Rail campaigners ‘Into The West’ have released a video to highlight the anniversary of the ‘St Valentine’s Shutdown’, when Donegal lost the last of its railways on 14th February 1965.
That closure stripped both Tyrone and Donegal of rail and erased the north-west’s direct rail link with Dublin.
Up until that St Valentine’s Day Shutdown, the railway line between Derry and Portadown ran through the border region of north-east Donegal – with stops at Carrigans, St Johnston, Carrickmore, Porthall and Lifford – before crossing the border again into Tyrone.
It was the last bit of Donegal’s rail network to survive previous cuts up to the 1950s.
Into The West are campaigning to have a rail route between Letterkenny, Lifford and Derry reopened as part of their North West Rail Corridor proposal – which is a restored spine of rail from Letterkenny through Derry, Strabane/Lifford, 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 Donegal and Tyrone 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 – one of which is to extend the proposed Western Rail Corridor north from Sligo through Ballyshannon and Ballybofey to Letterkenny.
Chair of Into The West, Steve Bradley, commented, “February 14th is usually about love, but on Valentine’s Day 1965 the North-west of Ireland was subjected to a brutal break-up.
“A key railway route through the entire area was shut down unnecessarily – stripping the last bits of rail from counties Donegal and Tyrone, and leaving Derry City isolated on the rail network. Our latest 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. Let’s make 2023 the year that the decision is made to put Letterkenny, Donegal and the north-west of the island back on the rail map again”.
The videos can be watched on Into The West’s website (www.IntoTheWest.org) as well as on its new YouTube channel (@IntoTheWestRail) Into The West – YouTube .
Their petition calling for the restoration of the North West Rail Corridor can be read and signed here = https://www.change.org/NorthWestRailCorridor
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