‘Time to reopen Knockmore rail line’

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Lagan Valley MLA Pat Catney has reiterated the call for the reopening of the Knockmore rail line between Lisburn and Antrim.

The SDLP man made the call following a meeting with the Chief Executive of Translink, Chris Conway, during which he raised questions regarding the status of the Knockmore line.

“The Knockmore line was mothballed in 2003, leaving residents in Glenavy and Crumlin without train services for the last 15 years,” Mr Catney said.

“Despite closing the line, the Department for Infrastructure has invested more than £1.5 million in maintaining the track for training and emergency diversions.”

He added: “The SDLP has long suggested that reopening the line could create a 3.5-hour journey between Dublin and Derry, with a direct link to Belfast International Airport.

“A direct rail link to airports is taken for granted in most major European cities yet, we have no direct link to any of our airports.

“The Knockmore rail line has the opportunity to unlock more of our tourism potential than many other capital projects. This should not be held back by budget cuts and technocrats.”