RAIL campaigners ‘Into The West’ have released a video to highlight the anniversary of the ‘St Valentine’s Shutdown’ of the Derry-Portadown railway line on February 14, 1965.
That closure stripped Tyrone and Donegal of their last bit of rail and erased both county’s link with Belfast and Dublin.
Into The West are campaigning to have the route reopened as part of their North West Rail Corridor proposal – which is a restored spine of rail from Letterkenny through Derry, Strabane, Omagh and Dungannon to Portadown, from where trains would travel directly on south to Dublin or north to Belfast.
Once reopened, the corridor will return rail to Tyrone and Donegal for the first time in 60 years and help to close the huge gap in the island’s rail network.
In addition, it will also provide the foundation stone for three further rail reopenings in the future – including extending rail from Omagh down to Enniskillen and Sligo; and creating a Mid-Ulster loop from Dungannon to Cookstown, Magherafelt, Randalstown and Antrim.
Chair of Into The West, Steve Bradley, said, “February 14 is usually about love, but on Valentine’s Day 1965 the North-west of Ireland was subjected to a brutal divorce.
“A key railway route right through Co Tyrone was shut down unnecessarily – stripping rail from communities where it had existed for generations, and leaving the north-west of the island isolated from the rail network.
“Our new video reminds people of that St Valentine’s Day Shutdown, and that such a poor decision for this region can and should be reversed today.
“We would encourage readers to help spread that message by sharing the video, and ask anyone who wants to see the North West Rail Corridor restored to sign the petition on our website.”
The video can be watched on wearetyrone.com
The petition calling for the restoration of the North West Rail Corridor can be read and signed online at the website www.change.org/NorthWestRailCorridor
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