Rail line closure during Jazz Fest

The JayDee Brass Band make their presence felt on the streets of Derry at last year's Jazz Festival.
The JayDee Brass Band make their presence felt on the streets of Derry at last year's Jazz Festival.

Concerns have been raised after it emerged that part of the Derry rail line is to shut down during the Saturday and Sunday of the Jazz Festival.

Translink last night confirmed that the Derry to Coleraine stretch of the line will be closed on Saturday May 2 and Sunday May 3, and also on the previous weekend, April 25 and 26.

The company said that the decision had been taken to allow for engineering works on this part of the line, adding that a bus substitution would be organised.

Jim McBride for Derry rail lobby group Into The West however said the decision was shocking given the popularity of the Jazz Festival.

Mr McBride said: “The Jazz Festival is one of the two biggest festivals taking place in Derry this year along with Halloween, but visitors who are coming to the city for it will not be able to arrive here by train.“

A Translink spokeswoman said: “A bus substitution will operate between Derry ~Londonderry and Coleraine on the weekends of April 25 and 26 and May 2 and 3, due to engineering works taking place on the railway line.

“We would apologise to our passengers for any inconvenience caused by these essential maintenance words, which have been planned for several months.”

The City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival will run over the May Bank Holiday weekend from April 30 to May 4.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to pack into Derry’s bars, clubs, cafes, restaurants, shops and other venues and public spaces over the five days of festivities.

Festival headliner this year will be Jamie Cullum, performing at the Millennium Forum on Monday May 4th.

The Playhouse and Bennigans Bar meanwhile will be jazz hub venues hosting musicians such as Charlie Wood and Dennis Rollins.

The title sponsor for this year’s event is again Diageo with Gay McIntyre, Camilla George, Tom Harrison, Dana Masters and Robert Mitchell among the acts performing.