The Department for Regional Department provides Translink with an annual subsidy to meet the deficit it incurs in operating railway services in Northern Ireland. The Department expects to pay about £12 million to Translink in the current financial year. However, the subsidy is not route-specific. Therefore there is no information available as to the level of subsidy that is required to operate the Antrim-Knockmore section of the Londonderry-Belfast route.
In the light of the proposal to close the Antrim to Knockmore line, I accept that we must obtain the best estimate of how much subsidy would be required to continue to operate services on this line in addition to providing a service from Antrim to Belfast via Bleach Green. My Department has asked Translink to provide this information.