Hopes that the Belfast to Dublin Enterprise train would be making regular stops in Lisburn may be dashed after Translink put the brakes on the release of their new timetable.
The new timetable, which included eight stops a day at Lisburn Train Station for the Enterprise, was due to come into force on January 31. However, Translink took the decision not to publish the new timetable amidst concerns that it was adding an extra eleven minutes to the journey time, bringing the total journey time to two hours and 26 minutes,
Passengers and local political representatives had expressed their delight that the Enterprise would be stopping in the city, with hopes that it would attract more people to Lisburn.
Despite the praise for the new timetable in Lisburn, others have been less welcoming, forcing Translink to take the decision to postpone publishing the timetable.
The rail company has said it will consider the feedback received on the issue before a final decision was taken on how the new timetable should look.
Lagan Valley MLA Paul Givan, who has been campaigning for many years for the Enterprise to stop in Lisbun, said the postponement of the timetable was disappointing and added that he would be raising the issue with the transport minister as a matter of urgency.
“It would be hugely disappointing that a question mark is being raised now about additional stops,” said Mr Givan.
“This is something I will take directly to the Minister to seek assistance. Ultimately it is a decision for Translink as a private company to take, however, it is something we have been campaigning on for years and now we have come so close.
“The campaign must now refocus its efforts to ensure we deliver a more frequent service for Lisburn.”
Lagan Valley MLA Edwin Poots said he was seeking an urgent meeting with the Chief Executvie of Translink to discuss the matter further.
“Translink, having raised the hopes and expectations of the people of Lisburn, have a duty to ensure they go through with the proposals and that is the message I will be re-enforcing when I meet with the Translink Chief Executive,” said Mr Poots.
Translink and Irish Rail (Iarnród Éireann) have said they are working together to review the feedback that has been received about the timetable that had been proposed.
A Translink spokesperson said: “Discussions between Translink and Irish Rail regarding the future Enterprise Timetable are ongoing.
“A new timetable will not come into effect until after the reintroduction of all the refurbished Enterprise trains and the conclusion of the discussions.
“Both companies are committed to delivering an attractive, high-quality train service for all Enterprise customers.”