Train travel time between Orange and Sydney would be cut by more than an hour if the route was realigned, according to deputy premier John Barilaro.
Mr Barilaro said straightening the track would lead to a 25 per cent cut in travel times between Dubbo and Sydney via Orange.
He said improving rail services outside Sydney was a key area for spending some of the $4.2 billion the state government has available after it sold its share of the Snowy Hydro scheme to the federal government.
“We want to see fast rail and safer rail and that could be an upgrade of regional rail lines and new corridors,” he said in an ABC radio interview last week.
“You can knock 25 per cent off that trip [Dubbo-Sydney via Orange] by a number of realignments, investing in the rail network. The Central West is important.”
“Part of the big problem is the alignment of the rail lines, the tracks themselves, they need realignment, straightening, new technology.”
With the Orange-Sydney trip currently taking 4.75 hours a 25 per cent improvement would bring the trip closer to 3.5 hours.
While Mr Barilaro singled out the Sydney-Canberra rail line for upgrading he said the government would look at other areas.
“They are all important corridors,” he said.
Orange Rail Action Group spokesman Neil Jones said it was hoped the government spending was not focused on Canberra and coastal travel.
“That announcement by Barilaro is very encouraging. It is exactly what we have been saying,” he said.
However, Mr Jones said no costing of the western line realignment had been done.
Mr Jones said the potential funding would be discussed at a Regional Rail Action Group meeting in Goulburn this week which ORAG members would be attending.
He said the introduction of a morning train from Orange to Sydney remained the main priority for ORAG.
Member for Orange Phil Donato told parliament last week the route upgrade was vital.
“Significant investment is required to be made to straighten the tracks west of Bathurst to increase efficiency through high speed travel and reduction in travel time,” he said.
“It is essential for the government to invest in improved passenger rail services for the people of the Orange electorate.”
DO YOU WANT MORE ORANGE NEWS?
- Receive our free newsletters delivered to your inbox, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up below …