Based on figures gathered by Translink from May to November 2001, indications are that the patronage of rail services on the Antrim to Knockmore line is very low at less than 80 passenger journeys per day; that is 40 return journeys. At its reduced level of service Translink currently operates 30 weekday and seven weekend services on this line. I hope to issue the equality impact assessment on the proposed discontinuance of the line next week.
I understand that the track maintenance for the line costs about £215,000 per annum, and the funding required is much more acute. If we have to maintain a service on the Antrim to Knockmore line beyond the life of the existing track bed, which I understand will probably be about three years in present circumstances, we will be talking about £13 million to replace that. We share train services between Antrim/ Knockmore and the Antrim Bleach Green line. Full service on both lines would require another two trains involving a capital requirement of £19 million. In the 2000 spending review the Department for Regional Development sought funding to maintain the Antrim/ Knockmore line; however, it was not granted, and the Assembly voted for a Budget that did not include the continuance of that line.