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Bathurst back on track

Jul 5, 2012Update

Last month Premier O’Farrell made a surprise announcement that a daily return commuter rail service to Bathurst will start on October 21 this year. Running seven days a week, stops are planned at Lithgow, Mt Victoria and Katoomba.

The decision is a result of  a pre-election promise to improve train services to western NSW and is boosted by a $7 million upgrade of a diesel Endeavour train. It’s a much needed service as the train stopped running to Bathurst many years ago and there is only the current daily XPT train to Dubbo and coach links to Bathurst.

The service is expected to cost $1 million a year to run and will have a capacity of 200 seats. The train will depart Bathurst at 5.40am and arrive at Central 9.25am. It will then return to Bathurst, departing Sydney at 5.55pm and arriving at Bathurst 9.30pm.

John Hollis, the head of the Rail Action Bathurst group, who has been lobbying for this service for years, said the service will make Bathurst more accessible, making the city a more appealing location for people to do business.

“Who knows what the roll-on effect of this decision will be; it could be the catalyst to start improving rail infrastructure across the whole of NSW. There is also the opportunity for increased freight movements from Sydney and it lends hope the government will now look favourably at the Bells Line Expressway project,” he said.

The union welcomes the introduction of new train service as it will generate additional train working into the Lithgow and Mt Victoria depots. At this stage consultation is still ongoing regarding the finer points of this proposed working and a further meeting will be held with RailCorp on July 12.