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Portadown Railway Station

Regional Development – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 am on 13th October 2008.

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Photo of David Simpson David Simpson Shadow Spokesperson (Education), Shadow Spokesperson (International Development), Shadow Spokesperson (Transport) 3:15 am, 13th October 2008

7. asked the Minister for Regional Development for an update on the progress made in relation to the renovations at Portadown Railway Station.      (AQO 666/09)

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

Translink is currently involved in the preliminary stages of a project to refurbish Portadown station, and it expects the feasibility study to be completed by the end of 2008. After that, several further stages must be completed, including the production of an economic appraisal to establish value for money and the obtaining of planning permission. My Department will consider granting approval for that project when all those procedures have been successfully completed, and if the necessary funding can be secured.

Photo of David Simpson David Simpson Shadow Spokesperson (Education), Shadow Spokesperson (International Development), Shadow Spokesperson (Transport)

The Minister will be aware that the people of Portadown have long awaited that project. Craigavon Borough Council was given assurances that it would start in 2009. Will the Minister use his influence to ensure that Translink meets that deadline?

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

As I said, a number of processes must be completed before the project can start. What I am about to say relates to the question that Basil McCrea asked: the Department’s intention is to give a commitment to try to improve trains, journey times and facilities at various railway stations, because it has been shown that, where facilities and public transport improve, the number of passengers increases. The Department’s intention is to increase the numbers of people using public transport. I will undertake to speak to Translink to ensure that no unnecessary delay takes place in pursuing the scheme. I am not au fait with the discussions between Translink and Craigavon Borough Council, so I do not know what assurances were sought or given. However, I will certainly make it my business to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays in delivering the project.

Photo of Mickey Brady Mickey Brady Sinn Féin

What plans are under way to construct other new railway stations?

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

The Member will be aware that Translink has been given approval to proceed with a new £14·6 million railway station at Newry. It is expected that that work will be completed in 2009. A scheme for a bus/rail station in Antrim is also to be developed over the next few years.