So while we brace ourselves for a few flakes of snow that will make moving about on the roads, rails and through the air a misery, we can also contemplate the arrival of new forms of public transport in Belfast.
The Department for Regional Development have commissioned a feasibility study into the introduction of a rapid transit system through parts of Belfast. The study will look at trams as well as the more expensive option of a light rail network.
The old railway line between Dundonald and the city centre, now partially converted to a footpath and cycle track, would link up with the routes running through St George Belfast City Airport, the Harbour Estate and the new Titanic Quarter.
In the DRD announcement, David Cairns, the Regional Development Minister, stated:
“While bus based rapid transit was previously assessed at the time of the Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan in 2004 as the most cost effective and operationally flexible, I am conscious that the situation has not remained static and that it is prudent that the studies examine other rapid transit options including light rail.”
“Such schemes are expensive and it is important that they are fully and properly studied before decisions are taken.”
The report will be published mid 2007.