Londonderry-to-Strabane railway line should be reinstated

SDLP councillor Steven Edwards has called for the Great Northern Railway line to be reinstated between Strabane and Londonderry.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 10:18 am
The Foyle Valley Railway Museum.

Speaking at last week’s council meeting he said it would be a first step in addressing the massive rail infrastructure neglect we are facing.

“I am delighted to have received the full support of council this evening calling on the old railway line between Strabane and Derry to be reinstated,” he said.

“Last week marked the 56th anniversary when the railways closed here.

“The railway was closed in 1965 after 118 years of operation.

“You could get to Dublin in under four hours and Belfast in under two hours back then in old inefficient trains. That would be severely improved upon today.

“It provided connectivity between our towns and villages both in the North and South in Donegal.

“One in three households in the council area do not have access to a personal mode of transport. A rail service would has a dramatic impact on these individuals in terms of connecting them to local villages, towns and the city.

“It’s time to undo the great inequality Strabane, Omagh, Enniskillen and Dungannon are facing - along with all the towns and villages in between. Instead of Boris funding a Burrow or tunnel across the Irish Sea, why not tackle this massive infrastructural neglect and have Westminster fund it.

“In terms of funding, there is a great example in Scotland with the Campaign for Borders rail which successfully lobbied to reinstate a railway between Edinburgh and Tweedbank all passing through towns smaller than Strabane, Omagh and Dungannon.

“That campaign was successful as it has buy in from the Scottish Government and Westminster, we need the same commitment here along with the Irish Government.

“The strategic transport priorities are being set from now to 2035. The SDLP would like to see the new A5 being accompanied by a new railway service that would massively improve our public transport here.

“Rail has huge benefits including being greener, in terms of accommodating older people, people with disabilities and young families.”