Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

Flip-flops (or Jandals even)

Posted in Babestation, Customer service, Infrastructure, Ireland, Politics by Chairman Pip on 12 October 2011

I told you that you can’t trust the word of a politician. First they say one thing, then they say another. Danny Kennedy, the minister in charge of the Department for Regional Development in the Northern Ireland Executive, having announced that the work on the Belfast-Derry line was unaffordable until at least 2014, has now done a complete volte-face and now announced that work will start next year – the line north of Coleraine will close for an initial nine months until April 2013 for the first stage of the work that will allow the existing eight trains per day service to operate with improved line speeds through Derry’s year as the first UK City of Culture. Once 2013 is over, the next stage will see a complete re-laying of the line, together with the installation of a new passing point, to allow an hourly service to operate. And this has been made possible by the DRD re-allocating part of its funding, from its roads budget to the railway – specifically money that was previously intended for the A5 road expansion, a project that Wolmar has been railing against for months. I did have to chuckle when he replied to my tweet this morning about it:

The justification is that the money is available and should be used,but puts in doubt A5, hopefully

He really thinks the A5 is a total waste of time, money and effort. Well, we can at least be grateful I suppose that Mr Kennedy has seen the merits of going ahead with the work on the railway now. Further, by spending £27m now, it means that there is less that needs to be spent all in one go on the rest of the work in 2014, which I believe also counts as a good thing.

Of course, while it is grand news about the Derry line, that doesn’t put pay to the rest of the work that is needed elsewhere in Northern Ireland, perhaps most importantly upgrade work on the Belfast-Dublin line between Knockmore and Lisburn, estimated at £40m, that is needed to improve the speed of Enterprise’s services to at least 90mph. It as determined that this work was unaffordable if the money was to be spent on the Derry line. But, if money can be allocated from the A5 project for one rail project, why not the other? Especially if, as Wolmar hopes, the A5 road project doesn’t go ahead. Doing this would then see improved and faster intercity rail connections to both of the major destinations from Belfast. And that is never a bad thing for the economy. Hell, I’m sure even Preeti and Priya will be pleased.


“Derry train on track: Stormont finds £27m to upgrade crucial route before Culture year”
“Kennedy’s plan: a fast train to Derry every 30 minutes”

Derry will get its rail upgrade as planned, and in time for its year as the UK City of Culture


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