ALLIANCE North Antrim Assembly candidate Jayne Dunlop said fears are growing that the non ‘core’ rail network in Northern Ireland will be ditched if the Department of Regional Development gets its own way – leaving everywhere north of Ballymena without a rail service.
Ms Dunlop said: : “It appears that there is a plan to close the railway line not only from Coleraine to Londonderry, but also from Coleraine to Ballymena. This is a major concern to those who use public transport, who will not see the benefit of new rolling stock if they cannot use it.
“Years of chronic under- investment may lead to Translink to seek excuses, as they did regarding the Antrim-Lisburn line, to abandon the ‘non-core’ network from Ballymena to Londonderry. This is short term thinking about the future of public transport.
“The railway is currently well used and its use is set to increase significantly when the new rolling stock comes on line. So why look at closing the line now? The viability of the line from Ballymena to Belfast would surely suffer if this draconian measure to close the Coleraine to Ballymena line was taken, meaning that it would face the chop next.
“What has alarmed me most about the proposed line closure, is that it could happen within the next few months. This closure must be stopped; the current temporary Minister must not be allowed to destroy the railway system in such a cavalier fashion. The sooner our local Assembly is up and running again to save our railway line, the better.”