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New action group on track to demand improved rail service for Newry

December 5, 2016

A newly formed action group has vowed to put pressure on rail officials to deliver an improved rail service in Newry .  The Newry On Track Facebook page was created last week in response to deepening concerns about the current train service from Newry to Belfast and Dublin.  The issue has been hotly debated over the last number of months with local political representatives united in their criticism of the Department for Infrastructure’s perceived failure to prioritise investment in the Belfast-Dublin railway line and the slashing of services to and from Newry.  Earlier this month, SDLP Assembly Member, Justin McNulty accused the Minister for Infrastructure of “forgetting” about the rail service in Newry and called for major investment to increase services and commuter demand.

Introducing themselves on social media last week, the Newry on Track group described themselves as “a few people who have had enough of the terrible train service operating to and from Newry station.”  The group say their first step is to get “like-minded people” to join them on Facebook and work together to fight for “specific and realistic proposals for improvement.”

Their cause has been welcomed by Newry woman Gemma McCann, who has been vociferous in her criticism about the local rail service, launching a petition in May of this year calling on Translink to provide a “better, more fair” rail service for the city.

Gemma, 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. She believes the disparity in service is down to discrimination by Translink against the predominantly Catholic population of Newry.

Responding to the launch of the Newry on Track Facebook page, the avid campaigner said it was great to see that so many people were passionate about securing a better rail service and encouraged all to sign her ongoing petition.  Gemma also questioned why Translink are not being held to account for what she described as the “discrepancy in service to our city” and revealed that dialogue is currently on-going between regular commuters and Translink/Irish rail to try to secure a fair deal for Newry.

The Newry on Track group have endorsed Gemma’s petition and are urging anyone who feels the same way about demanding a “proper, modern rail service” in Newry to sign the petition and to contact them via Facebook or at newryontrack@gmail.com.

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