But Rail Minister Conor Murphy said there was little scope for work to be brought forward due to the “potential restrictions” imposed by the award of City of Culture status to Londonderry in 2013.
Responding to written questions from East Londonderry candidates - the DUP’s George Robinson and the SDLP’s John Dallat - Mr Murphy said the planned commencement in 2014 reflected estimated capital availability over the period as well as the practicalities of trying to complete it before the start of the City of Culture year in January 2013.
“Translink are currently identifying interim measures to be undertaken to ensure the continued running and safety of the line up until 2014. Funding has been provided for this purpose,” he stated.
“The budget has been agreed by the Executive but it is for departmental Ministers to decide upon the break down of that budget, subject to normal approvals. An economic appraisal for this project has been approved. It would not be appropriate to comment any further. “
He said City of Culture meant it was virtually impossible to commence work before 2014.
“Translink advise that the opportunity for construction works to be brought forward is now extremely limited due to potential restrictions imposed by the award of City of Culture status to Derry in 2013,” he said.