Rail lobby upbeat about old station

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

Londonderry rail lobby group Into the West has welcomed assurances about the old Waterside station, it says, have been forthcoming from the new chief of Translink.

An ITW delegation met last week with Translink Chief Executive Chris Conway and Chief Operating Officer Philip O’Neill.

The ITW group was joined by Nikki McVeigh, Chief Executive, and Phillipa Martin, Outreach Officer, of the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society (UAHS).

ITW spokesman Eamonn McCann said: “We were delighted that the UAHS was on board with us. They add strength and substance to our efforts.

“The Translink representatives were clear in their commitment to the historic station being brought back into use. They also reported that Phase 2 of the upgrade of the Derry line is within time and on track.

“The new passing loop at Bellarena will allow for much better time-tabling. An hourly service with a shortened travel time will soon be achievable.

“Both ITW and the UAHS expect to be involved in the stakeholders’ group to come together in the new year to help see the project to completion.

“An application to the European Union for funds to buy and refurbish the listed building has already been accepted within the funding criteria.

“When trains enter the shed of the historic station, Phase 2 of our own campaign will be complete.

“There is obviously some way still to go, but we came away heartened and in an optimistic frame of mind.”