70 mph hourly service by 2015

THE completion of the last phase of the Londonderry to Coleraine railway upgrade will not be completed until 2021 whilst the money for the final Eglinton to Castlerock section has yet to be secured.

Rail Minister Danny Kennedy’s Private Secretary has written to Derry City Council, however, to advise that by 2015 there will be a 70 miles per hour hourly service between Londonderry and Coleraine.

Máire Cairns explained that it is hoped Phase 1 will be completed by April 2013 to accommodate Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013.

Parallel to Phase 1 other works are also being carried out.

These include Safety Improvement Works, Culvert and Bridge replacement works, refurbishment works at the Bann Bridge and Signal Improvements at Level Crossings.

Ms Cairns said Phase 2 - including a new passing loop and signalling upgrade - will be completed by 2015.

“The total estimated cost of Phase 1 associated works and Phase 2 is over £50m,” she wrote.

“This has been provided for in the budget plans communicated to Translink up to 2014/15, along with other Capital elements in the budget.”

She explained this would allow a 70 miles per hour hourly service from 2015.

However, she warned that the money for the final Phase of the upgrade had yet to be secured.

“The third phase will complete the full upgrade of the track between Eglinton and Castlerock,” she wrote.

“This will not be completed until 2021 and as such necessary budget cover has still be to be secured,” she stated.