Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

I knew that would happen

Posted in Babestation, Infrastructure, Ireland, Politics by Chairman Pip on 17 August 2011

Proof, were it ever needed, that the word of a politician doesn’t count for much. After all the blarney about the complete relaying of the line between Derry and Coleraine, with any luck in time for Derry’s tenure as UK City of Culture in 2013, we now learn from Translink that they don’t have the £75m needed to undertake this work, and so it is being put back at least five years, with a consequent reduction in the service level (estimated to be approximately 1/3 of the current service level). So, some passengers wanting to get to Northern Ireland’s second city will have to go by bus from Coleraine. This has led to fears that the route will eventually be closed in its entirity, something that has been loitering in the background for some time, in spite of the protestations that the route is vital to the continuing economic development of the north-west. There are some conspiracy theorists that have said that, given the new Minister for Regional Development is a unionist while Derry is a staunchly nationalist area (and the previous minister was a republican), the change in policy over the Derry line is due to political prejudices more than anything else. This is doubtful. But wasn’t it likely, once it became clear that the Northern Ireland Executive was not going to get as much money from Westminster, that certain projects would fall by the wayside, including this one? Would it not have been better to bite the bullet on it much earlier and tell us, rather than drag it out?

Again though, I come back to the fact that it is (in public spending terms) a measly £75m. Indeed, it isn’t even that, as the DRD has secured £20m for the start of the work. So all that is needed is £55m to relay the track and put in a new passing point on what is considered to be one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world, and what should be seen as a huge tourist draw for Northern Ireland, with the associated economic benefits that come with it. So, is there anyone out there with £55m in spare change? The EU? The DfT? Private investment? Bill Gates? Preeti and Priya from Babestation? Would the Northern Ireland Executive really turn the money down if it meant the work that they’ve said they want to do but can’t afford to can get done?

(Oh, and you might wonder why the Babestation twins would be interested – as it happens they have family from around the north-west of Northern Ireland, as Preeti told us all on Twitter when she went there last month)

“Python’s Michael Palin falls for magical Northern Ireland rail journey”
“Cuts set to hit scenic rail route”

NSFW

A Class 3000 train on the route to Derry - due to lack of funding, what is considered one of the most scenic railway routes in the world could once again be under threat of closure

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  1. […] 260 hits (on a good day I usually get around 40). The vast majority of them were going straight to this article about the decision to delay the relaying of the Belfast-Derry line west of Coleraine (185 in […]


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