Hazzard to explore Londonderry-Dublin rail link

The '˜feasibility' of a rail link between Londonderry and Dublin will be explored in a new study planned by Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard.

Londonderrys only current direct rail link is to Coleraine
Londonderrys only current direct rail link is to Coleraine
Londonderrys only current direct rail link is to Coleraine

Londonderry’s only rail link at present is the line to Coleraine, which continues from there to Belfast.

The minister, responding to a query from SDLP MLA Richie McPhillips about any “plans to establish a Derry to Dublin railway service”, said a feasibility study was planned.

He said: “Building the strategic connections between Derry, Belfast and Dublin will help unlock the economic potential of the North West. My Programme for Government Delivery Plan includes a feasibility study on the enhancement of the Enterprise service and a proposal to develop the Derry to Dublin rail service.”

The minister warned that providing a rail link from Northern Ireland’s second city directly to Dublin would prove expensive.

He said: “The ability to run a Derry to Dublin direct service requires the purchase of additional rolling stock commensurate with an inter-city service and then increasing the frequency of services between Derry to Belfast and Belfast to Dublin to an hourly frequency.

“This will require a significant increase in revenue subsidy both for NIR and Iarnród Éireann as well as new Enterprise trains.”

Plans for a Londonderry to Sligo railway were explored in 2013 and were even put out to public consultation.

Meanwhile, Translink has launched a public consultation to develop proposals for a new transport hub in the Waterside area of Londonderry; a major new facility which they say will ‘transform travel in the region’. Proposals include the restoration and refurbishment of the former listed railway station.