Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



Reopening of railway line `a possibility'


Julie SpenceTHE campaign to reopen the Antrim/Knockmore Railway Line has been re-ignited after the Department for Regional Development acknowledged upgrading the route was a "possibility".

Lisburn City Council has long campaigned to have the line reopened and recently wrote to the then Minister for Regional Development, David Cairns, seeking further information about the line which was put in mothballs several years ago.

In response to the Council's enquiry, the Director of the DRD's Public Transport Performance Division, Mr David Carson, confirmed the Antrim-Lisburn railway line is 'still being maintained to a standard that enables trains to use it in emergency circumstances'.

"In principle the line being upgraded as part of a Belfast - Lisburn - Antrim - Belfast circular line still remains a possibility" he said.

However, Mr Carson stated that in order for the line to be reopened, the track would need to be upgraded.

"A recent desktop exercise undertaken by NIR identified that a complete track re-lay and a signalling upgrade would be needed before this stretch of line could be used on a regular basis.

"The cost of those works was estimated in the region of �35m."

Mr Carson also informed the Council that an Interdepartmental Steering Group has been set up to evaluate the railway network in Northern Ireland.

Alderman Cecil Calvert urged the council to "keep the pressure on to ensure this line isn't forgotten about."

He said: "This is a very important section of line. I think this is a very important step in the right direction."

Alderman Jim Dillon agreed it was an issue which the council must continue to push.

Ulster Star