SOUTH Antrim Assembly member David Ford has said that the closure of the railway line between Antrim and Lisburn will be a disaster for public transport in Northern Ireland.
The Alliance Leader, who has campaigned for the retention of the service, said he had not given up the fight for the line yet. The matter was highlighted last night in a written reply to Scottish Liberal Democrat the Earl of Mar and Kellie, after it had been indicated that funding for the line was due to run out early this year.
Mr Ford said: “This is sadly typical of the poor planning that goes into public transport strategy in Northern Ireland, and I have little doubt that services were deliberately run down, sealing the line’s future, as fewer people were able to use it.
“This line could have played a significant role in a modern transport system for Northern Ireland, as part of the core ‘circle line’ running from Antrim to Whiteabbey, Belfast, Lisburn, the Airport and back to Antrim.
“The proposed closure will have a number of serious implications, not least for children, as school and college students will be forced to seek alternative travel arrangements to and from school. This clearly is not what parents would wish.
“I intend to do what I can to keep this line open, and I know there is cross-party support for this. It seems patently ridiculous that as soon as Northern Ireland prepares to welcome new trains onto our tracks, we start to close the lines.”