the track from Castlerock to Eglinton in 2021. This is expected to cost £36 million and should deliver half hourly services.

The Minister concluded: “The plans to deliver a rail service for the City of Culture in 2013 is a clear demonstration of my commitment to infrastructure investment in the North West and to improve public transport links between the two main cities in Northern Ireland.”