STOP PRESS: Welcome to Orange … the land of the almighty SUV

IS BIGGER BETTER?: "If you reckon every second vehicle in your rear vision mirror is one of those tail-gating SUVs, you’re right on the money" - Denis Gregory.

IS BIGGER BETTER?: "If you reckon every second vehicle in your rear vision mirror is one of those tail-gating SUVs, you’re right on the money" - Denis Gregory.

Pretty soon cars will become some sort of novelty because they’re well and truly on the way out.

If you reckon every second vehicle in your rear vision mirror is one of those tail-gating SUVs or tradies utes, you’re right on the money because there’s now more of these bull-barred things in Orange than cars.

Of 43,774 vehicles registered locally, 8,825 are SUVs or four-wheel-drives and 6,973 tradies-type utes, making a total of 15,798, which is 592 more than the 15,206 cars registered here.

Orange motor dealers are adding to these figures with bumper sales. Last year the dealers sold 3,004 new vehicles and of these 795 were SUVs or four-wheel drives and 672 light tradies’ utes, totalling 1,467, which was 415 more than the 1,052 new cars they sold.

Dubbo dealers sold 3,110 new vehicles in the 12 months (1,093 cars, 836 SUVs/four-wheel drives and 648 tradies utes) and Bathurst 2,450 vehicles (889 cars, 605 SUVs/four-wheel-drives and 537 tradies).

So cars are well and truly outnumbered everywhere. Pity help us.

TRACKING XPT UPGRADE

NSW TrainLink is having trouble keeping our 35-year-old XPTs going and after at least four previous government announcements they would be replaced, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro again says the government plans to fast-track a new regional rail fleet.

It can’t come soon enough because the XPTs have clocked up an average of more than 10 million kilometres, the equivalent of 13 times to the moon and back.

They were designed to travel 7.5 million kilometres before being retired so it’s easy to see why things are falling to bits.

And he says the government is aiming for up to 100 per cent local content in the assembly of the trains and their maintenance in regional NSW, creating job opportunities including apprenticeships.

Orange has put up its hand for the job. The empty Electrolux plant is sitting there with access to the railway line and just waiting to become a train maintenance centre.

PROPELLING A MEMORY

REGIONAL Express operating officer Neville Howell says one of its prop-jet aeroplanes losing a propeller the other day was a rare event and had only happened previously to US airline Comair in 1991.

But Orange’s Max Hazelton can claim something similar happened back in February, 1971 when two of his aircraft were returning from Noumea after one of their merino delivery flights.  

An Aztec flown by Peter Hazelton and Ian Radnedge and a Cessna by Bruce Hazelton and Daryl Jones collided after severe turbulence pushed them together and the propeller cut the fuel tank and a section of the wing to ribbons.

The Aztec’s propeller was wrecked but both aircraft were able to limp back to Noumea. A few days later Max Hazelton went to Noumea on an airliner taking a new propeller for the Aztec so he could fly it back to Cudal.

NBN … FIVE WEEKS LATER

THE Clinton Street resident who was without his NBN phone line for five weeks after a truck clipped and brought it down is back on the air at last.

An NBN crew that services the Central West came from Mudgee, where they’re based. The NBN mob should have a look at a map to see where the centre of the Central West is.

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