NORTH A “LAUGHING STOCK” AFTER CYCLIST BEATS TRAIN IN DERRY-BELFAST RACE

The Derry-Belfast train came second behind to cyclist John Madden.

The Derry-Belfast train came second behind to cyclist John Madden.

The North has become a “laughing stock” after a cyclist beat a train in a “race” between Derry and Belfast, a Derry MLA has claimed.

The feat by John Madden is all the more remarkable given the fact he was unable to use the motorway.

As a result, Sinn Fein East Derry MLA Cathal Ó hOisín has has called for the rail link to be upgraded “before the North becomes a laughing stock across Europe.”

 Sinn Fein East Derry MLA Cathal Ó hOisín

Sinn Fein East Derry MLA Cathal Ó hOisín

Speaking after congratulating John, Mr Ó hOisín said the fact John was able to beat the train highlighted the need to upgrade the track as “soon as possible.”

Mr Ó hOisín said: “I would like to congratulate local man John Madden for breaking the record of travelling between Derry and Belfast by bike and also beating the train in the process.

“This is even more remarkable given John was unable to use the motorway or he would have been even faster.

“While John is a remarkably fit athlete the fact that a bike was able to beat the local train service in any circumstance makes us a laughing stock across Europe. It highlights the need to upgrade the track as soon as possible.

“If the minister is serious about promoting and expanding the rail network he needs to begin with the existing infrastructure and bring it up to a proper standard.”

Mr  Ó hOisín concluded: “I am now calling on Danny Kennedy to bring the second phase of the upgrade of the Derry-Belfast line forward so that passengers can travel along the line faster than on a bicycle.”

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