The Londonderry Chamber of Commerce welcomes the opportunity to formally respond to the public consultation on the proposed Derry~LondonderryTrain Station. Our response is based on consultation with our Board and wider Membership. Chamber represents the views of the business community in the North West.
The Chamber appreciates that Translink has clearly presented 4 options for improvement and has sought the opinion of the general public including the view of the business community within the region.
There are a number of deficiencies within the current transport network within Northern Ireland. The primary deficiency remains the over reliance on the private car. This is a result in an under investment in public transport services including rail and coach services. There is also a distinct lack of regular and timely cross linked services, poor stations, outdated facilities and infrastructure that makes the public transport services less attractive to the busy business customer.
We appreciate that considerable investment by Translink and the Department of Regional Development has taken place over the last number of years in order to redress some of the above issues. However more needs to be done in order to create a fully integrated and accessible transport network that is comparable to most other European cities and regions.
The Regional Transport Strategy
The RTS seeks to improve and strengthen the role of Derry~Londonderry as the principal city and transport hub of the North West. The recent upgrade of the railway line and improved timetable, which accommodates the needs of the business customer, from Derry to Coleraine will assist towards achieving this aim. The creation of a passing loop scheduled for 2014 will deliver a viable rail transport network, offering an hourly schedule between the two main cities in Northern Ireland. These improvements coupled with improvements in the rolling stock and the development of an appropriate/improved station facilities in Northern Ireland’s second city will enhance the attractiveness of the offering and help deliver the objectives of the government’s Integrated Transport Strategy Plan.
The Board of the Londonderry Chamber have deliberated on all 4 options. There are a number of pros and cons for each option and our preferred choice is Option 3, which is to relocate to the original Waterside Station.
Our reasons are:
Finally the Chamber would like to thank you for seeking our views and we understand that whilst the project is at an early stage and is not currently funded within Translink’s 3 year capital plan, we would encourage you to progress as soon as possible to the next stage of development as this is an important infrastructure development for the city and region. The current “state of repair” of the existing station is dreadful, the standard of the facilities are poor at best, and it is important that any new build also takes into consideration staffing levels to support efficient and professional service delivery.
Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any further information.