£5 million station upgrade ‘promised’ by the Minister

Lurgan Railway Station. INLM45-108gc
Lurgan Railway Station. INLM45-108gc

A Lurgan MLA has announced the Transport Minister is ‘committed’ to a £5 million upgrade for Lurgan railway station.

The ‘MAIL’ understands that the Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy has spoken to fellow Ulster Unionist MLA Sam Gardiner confirming that Lurgan is a priority station.

According to Mr Gardiner he has been ‘promised’ a £5 million upgrade to Lurgan station by his UUP counterpart.

Mr Gardiner revealed details of a conversation which took place between himself and the Minister.

Upon learning the footfall was at Lurgan station was 901,000 in 2012/13 making it the seventh busiest station in NI, Mr Gardiner asked the Minister if he would ensure Lurgan doesn’t fall behind the likes of Londonderry when it comes to having a rail station upgrade.

In response the Minister told Mr Gardiner that, as part of the capital investment in the rail network, he was committed to improving both train journey times and train stations. He added Lurgan is one of the priority stations requiring refurbishment given its high usage and current condition.

The DRD confirmed the Minister’s position. A press officer quoted Minister Kennedy as saying: “For me, Lurgan is one of the priority stations requiring refurbishment given its high usage and current condition. I will ensure that Lurgan is not overlooked or ignored when it comes to future station upgrades.

“On the basis of the spend in Antrim and Portadown stations, I would assess the cost of upgrading Lurgan Station at between £4 million and £5 million and I’ve indicated the same to my party colleagues and Sam Gardiner.”

Mr Gardiner described the Minister’s response as a ‘promise’ and went on to say: “I am delighted at this news and this commitment to refurbish Lurgan Railway station.

“My intensive lobbying over several years led to the upgrading of Portadown Station. Now Lurgan is to get a long overdue make-over. I want to congratulate the Minister on delivering once more for the people of Upper Bann.

“With nearly a million passengers a year a £5 million upgrade will make a significant difference to the travelling public of Lurgan and surrounding areas. Once again an Ulster Unionist Minister has delivered for the people.”