Translink confirms Belfast to Derry train service will continue as normal over Hallowe'en
A Translink spokesperson said: “Translink is planning major improvement works across the rail network over the Halloween weekend.
“We are committed to making the City’s Halloween event a success and are working closely with Derry City and Strabane Council to plan public transport arrangements.
“Careful consideration has been given to the Halloween festivities over this weekend and the rail line will remain open between Belfast and Derry~Londonderry throughout the weekend from Saturday, October 29 to Monday, October 31 to minimise overall impact on passengers travelling to the festivities.
“The works planned for the Derry~Londonderry line on Sunday, October 30 will be postponed until the following weekend.
“We are also planning additional later bus and train services from the city on Monday, October 31 to make it easy for people to travel by public transport to the main parade event and fireworks display.”
Earlier Northern Ireland Railways said the Derry to Belfast rail line would be partially closed with bus substitution services over the Hallowe’en weekend.
The disruption was due to be concentrated on the line between Belfast and Antrim with bus services operating in that area between Saturday, October 29 and Monday, October 31.
Foyle MLA Pádraig Delargy wrote to Translink asking it to postpone works over Hallowe’en.
In a letter to the transport company, Mr. Delargy stated: “This is a vital period of economic activity for the city attracting tourists from all over the world.
"I would respectfully ask that the date for this work be carried out is changed to ensure no disruption in transport links to or from Derry, during the Hallowe'en period.”
SDLP Foyle MLA Sinéad McLaughlin said: “I have now spoken directly with Translink to discuss the issues raised and appreciate their desire to reach a positive conclusion.
"They have now confirmed that the line will remain open over the weekend, with works planned for Sunday postponed to a later date.”
SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan said: “When the news of this work and line closures was reported, we immediately contacted Translink and the Department for Infrastructure and I am glad common sense has prevailed and we can now focus on making this Hallowe’en a success.”
People Before Profit councillor Maeve O'Neill, a member of Into the West, said it took ‘public pressure’ to ‘force Translink to ditch plans’ to partially close the line.
She said: “This has sparked intense anger over the whole North West. Derry people are mad as hell and won’t stand for it much longer. It's symbolic of so much else.
"Translink should now create a dedicated unit, based in Derry, to devise and supervise the process of bringing Derry up to the standard a regional capital has a right to expect.”
Translink has acceded to requests to keep the line fully open over the Hallowe’en weekend. The disruption will now be confined to services in the east.
Translink said: “Rail services on the Larne and cross border train lines will be impacted with bus substitutions in place and passengers are being advised to check times before they travel by visiting www.translink.co.uk or use the Journey Planner and allow extra time for their journey.”