Into The West was established in 2004 to campaign against a Stormont plan to close the Derry-Belfast rail line west of Coleraine (and potentially even west of Ballymena).
At that time the Derry-Belfast route carried 630,000 passengers a year but the track between Derry and Ballymena was in need of upgrading. Rather than investing the money to do that, Stormont’s instinct was instead to try to shut the last remaining piece of rail infrastructure in the West of Northern Ireland.
Into The West was therefore set up to oppose that decision, and succeeded in saving the line (although the last phase of the relay of the old track remains outstanding and an ongoing campaign issue).
The group also successfully campaigned for Derry’s 1980’s built railway station to be replaced – and for that replacement to be the former Victorian station at Duke Street refurbished and brought back to life.
Into the West have since expanded their campaign from just improvements to the single rail line from Derry~Londonderry to Belfast, to campaigning for the return of rail to counties Donegal, Fermanagh and Tyrone, to link up the towns such as Strabane, Omagh and Enniskillen that lost their rail lines in the 1950s and 1960s and restore rail as an option for journeys from Derry~Londonderry and Letterkenny to Dublin, Sligo and Galway.