I recently travelled on the Enterprise train service between Belfast and Dublin. On the return leg as I disembarked at Central Station I couldn’t help thinking how great it would be if the Enterprise continued on to Derry. It would certainly raise the profile of rail travel and provide a great connection between Derry and Dublin.
There is an Enterprise service about every two hours. If they all served Derry this would fit into our current timetable, i.e. minimal problems with scheduling extra trains and hardly requiring massive investment as all the resources already exist. We are told that NIR intends to introduce an hourly service between Derry and Belfast. This would allow NIR to alternate Enterprises and the usual train serving all stops.
A limited stop service, say, Derry, Coleraine, Ballymena and central Station then the usual stops to Dublin should be able to make Dublin in about four hours which is about the same as the bus, only more comfortable and much better facilities for working. Future investment should be able to get this down to three hours.
Our politicians should seek to have the Enterprise extended to Derry as a matter of urgency. In the meantime the first train should be rescheduled so that it leaves in time to connect with the 8am Enterprise service from Belfast. This used to be a very useful connection and it seems like poor planning that the first train out of Derry now arrives in Belfast about fifteen minutes after the 8am Dublin train departs.
Peter McCarron (by email)