DRD doesn’t own rail station hence caution

The former Waterside Railway Station. 2001JM65
The former Waterside Railway Station. 2001JM65

Ulster Unionist party representative Julia Kee says the fact the Department of Regional Development doesn’t own the old Waterside railway station explains the Rail Minister Danny Kennedy’s and his officials’ cautious language in tender documents geared towards developing a new transport hub in the city.

But the Minister has hinted that Translink is currently involved in negotiations with regards to land purchase for the new station although he remains tightlipped on whether this involves acquiring the old station.

Ms Kee said the local party organisation is fully in favour of lobby group Into the West’s preferred outcome, which is the refurbishment of the historic old railway station at the Duke Street, Bond’s Hill, Simpson’s Brae junction.

But she says efforts are currently geared towards the upgrade of the line.

“The priority at present is the upgrade of the line. No line no railway station,” she said. “It’s great Into the West continue to lobby for this great development and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) in Foyle offers its full support, already having had members present to the minister.”

She added: “If that opportunity is wished again we will not hesitate to open these lines of communication and support this dialogue.”

Meanwhile, Rail Minsiter Danny Kennedy said: “My immediate priority is to ensure that the Phase 2 Signalling works between Coleraine and Londonderry is progressed.

“When complete towards the end of 2016 this creates an opportunity to transform rail services to and from Londonderry. I have committed to doing everything in my power to take forward the longer term project to build a new Rail and Transport hub in Londonderry. At this point work is focused on a fully comprehensive feasibility study which would look at all options including locations of a new railway station .

“I understand Translink is involved in negotiations with regards to land purchase for the new station and obviously I cannot comment further until those negotiations are concluded.”