Translink 'committed' to hourly train service from Londonderry to Belfast

Tunnel on Derry to Coleraine line
Image caption Translink chief executive David Strahan was appointed earlier this year

An hourly train service from Derry to Belfast is a "priority", Translink has said.

The bus and rail operator currently averages a connection between the two cities every two hours.

Chief Executive, David Strahan, met SDLP MLA, John Dallat, earlier this week following concerns about delays on the railway line.

Mr Dallat said he believes the company is now 'totally committed' to meeting the needs of the north west.

'New beginning'

In a statement Translink said: "We will work with the Minister and his officials to deliver this (hourly connection) and look forward to support from John."

The commitment from the company comes as figures show that Passengers using the route have increased by 630,000 since 2002.

Speaking to BBC Radio Foyle, John Dallat, who is the SDLP spokesperson for Transport, said he hoped it would mark a "new beginning" for the route.

"I believe we now have someone who is absolutely totally committed to the Derry to Belfast line, although he can't do it on his own.

"I do believe this will happen and I also believe there could be progress on a half hourly service."

Earlier this month, Translink officials were asked to appear before a Stormont committee inquiry into how a the County Londonderry transport project was handled.

The cost of the Coleraine to Derry line project has nearly doubled in cost from its original estimate of around £20 to £40m.

Mr Kennedy said there would be delays, but "could not confirm a timescale".

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