IT may be possible for a very fit person to ride a bike faster from Derry to Belfast than the train can travel (News, June 25), but, thankfully, that hasn't deterred an increasing number of committed passengers from using it.
With a one-third increase in passengers in the last year alone, this railway now carries more people than the highly-successful Belfast-Dublin Enterprise service. The previous minister for Regional Development, Conor Murphy, unfortunately agreed to a reduction of £20m in the railway budget, which held up the recent improvements to the Belfast-Derry line.
Thankfully, the current minister, Danny Kennedy, was successful in restoring the budget. I hope those who faithfully refused to abandon this wonderful railway, travelling through some of the most majestic scenery anywhere in the world, will continue to promote it in a very positive way, because that puts real pressure on the Assembly to provide continuous investment for upgrades.
On Wednesday the regional development committee, sitting in Limavady, discussed the recently-announced Railway Investment Prioritisation Strategy and I can assure the public the creation of a modern inter-city service between Derry and Dublin is a top priority. It is my wish that those who use the train and made the case for investment will continue to choose rail travel and keep alive for future generations a wonderful way to travel.
JOHN DALLAT (SDLP)
MLA for East Londonderry