Translink has introduced a new hourly train service from Derry to Belfast.
The new service began yesterday and will operate Monday to Saturday.
It comes after an investment of £46.4 million to complete a passing loop and installation of new signalling and telecoms on the Coleraine to Derry line earlier this year.
In January the then Minister for Infrastructure, Chris Hazzard, announced that an hourly train service between Derry and Belfast was to be introduced by the summer of 2017.
Translink Group Chief Executive, Chris Conway said: “We are pleased to be introducing this new hourly timetable, making it more convenient and attractive for passengers to travel to and from Derry, connecting people and supporting the local economy, attracting visitors and investment.”
“This significant timetable improvement will mean more choices for passengers travelling between NI’s two main cities and along the route.
“The enhanced train timetable together with our fast, frequent 212 Goldline coach services make transport between Derry and Belfast more attractive and accessible than ever before with over 50 rail and coach return services, every day to choose from.”
Mr Conway said that other plans for the city include the introduction of the new Foyle Metro Services in the Autumn, while and a planning application is also underway for the new Transport Hub within the refurbished Waterside railway station.
President of Derry’s Chamber of Commerce, George Fleming, welcomed the enhanced frequency on the Derry line. He said: “Connectivity is extremely important to the North West region and the introduction of the new hourly rail timetable will bring much more choice to passengers looking to connect to the two largest cities in the region”.
Welcoming the start of the service, Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said: “Chris Hazzard when Minister for Infrastructure made great strides moving forward key infrastructural projects including the A5 and A6 and the multi-million investment in a North-West Integrated Transport Hub at the old Waterside Railway Station.
“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.”