Restoration of railway link would improve local active travel, says Coade

Jackie Coade Newry and Amragh

Restoration of the Armagh to Portadown railway link and creation of a greenway alongside it would not only enhance opportunities for people but improve the active travel experienced in the local area, Alliance Newry and Armagh representative Jackie Coade has said.

Ms Coade, recently selected as Alliance’s representative for the constituency, said there was a growing local desire for the rail link, which was closed in 1965, to be reopened. She said it could fit into a return from the COVID pandemic and be part of chance for change for our society.

“Armagh is a beautiful city, which many people in Northern Ireland and further afield seek to visit. If we bring more tourists to it, it will help our economy, create employment opportunities for local people and further showcase our historical location,” she said.

“Therefore we need it to be as accessible as possible and the reinstating of the rail link between Armagh and Portadown would help give some of the modern, flexible infrastructure needed. The rail track between the two areas remains virtually untouched from when it was closed, which would make reinstating it a much easier job than starting from scratch.

“As we seek to rebuild from the pandemic, it is vital we do not return to the same approach we had before. Improving our infrastructure, both locally and across Northern Ireland, would be a major step towards doing that. This rail link, as well as bringing better connectivity to Newry and Belfast, would allow more independence for those reliant on public transport and have the environmental benefits of fewer cars being on the road. That would be further increased by the creation of a greenway alongside the track to offset emissions.

“My colleagues, including Councillor Peter Lavery and Andrew Muir MLA, have also been advocating on this issue, and with the Department for Infrastructure financing a feasibility study into the matter, along with support from Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, the local desire to have a reinstated rail link is one step closer.”