09/09/2014

NI Rail Journeys Increase By 2.5 Million

Rail passenger journeys across Northern Ireland have increased by approximately 2.5m over the period 2011/12 to 2013/14.

The figures have been released by the Department for Regional Development, which also noted that passenger numbers on the Coleraine to Belfast line increased by a third over the period, amounting to an increase of over 400,000 passenger journeys in three years. The increase saw numbers rise from over 1.2m in 2011/12 to more than 1.6m in 2013/14.

Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy said: "The introduction of a new rail timetable targeted at the Coleraine to Belfast service, introduction of new trains and continued investment in infrastructure has clearly helped to generate this growth. It is important that we continue to invest in our rail infrastructure and ensure rail fares are competitive.

"In recent years there has been a significant growth in numbers choosing to use the railway as a mode of transport across Northern Ireland. I believe rail travel offers a safe, comfortable and efficient option, particularly for commuters and inter-city passengers."

The Department has recently published its 'Railway Investment Prioritisation Strategy', aimed at improving investment in railways capital grant over the next 20 years.

"My first priority is track maintenance and the improvement of passenger capacity on the existing network," Minister Kennedy said. "The strategy includes a number of projects on the Northern line between Coleraine and Belfast for track works, station improvements and Park and Ride facilities.

"As passenger demand increases, Translink plans to purchase up to 60 additional carriages which will allow the introduction of longer trains or additional services to extend passenger capacities, including on the Northern line."

(IT/JP)

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