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Petition launched to secure ‘fairer’ rail service in Newry

May 16, 2016

A Newry woman who has been outspoken in her criticism of the current train service from Newry to Belfast and Dublin, has launched a petition calling on Translink to provide a “better, more fair” rail service for the city.

Gemma McCann, who regularly commutes by train from Newry to Belfast, has accused Translink of discriminating against the people of Newry by offering what she describes as a “substandard service”, providing just 10 trains from Newry to Belfast per day as opposed to 46 per day running from Portadown to Belfast and 49 per day running from Lisburn/Bangor to Belfast.

Gemma believes the disparity in service is down to discrimination by Translink against the predominantly Catholic population of Newry. Highlighting that the last train home from Belfast to Newry is at 8.05pm – over 3 hours earlier than to any of the other stations, Gemma questions why citizens of Newry are expected to travel home so early after an evening out in Belfast or a concert in the SSE Arena.

“Why are the people of Newry being discriminated against in this way? Why are Translink allowed to be treating the people and city of Newry as second class?,” asks the irate commuter who is calling for the issue of late trains to be resolved with the last train home also coming to Newry and not ending in Portadown.

Gemma, who has pledged to present the petition to Translink, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy and Newry SDLP, is demanding that commuter services are enhanced to Belfast from Newry and that all services are direct without changing in Portadown.

She has also called for the frequency of trains throughout the day to be enhanced without any the current two hour gaps in services and for more local NI railways services to be provided during the day to and from Belfast to serve Newry.

The angry train user urges Translink to provide extra services during busy events and to work with Irish Rail to enhance the frequency of trains to Dublin as well as provide Dublin passengers with a proper commuter train home at 6pm.

With signatures on the petition currently standing at over 300, Gemma is appealing to everyone to get behind it.

“The more signatures, the more chance of a fair deal from Translink,” she says.

“There is huge potential for Newry and for our local economy if we can provide a better rail service to our city.

“We would see much more people from Belfast, Dublin, Dundalk, Portadown and Lurgan visit our city centre and great shopping centres if it was easy for them to get here. However, currently it is so difficult for anyone to plan coming here as the times of trains are so restricted!”

To sign Gemma’s petition visit www.change.org/p/translink-call-for-a-fair-rail-service-to-newry-city

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