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Part-time rail proposals are on the wrong track

Last Saturday, the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, travelled across the River Foyle on a zipline in aid of Children in Crossfire. It was reported that he reached speeds of up 35mph. Good for him.

I could not help but think that, from 2012, passengers on trains between Derry and Coleraine will be lucky to reach an average speed of 35mph along this 'decoupled' branch line.

Perhaps rail-users who need to travel between Derry and Coleraine should campaign for a 34-mile-long zipline?

In order to cover the distance, it would probably require a start tower 1,000 metres tall. Of course, there would have to be two ziplines, one for each direction, which would double the cost. Naturally enough, it would be a bit on the cool and wet side during the winter months, but anyone hardened by travel on the old Class 450 trains (which may yet make a return to the Derry line in 2012) should be able to cope.

Okay, the whole idea is crazy. But only marginally crazier than allowing the rail line into Derry to become a part-time branch line, where rail-users have to board a bus for 50% of the services.

Perhaps those who control the purse-strings should just get on and allocate the £75m for the full relay and upgrade to the railway line.

MARTIN MELAUGH

Coleraine, Co Londonderry

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