THE Millthorpe Village Committee is calling on the state government to reopen the train station and allow passengers on the CountryLink XPT to get on and off the train at the village in a bid to boost tourism.
Laurie Williams said the group had made a submission to the state government’s transport master plan asking for the platform at the station to be extended four metres to meet the rail line, which was moved for safety reasons.
He raised the issue at last Thursday’s central west transport forum, questioning Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian on how the government plans to reopen rail lines in growth areas.
“We’d like stop-on-request services reinstated at the platform ... not only for residents going out but also for tourists coming in,” he said.
“We’re looking at establishing a ticket office again in town at either the general store or the post office.
A stop-on-request service allows passengers to book ahead on the internet or over the phone if they want to get off or on the train at the station.
Ms Berejiklian said the government was aware that people wanted to move around the region on public transport, not just travel to Sydney.
“Part of the rationale of long-term plans is to look at areas of growth and demand,” she said.
Mr Williams says passengers can book ahead to get on or off the train at other smaller localities including Tarana, Rydal, Stuart Town and Geurie.
“The central west Dubbo XPT is a brilliant way for people to do a day trip,” he said.
“It would arrive at 11:30 in the morning and leave at 4:30 in the afternoon, which gives them enough time to see the village and have a meal at one of our eating establishments.”
He said the village had two outbound coach services from Sydney and one inbound service, which had inappropriate timetables.
“They have to be at central at 4am to catch the bus here,” he said.
A section of the railway station is currently leased to a winemaker but Mr Williams said the business owners were supportive of the venture and happy to share the area.
He said, unlike many areas, Millthorpe’s population was growing at an estimated rate of 1.5 per cent annually.
“We have a significantly expanding tourist industry,” he said.
“On Saturdays and Sundays the place is abuzz with tourists.”