Action group happy with Bullet upgrade but committed to lobbying for Orange start

ORANGE Rail Action Group’s Phil Stevenson welcomed plans by a Bathurst lobby group to fast track the roll out of a new Bathurst Bullet.

Mr Steveson said the Bullet train service was popular with Orange travellers despite them having to make their way to Bathurst in the early hours of the morning in order to catch it.

“We’re want the upgrades but naturally we’d rather the bullet start in Orange,” he said.

The upgraded train will be at the top of the agenda when Rail Action Bathurst chairman John Hollis meets state Transport Minister Andrew Constance in October.

Mr Constance announced this week that entire fleet of regional Endeavour and XPLORER trains – including the Bullet – would be replaced as part of a major upgrade of the network.

Work on the new trains will be carried out at a new rail maintenance facility to be built in regional NSW, with Dubbo earmarked as the preferred location.

Mr Stevenson said upgrading trains was only one of the issues on the agenda of the newly-formed Regional Rail Action NSW.

The group, which includes members from Orange, Goulburn  and the Lachlan region, is also pushing for expanded services throughout the state, and the introduction of tilt trains to travel on existing train tracks at a faster speed.

Mr Constance said the modernisation of the regional fleet would significantly improve regional public transport.

The government plans to replace 60 XPT passenger cars (plus 19 diesel locomotives), 23 XPLORERs and 28 Endeavour passenger cars.

“Modernising the entire regional fleet allows the opportunity to incorporate benefits that were not available in 1982, when the first XPT rolled onto our tracks,” Mr Constance said.

“When the NSW Government promised to deliver new trains to replace the ageing XPT fleet, we also committed to looking at the feasibility of replacing Endeavour and XPLORER trains.

“The result of those considerations has been a decision to replace all three sets, in favour of more modern rolling stock.”

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said an Expression of Interest would be issued for the design, construction and maintenance of the trains and a new maintenance facility.

Private financing will facilitate the delivery of the trains and maintenance facility.