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£17m funding for rail line upgrades

Published 01/07/2015

The Londonderry to Coleraine train passing Downhill in Co Londonderry
The Londonderry to Coleraine train passing Downhill in Co Londonderry

Two railway lines in Northern Ireland have been earmarked for multimillion-pound upgrades.

Almost £17 million (25 million euro) of European funding has been allocated to improve tracks between Coleraine and Londonderry as well as Knockmore and Lurgan in Co Armagh.

Transport Minister Danny Kennedy said it was a welcome boost for his cash-strapped department.

He said: "This is great news and a further significant investment in our railways."

The line between Coleraine and Londonderry was hailed by Michael Palin as one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world but work to bring it up to modern-day standards has been dogged by delay.

Mr Kennedy said: "Competition for the funding was unprecedented, with 700 applications submitted, totalling 36 billion euro of requested funding, three times more than that which was available.

"Given the level of over-subscription, my department has been extremely successful. This highlights the importance of active eng agement in Europe."

Funding for the two schemes has been made available through the Connecting Europe Facility and follows a meeting between Mr Kennedy and the EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc in Riga, Latvia, earlier this year.

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