Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen has agreed to look again at train service cutbacks from Newry.
During her first Question Time in the Assembly since taking over as Minister, she was asked to review the situation by Newry and Armagh SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley.
Mr Bradley raised the issue after recent reductions to rail services to Newry by Translink.
“After the recent review of services by Translink they have reduced the non-enterprise services to and from Newry,” he explained.
“As a result, there are only 12 trains leaving Newry for Belfast each day, compared with 46 from Portadown to Belfast and 38 from Lurgan.
“There is a 30-minute service from Portadown to Belfast, yet the Newry service has intervals of up to one-and-a-half hours. This is imbalanced and unacceptable.”
Mr Bradley said many people from Newry and the wider South Armagh and South Down areas travel to Belfast and Dublin for work and they needed to be in either city in time for work in the mornings.
The MLA added: “At present that is hard to do given the current timetables. We need to see more frequent services between Belfast and Newry and indeed better timetabling to ensure there are the appropriate services to get people to work in time.
“I am pleased that the Minister has agreed to review the recent changes to timetabling, and whilst she did point to the pressures on budgets, she did agree to review the situation with a view to increasing services from Newry to Belfast.
“This is a welcome first step and I look forward to continuing engagement with the Minister and her officials in the months ahead.’’
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