A new rail timetable published by Translink to include the new Newry rail services has led Newry and Armagh MLA Justin McNulty to point out to NI Railways that the world doesn't end at Portadown!

A Bridge too Far? Translinks new timetable still refers to the Bangor to Portadown line
A Bridge too Far? Translinks new timetable still refers to the Bangor to Portadown line

The MLA has called on Translink to re-brand all their publicity material to indicate Newry is the last stop for its local services.  Mr McNulty has raised the issue with the Chief Executive and with the local management team.

Mr McNulty said, ‘Rail services to and from Newry have always played second fiddle to Portadown and despite additional services just being introduced, all publications and timetables are branded Bangor to Portadown. You’d swear the world finished at Portadown. You really couldn’t make this up and its time for a fundamental shake up of Rail Services here.’

‘Over recent years commuters have seen rail services withdrawn from Newry and after a sustained campaign by the local community former Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazard gave way to the pressure and reinstated some of those previously withdrawn services.  This is a good start, but we are in no way finished.’

‘However even now as these services have been introduced, the publicity from Translink refers to the Bangor to Portadown line, and a subline refers to Newry.  I am not being pedantic but this is just unacceptable. The Belfast to Derry line is referred to as just that, Belfast to Derry. Could you imagine the up-roar if it was referred to as the Belfast to Coleraine line?’

‘I have had numerous meetings over recent months with the Management from Translink, at both a local and central level and those meetings have been productive.  We pressed and secured additional publicity in local and regional papers as well as on local radio for the additional services, but they just won’t budge on referring to the line as the Bangor to Portadown line.’

‘We all know that the rail services don’t end in Portadown, we have some services that go onto Scarva, Poyntzpass and Newry even some go to Dundalk, Drogheda and Dublin.  This is an issue which must be addressed and the timetables should reflect where the services actually operate to and from.’

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