East Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assemblyman Roy Beggs MLA, a member of the Infrastructure Committee has received details from Minister Mallon on how the new NI Railways fleet will be deployed on peak services across the network.
Mr Roy Beggs, UUP Infrastructure Spokesperson asked the Minster:
(i) “what assessment has been made to determine which railway lines and routes are best suited to benefit from the utliisation of the new rail carriages which will enable seven existing Class 4000 three car trains to extend into six car sets; and (ii) how they will be allocated.”
Responding to the UUP MLA, Minister Nichola Mallon advised:
“Last month I was delighted to launch the first of seven new extended train sets into passenger service providing passengers on some of our busiest routes with more capacity, space and comfort on their journeys. I hope that this investment of over £66m will encourage more people to choose greener, more sustainable journeys by rail. The selection of routes for these higher capacity vehicles is based on the following criteria: Levels of patronage, Frequency of alternatives, Infrastructure capacity (e.g. platform lengths), Staff competency, Potential growth on line, Cost of operation & Future planning.
Given this assessment, NI Railways will seek to deploy the new fleet on peak services across its network, which include express services on the Portadown, L’Derry and Larne corridors. Additional capacity will also be deployed based on passenger demand which is monitored on a daily basis.”
Roy Beggs MLA added “It is welcome news that the new rail carriages will be allocated where they are needed most, and at peak times. The Portadown, Londonderry and Larne Lines will benefit and I hope that rail passengers will see a real improvement and difference in their journeys. As an East Antrim MLA, it is particularly welcoming to see the Larne Line listed to receive the additional capacity. As part of the Ministers own scoring matrix, the Larne Line must now be recognised for the potential growth of the route and I would hope that the previous decision to reduce services between Whitehead and Larne on weekends can be revisited. Frequently rail travellers who use stations on the Larne Line, north of Whitehead, find that there may only be a train service every 2 hours. This is not acceptable. The frequency of trains must be improved if the full potential of the Larne Line is to be realised.”
Note to editor : for further information see AQW 23458/17-22