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Translink to provide Derry train connection for GAA fans after criticism of transport special

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Another option will be provided for Derry GAA fans

Another option will be provided for Derry GAA fans

Another option will be provided for Derry GAA fans

Translink will run a train between Londonderry and Belfast to connect with a special service to Dublin for GAA fans travelling for the All Ireland semi-final - after controversy was sparked when they initially said the service would only run from Belfast.

A spokesperson for the transport provider said they made the decision after seeing the demand for such a service before Derry face Galway on Saturday.

Rail campaigners had expressed incredulity after the decision to run a special train for Derry GAA fans on Saturday was announced — because it was only set to run from Belfast.

A Translink spokesperson said: “We are operating a number of transport options to the GAA all Ireland football semi-final in Dublin on Saturday.

“There are coach specials leaving Foyle Street in Derry~Londonderry, Dungiven and Maghera to Dublin.

“A rail special is also running from Belfast to Dublin (return) with connections off scheduled rail services to connect with this special and capacity on these is being enhanced to cater for the expected increase in demand.

“We have been monitoring the bookings for this rail special and can now confirm we will operate a train service to Derry~Londonderry to connect with the special from Dublin for the return journey," they said.

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It's ahead of what's set to be a busy holiday weekend with increased demand for cross-border services. "As such we are operating at maximum capacity of the timetable and infrastructure we have available," said the spokesperson.

“Many of these special services are now sold out and so anyone travelling this weekend cross-border should ensure they pre-book their ticket to travel”.

The announcement by Translink was welcomed by the current Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd and confirmed he contacted the company himself.

"This train service from Derry will complement the extra bus services that have been put on for the match. I hope that these public transport services will allow more people to be able to travel to Dublin,” he said.

"I was keen to ensure that as many Derry supporters as possible were able to travel to Croke Park on Saturday to support the team against Galway.

“Finally I would like to wish the team all the best for the match. I hope they can make it through to the final later this month.”

The Derry team will play in their first semi-final appearance in 18 years but the train service had only been set to run from Belfast’s Lanyon Place station, miles away from the county.

Speaking before the announcement of the fresh transport option was made, Chair of Into The West Steve Bradley said high fuel costs and parking issues in Dublin meant everything should be done to make public transport a viable option.


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