A NEW railway station at the Waterside end of Londonderry's proposed Peace Bridge will effectively bring the rail network into the heart of the city's main shopping district should it come to fruition.
Rail Minister Conor Murphy has stated that Translink is currently working with the Londonderry urban regeneration company on their plans for a foot and cycle bridge spanning the Foyle.
He explained that no funded plans are yet in place for a new Waterside rail way station but he would consider any proposals brought forward.
Mr Murphy said the re-lay of the Coleraine to Londonderry line will commence in April 2012 and will be completed in 2013 subject to normal approvals and procedures.
He added that his Department has approved a project to purchase 20 new trains for use on the railways network and this will see up to three additional trains deployed on the Londonderry line addressing overcrowding.
The additional trains, coupled with the upgrade of the track and a new passing loop, will allow increased frequencies of services on the line, stated Mr Murphy.
On the possibility of a brand new railway station at the site of Ilex's Peace Bridge Mr Murphy stated: "I am aware that Translink has been in consultation with Ilex on their plans to construct a foot and cycle bridge which could directly link the railway with Foyleside.
"At this time there are no funded plans available for the construction of a new railway station, however, I will consider any proposals brought forward in light of existing commitments, budget scenarios and long term plans being discussed with Translink.
"Currently Translink is working with Ilex to ensure that the bridge construction remains fully compatible with plans for a new station in the future if this is approved and proves financially feasible."
Despite the exciting prospect of a new station Mr Murphy stated that DRD would press ahead with an upgrade of the existing station at Duke Street to comply with Disability Discrimination legislation and Translink's New Rail Vision.
"Work has been completed to provide the existing station with tactile paving, improved lighting and signage, improved toilets and general painting. This was not a major work but cost some 300k."