Full steam ahead for Larne railway line petition

The new Larne Line Passenger Group committee pictured with Translink railway services manager, Hilton Parr at the recent AGM.  INLT 46-660-CON

The new Larne Line Passenger Group committee pictured with Translink railway services manager, Hilton Parr at the recent AGM. INLT 46-660-CON

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A petition to reinstate the former Larne rail timetable is continuing to gather steam, with over 2,400 signatures in support of the campaign.

Larne Line Passenger Group held its AGM last week, when it presented the petition to Translink management.

Chairwoman of the group, Elena Aceves-Cully said the petition was an “indication of the strength of feeling in East Antrim as to the impact on recent changes to the Larne Line timetable”.

She added: “We had a very successful AGM, as the two railway services managers, Hilton Parr and Frank Moore, were in attendance and received our petition with interest.

“Many Larne Line passengers have told us they feel the current timetable, which has significant service cut, is not working for them. We have put our case to make Translink and DRD understand that the Larne line needs services which work for commuters, school pupils, students, leisure seekers and the general public, and that the current timetable is putting people off from using the train, at the time of lower petrol prices and recently opened A2 and A8 dual carriage ways.”

Last Monday, East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson presented the group’s petition to the Assembly and discussed the matter with Transport Minister, Michelle McIlveen.

Mrs Aceves-Cully added: “Other political representatives, including MLA Roy Beggs and Councillor Mark McKinty, have expressed their continued support for the group and pressed for some or all the withdrawn services on the timetable to be reinstated.

“LLPG is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this month, coinciding with the year when the Larne line was closed for relaying. We have only had four years of new CAF trains, whereas the other lines have had 10 years. This line has not had a chance to fully recover from years of neglect, with poor timetables and old trains.”

Cllr McKinty said: “During the brief meeting with the minister and the representatives from Translink, I took the opportunity to impress on them the importance of recognising the personal situation behind each of the signatures on the petition.

“I urged them to pay close attention to the comments, which demonstrate a public which is eager and willing to make use of public transport, but unfortunately the new timetable has made this difficult at times.”

For information on LLPG, email secretary@llpg.org.uk or join its Facebook page.