Derry-Belfast rail upgrade timescale

Question

To ask the Minister for Regional Development to detail the timescale and the financing of the upgrade of the Derry - Belfast railway line.

Answer

In my Statement to the Assembly on 3 November I confirmed that I remain fully committed to the completion of Phase 2 of the upgrade of Londonderry to Belfast Railway Line. As outlined in my Statement, the detailed design work now suggests that overall costs could be of the order of £40m, with the additional cost of Phase 2 being in the region of £15-£20 million. This estimate is subject to the completion of the procurement process for the signalling element of Phase 2. Final procurement is expected in the early part of next year. I will be making this a priority in the deployment of my capital budget over the next two years. My Department is working at present to secure approval to a revised Business Case. Assuming this happens soon the overall project timetable may be only marginally delayed. The signalling procurement process has already begun, with the issue of a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire, which does not commit Translink to expenditure. As set out last year in my communication on this issue a timetable of the end of 2016 is in place. This remains the case.