Travel times between Orange and Sydney will be cut by about 30 minutes with the introduction of a weekday express train between Lithgow and Central from November 27.
People travelling from Orange to Sydney Monday-Friday to stay overnight will be the big winners from the improved service.
The 11.20am bus from Orange will connect with the new express service from Lithgow that will arrive at Central at 3.48pm.
That’s 26 minutes quicker than the current service.
The Lithgow express will leave Central at 8.50am [32 minutes later than at present] and still connect at Lithgow with the 11.25am bus that arrives in Orange at 1.09pm.
The express will cut out most stations across the Blue Mountains and Sydney, stopping only at Mount Victoria, Katoomba, Springwood, Penrith, Westmead and Parramatta.
Waiting times between the services at Lithgow will also be shorter than at present.
A Transport NSW spokesman said the change was part of a major upgrade to train, bus and ferry timetables [mainly affecting Sydney services] from November 26.
“The existing Bathurst Bullet and the new Lithgow express service will now stop at Westmead, giving Central West and Blue Mountains customers important direct access, twice a day, to the Westmead Health Precinct for the first time,” he said.
Orange Rail Action Group [ORAG] spokesman Neil Jones said it was good news for Orange commuters but did not answer the group’s main concerns about achieving direct train services to Sydney.
“Any improvement in the service that reduces travel time is to be appreciated,” he said.
“It’s a step in the right direction.
“But it still doesn’t address the issue of providing a seamless service of boarding a train in Orange and arriving in Sydney.
“We are still very concerned that with the introduction of the new interurban trains [in the next few years] commuters will be faced with the service terminating at Lithgow and people having to change onto another train to Sydney,” Mr Jones said.