Railway station blues as Translink are struck dumb

The former Waterside Railway Station. 2001JM65
The former Waterside Railway Station. 2001JM65

The railway pressure group Into The West have said it’s time to ‘do the decent thing’ - restore the old Derry train station and upgrade the line to Belfast.

The call to Stormont and Translink comes as another row simmers over plans for the Derry station.

Translink have refused to release information on the public consultation on the future of the station.

SDLP MLA John Dallat said Translink told him the consultation was overwhelmingly in favour of a move back to the classic Lanyon-designed station.

However Translink have refused to release any detail on the consultation until at least February, saying it’s just part of a wider process.

Eamonn McCann of Into the West said: “The reason Translink won’t publish the station consultation report is that some people don’t want to accept the result.

“That’s the fear of Into The West. We base it on experience.

“The decision of the Derry public that the old station should be brought back into use should be accepted and then a way worked out to achieve this within the available budget.

“The North West should have done far better from the resources released by the postponement of the A5 - which was supposed mainly to benefit the North West in the first place. Derry should have been allocated enough of this money both to restore the station and to complete the upgrade of the line itself.

“In the last couple of years new stations have opened in Newry, Larne and Antrim. It is not whinging to ask why Derry is still waiting.

“The situation with the station is symbolic of the treatment of Derry rail users generally. It’s the best-used stretch of line in the North - but the worst treated.”

We think Translink should be told to publish the report now. The Department should be told to look again at its spending plans and if necessary redistribute money so as to do the decent thing by Derry. It’s not too much to ask.