The Engineering and Consultancy company ARUP, have been provided with the contract to take forward the cross-border, All Island Strategic Rail Review.
The analysis will look at all aspects of rail on the island of Ireland, including whether it would be viable to restore some services in Donegal. The review is also looking at a high speed rail link spanning from Derry to Cork, which would be hugely beneficial in providing access to the Northwest region.
“A high-speed rail link spanning from Derry to Cork will be transformative for people across the island. It would allow people to travel across our island faster and without the need for car or bus journeys", commented SDLP MLA Mark Durkan.
Launched back in April, by Northern Ireland Infrastructure Minister Nicola Mallon and the Republic's Transport Minister Eamon Ryan the All Island Strategic Rail Review will consider how the rail network on the island of Ireland can improve sustainable connectivity, support balanced regional development, and enhance regional accessibility, including to the North West.
Minister Nicola Mallon says the appointment of ARUP to carry out the review is a very important step, "the New Decade, New Approach agreement included promises to look at a high speed rail link between Belfast, Dublin and Cork, with Derry and Limerick both included" she added.
The review will examine how existing connections could be improved, and where new rail links would be best placed.
Back in December, Minister Eamon Ryan also met with the campaign group ‘Into The West’ to discuss improved rail provision for the North-West.
Among the topics discussed was the potential for new rail services from Derry to Letterkenny and on to Sligo, as well as a new direct rail line from the North-West to Dublin with Minister Ryan concluding that these possibilities would be examined within the Strategic Review.
It's 56 years since rail services have been available within the county. The strategic rail review is welcomed and the prospect of trains running within Tír Chonaill again is an exciting proposition.