In the Scottish Borders, relaying of track on the ‘Waverley Route’ from Edinburgh to Galashiels and Tweedbank, 45 years after it was torn up, was completed a few days before the 50th anniversary of the closure on 14 February 1965 of the rail route in Northern Ireland between Belfast (Portadown) and Derry/Londonderry via Omagh.
Similar in character, the ‘Derry Road’ was likewise regarded as a duplicate line between a pair of cities, but closure left sizeable towns and the entire west of the province without rail transport.
As ever in Ireland, religion and politics probably played their part in its demise, the population served being mainly of persuasions likely to be alien to the Stormont government of the day.
Attributes enhancing the business case for reopening the Waverley route — increased accessibility, social inclusion and regional equity — could be called up in support of reopening at least part of the Derry Road. Sadly, this is unlikely in the foreseeable future, but I am glad that I was able to travel over it during its last summer.
For the record, the trains were well-loaded!
Hon Secretary TravelWatch East Midlands, Leicestershire