‘Link station’ addedto city rail wish list

A NEW ‘Waterside link’ station has been added to the list of possible options for Londonderry rail users but Translink admits it doesn’t have the money to build it.

Last June the Sentinel reported how the people of Londonderry would eventually be asked if they wanted a new railway station near the Peace Bridge of if they would prefer the refurbishment of the current or former Waterside stations.

Now Translink has added another option to the list - a new ‘Waterside Link’ Station.

From Thursday (February 28) until May 24 people will be invited to say which option they prefer.

However, it may well lead to little as there is no budget available for a new station.

Translink Infrastructure Executive, Clive Bradberry, said: “There has been considerable investment in the railway line in the North West over recent years securing the long term future and sustainability of the Londonderry~Derry line.

“Further infrastructure work is planned for 2014 which will see the implementation of a passing loop between Derry~Londonderry and Coleraine due for completion in 2015.

“This will allow us to extend our hourly train services from Belfast to Derry~Londonderry and meet expected growing passenger demand - 1.5 million journeys were made along this line in 2011/12.

“In addition to significant track improvement and safety works, we also want to provide attractive passenger facilities and have identified a series of options for a potential new train station.”

But Mr Bradberry acknowledged the station will only be built if Rail Minister Danny Kennedy or his successors fork out for it. Mr Kennedy has already said he hasn’t got the money.

Mr Bradberry continued: “If the funding becomes available we will endeavour to undertake further feasibility and scoping work to determine the full level of investment needed for such a project and the potential social, economic and environmental impact.

“We are committed to developing rail services in the North West and believe there is huge potential for Translink to contribute to the economic and social development of the area.

“We hope as many people as possible will take this opportunity to have their say on local train passenger facilities and we are looking forward to their feedback.”

Public consultation events will be held in Foyleside Shopping Centre from February 28 until March 2; and in Lisnagelvin Sports Complex from March 7 until March 9.

The consultation follows the completion of a joint Londonderry Railway Station Feasibility Study carried out by Translink and ILEX.

Last year the Rail Minister said: “The study is being undertaken at this stage so that suitable steps can be taken to protect any identified preferred site taking account of the views of local stakeholders.

“It should be emphasised that there is no funding within the current capital programme for a station to be built or refurbished.”