Larne rail line must remain: Neeson

ASSEMBLY member Sean Neeson has told Translink that he will fully support efforts to retain the railway line between Larne and Whitehead.

Councillor Neeson was speaking after an Alliance delegation met with senior officials from Translink on Thursday regarding the future of the so-called ‘non-core network’.

Cllr Neeson, who was an active supporter of the ‘Save Our Railways’ campaign, stated: “Before suspension, the Assembly took the decision that nothing should happen to the non-core sections of the line until after the new trains had been tried out.

“My greatest fear at the moment is that the civil servants who allowed under-investment on the railways for over 30 years are the same people who are now advising the Regional Development Minister, John Spellar.

“We were informed that the railway review group will bring out its initial report before the end of March and that no decision has been taken on any closures of railway track throughout Northern Ireland. At the moment Translink are appraising the use of the new trains, the first of which will arrive here next month.

“However, for heath and safety reasons the trains will need to be tested on Northern Ireland railway track, and it could be the autumn before they first come into service.

“The meeting was very constructive and I impressed upon the officials to get central government support for safety improvements, as happens in other parts of the UK.”

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