A CALL for the NSW government to sell or end the regional XPT service was described as a backwards move by the NSW Transport Authorities Retired Employees’ Association Orange branch president.
Infrastructure NSW made the suggestions in the “First Things First” paper released last week. The report said the XPT fleet would end its economic life over the next 10 years and questioned whether dwindling usage validated an upgrade.
“Alternatives could include greater use of coach services or service sharing on some routes with Great Southern Railway,” the report said.
“These options may be more economically viable and could provide faster journey times.”
Retired employees Orange branch president Tom Hetherington said he would be saddened if the XPT service was made redundant.
“One train is sufficient, I would be very sad to see it go,” he said.
Mr Hetherington dismissed claims a coach service would be a better alternative. He said the XPT provided a unique service that no bus could replace.
“On the train you can get up and walk around,” he said.
“That’s important when you’re going on long journeys.
“You also get a meal for long journeys when you don’t on a coach.”
Mr Hetherington doesn’t discount the viability of a coach service. He believes there is room for both to operate.
“A coach service is alright to a point but it’s not as good for long distance travel,” he said.
Mr Hetherington said it was up to local members to lobby the government over the proposed changes.