The Larne Line Passenger Group (LLPG) has welcomed latest rail punctuality figures and is encouraging more commuters and others to give the train a go.
The lobby group believes reliability is pivotal in its Use It Or Lose It campaign aimed at protecting and enhancing train services between Larne and Belfast.
LLPG say the latest punctuality figures “signal an important turning point in the quality of the service”. The group revealed: “With 1,673 train journeys sampled, 67 per cent were 100 per cent on time, 29 per cent were within five minutes of the timetable, leaving only four per cent being over five minutes late.”
LLPG secretary, Elena Aceves-Cully, welcomed the performance and suggested that a major factor in “this very impressive result” is the introduction of the new 4000 Class trains.
“Passengers using these trains now truly feel like they are travelling in top class,” she said. “From the old, smelly and leaky trains, with frequent delays, we have moved to quiet, clean, warm and more than punctual trains which can often arrive on time at their destination.
“There is also, generous park-and-ride provision in Carrickfergus, Greenisland and Whiteabbey which has facilitated many more passengers to park at the stations, with Jordanstown the next stop to get its own park-and-ride.
‘With the ever increasing fuel cost, parking charges, the current road works on the M5/M2 and the impending widening works on the A2 and A8, there has never been a better time to try the train,” said Mrs Aceves-Cully. “Commuters should avail of the good value for money weekly, monthly and annual tickets, as well as the i-link and m-link cards in order to maximise their savings.”
The Larne Line Passenger Group was set up six years ago by train users who wanted to see improved services for all passengers on the Larne Line. It is campaigning for more express trains and earlier this year presented the network operator Translink with a petition containing 1,067 signatures in support.
Chairperson, Alan McGookin, explained: “At the core of our Use It or Lose It campaign is our aim to promote the use of the Larne Line so it is not only retained as a valuable part of the NI Railways network, but the service is improved by, for example, introducing new services and ensuring that users can use this service to connect with other parts of the rail and public transport network, including buses and ferries.
“We are currently working with our local political representatives and Translink’s management to make this a reality.”