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Uncertainty as to the future of our trains

May 23, 2005 12:00 AM

Alliance Candidate for Larne Town at the recent May Local Elections, Elena Aceves-Cully, has said that it is vital that the Larne railway line receives its fair share of new trains after the relaying work is completed in December 2005.

Elena Aceves-Cully stated:

"Us, passengers have for the last 2 months tried to get used to 3 trains in the morning going into Belfast and 3 return ones in the evening, plus a new timetable of substitution buses. Even running that reduce service level has not been an easy task for Translink. Passengers continue to suffer delays which range from a few minutes to over an hour, as it happened on 19 May. And what this is resulting in is more cars on our already congested roads, as some passengers have already "given up" using the train (irrespective of the up to 30% discount offered). This is not good for public transport and will inevitable lead to many passengers who have started using other forms of transport, never to return to the trains. At the end of the day, it does not look like the Larne Line (from Whitehead to Larne) will be relayed to the same standard as the rest and consequently, the new CAF trains will not come to this line, at least in the short term."

"East Antrim and in particular the Larne and Carrickfergus areas have suffered economically over the years for lacking, not only a decent road network but also an inefficient public transport network. While all other parts of the railway network in Northern Ireland have had their tracks relayed and are starting to enjoy the benefits of the new Spanish trains, the Larne Line is being punished for the inefficiency of Translink's management in not getting the track relayed on time for the new trains. One must remember that this was initially scheduled for the summer of 2003, and almost coincided with the resurfacing of the A2 from Whiteabbey to Carrickfergus. At that time I highlighted the negative effects of carrying out both works and soon Translink made public that the relaying would not take place."

"It makes no sense that the Larne line could ever be closed. On the contrary, it should be upgraded and recognised as a vital link within East Antrim and with Belfast city. We should all, politicians, public transport enthusiasts and the general public, support Translink in their efforts to purchase trains for our Larne line and put pressure to achieve the total relaying of the line up to Larne in the coming months. Only that will provide commuters and the general public a real incentive to use the trains and leave their cars at home."

"Us in Alliance Party will continue to work very hard to ensure that East Antrim is not left out in the road for modernisation of our public transport and roads infrastructure".

"It has come to my knowledge that the field directly adjacent to Ballycarry train station is up for sale. This would provide a perfect area for a Park and Ride facility and Translink should endeavour to purchase for this end. It is vital for the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan to make provision for this kind of facility and it is lamentable that there is no indication of extension of the Park and Ride at Whitehead, which has well over exceeded its capacity."

Ends

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