Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon has outlined the importance of rail connectivity throughout the island and her commitment to achieving regional balance in investment.
The Minister was speaking following a meeting with representatives from Into the West to discuss the future of our rail network to the North-West.
Minister Mallon said: “I announced last week that I have committed part of my budget to get Phase 3 of the Derry – Coleraine rail line back on track. While an updated feasibility study is necessary after almost 10 years of delay, I am fully committed to getting this work done at pace and to making progress for the people of the North-West, who have waited too long for action to address regional imbalance and better connect communities.
“I had a constructive meeting today with representatives from Into the West and we have agreed to work in partnership, exploring how we can deliver for people in the region. It’s important that we get this right, that’s why I’ll be working with the group and the local council on the wider vision for the North-West. We need to look at the wider picture and ensure we use this opportunity to enhance the local economy.
“I’m pleased we will be setting out the new terms of reference of the study in partnership. I’m also keen to see what I can do quickly to enhance the service over the coming weeks. Rail really is part of our future on this island. As a Minister passionate about addressing the climate emergency, connecting communities and enhancing our island wide economy – I’ll be looking forward to working with my colleagues in the Irish Government to take forward an ambitious plan for the future.
“There’s a huge body of work to be done but also significant, economic, social and environmental opportunities that we now must all grasp. I am committed to progressing this project at pace working in partnership with the local community and Translink to develop the way forward and seize our chance for change.”
It is anticipated that the feasibility study will commence this year and will seek to build upon the works undertaken through Phase 1 and 2 of the Derry to Coleraine railway upgrade.