The SDLP has welcomed confirmation that funding has been secured for phase three of the Derry railway line.
The project was previously shelved by the Department for Infrastructure, but was placed firmly back on track by previous Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon who delivered the Phase 3 Feasibility Study and ring-fenced funding for vital rail expansion for the North West region.
SDLP Infrastructure Spokesperson Mark H Durkan said:
“I am delighted that after years of delays funding has finally been secured for this vital project, the SDLP has remained steadfast in our commitment to deliver this for the North’s second city. This long-promised upgrade has faced a stop-start approach from the outset, phase three Derry to Coleraine became somewhat of a pipedream with the department casting doubt over its future. Thanks to previous Infrastructure Minister Mallon, this perpetually postponed railway development was put back on track.
“Derry has been kept isolated by subpar infrastructure and no deeper is the East-West divide felt than in relation to transport. This rail upgrade will go a long way in addressing the regional imbalance and better connecting communities throughout the region. This project will provide a lifeline towards a brighter future for this city.
“The delivery of phase three will not only make it easier for people from Derry to travel to other parts of the North, but will have huge benefits in our fight to tackle the climate crisis. By making it easier for people to choose to leave their own vehicles at home and use public transport, it will reduce congestion and the harmful emissions that many of our vehicles produce.
“This is welcome news, but is the first of many steps needed to deliver fit for purpose infrastructure for the North West. I intend to meet with Eamon Ryan, the South's Minister for Transport in the coming weeks on the All-Island Strategic Rail Review and the SDLP will be seeking funding commitments from the Irish Government in relation to this important initiative."
SDLP Economy Spokesperson Sinead McLaughlin commented:
“Improved public transport for Derry is an integral cog in attracting investors and businesses into the North West and allowing our city to reach its full potential. Improved transport links will also make it easier for people to travel to the city - for work, for tourism or to shop.
“Delivery of the phase three rail line will be utterly transformational for the local economy and will kickstart higher levels of investment for the region.
“Today’s announcement represents significant progress driven by the sustained lobbying efforts of SDLP representatives and our former Minister Nichola Mallon. We will continue to lobby for changes that will improve North-West connectivity for the benefit of all our people.”