BATHURST might soon have a second daily rail service, but the Orange Rail Action Group is continuing its push to have a direct Sydney service extended to Orange.
Member for Bathurst Paul Toole announced a second daily service would be up and running next year to complement the Bathurst Bullet service, which has run since 2012.
The second service will leave Bathurst around around 7.30am each weekday and leave Sydney for the return trip about 3pm, getting passengers back into Bathurst by 7pm.
Mr Toole confirmed there would also be a second weekend service to and from Sydney, but timetable details were still being finalised.
The Bullet will also be upgraded with carriages built in Dubbo.
The carriages will be rolled out across the state's rail network from early next decade.
Bathurst Business Chamber president Angus Edwards said the Bullet was popular with business people attending meetings in Sydney but the 9.30pm return was a problem.
"This second service will have the option of a 3pm departure out of Sydney so it will be perfect for people with morning meetings who can then be home by 7," he said.
On average, the Bullet is about 75 per cent full for the morning trip to Sydney and 50 per cent full for the return trip.
The Orange Rail Action Group was at Gnoo Blas on the weekend gathering signatures for its petition calling for an early morning express passenger train direct from Orange to Sydney’s Central Station and its return in the afternoon, new trains and upgrades to the rail line to enable the trains to travel at their full speed capabilities.
The petition has now passed 7000 signatures.
With another 3000 needed for the petition to be debated in State Parliament, group member Peter Bilenkij said the group would also be at the Emmaville Cottage Family Market Day this Sunday from 9am-2pm to garner more support.
"The response really has been strong and it's an indication of the need for better transport," he said.
Dr Bilenkij said with the contract for trains recently announced, progress was already being made.
"If the trains can travel up to 160km/h, that would be perfect - that will cut an hour off the trip at that speed," he said.
Entry to the market is a gold coin donation.
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