A few years ago when Countrylink unveiled new uniforms for its staff at a fashion parade at the old 1869 Mortuary Station in Sydney, rail unions said it was the perfect venue.
Country rail services, they said, were all but dead anyway.
And since then the Mortuary Station has been a parcel depot and, for a time, a pancake restaurant called the Magic Mortuary before it went bust.
More recently the heritage listed building was opened last weekend for people to go through and have a look at what used to be.
But what used to be was more than 30 passenger trains a day once left Sydney for country areas and dozens of rail motors ran branch line connections from main line stations to most parts of NSW. Goods trains ran almost all the time.
However, more than 30 country branch lines totalling 2,737km of track have been closed or mothballed and left to rust, thousands of rail workers including drivers, stationmasters, clerks, shunters, guards, fettlers, mechanics and electricians, lost their jobs and Trackfast sold off.
Now only a handful of regular country passenger trains are left.
Now only a handful of regular country passenger trains are left.Denis Gregory
Orange has one XPT service a day and all efforts to get an early morning return train have so far failed with the government sticking to its decision not to allow the Bathurst Bullet to come on to Orange each night instead of going back to Lithgow to be housed.
The excuses don't hold a lot of water. If the government can build 66km of new Sydney Metro rail that included 15.5km of twin underground tunnels, 31 new stations and is boring another 8.1km of twin tunnels that will increase the number of trains from about 120 an hour to 200 an hour, surely it can bring an almost worn-out two-carriage train from Bathurst on to Orange for the night so we can have a daily early morning service to Sydney.
But it appears it can't. It's all too hard.
Cops in the sky
Orange police have had valuable help from the new $3.5 million PolAir 8 Cessna. It flew in circles around Orange for several hours pin-pointing activity on the ground with its thermo cameras and keeping car crews informed. It has cameras that can zoom in from a kilometre away. Commissioner Mick Fuller says police can now track missing people and offenders better than they ever have. Unusual vehicles were checked out at Spring Creek reservoir and other unlawful goings-on so it's a pity it isn't here more often.
Fossil fuel fears
It could soon be time to get out the candles if supplies of coal to Mt Piper power station near Lithgow can't be guaranteed.
If there's generation issues the Australian Energy Regulator, which monitors the electricity wholesale market including demand, would issue a directive for compulsory load shedding.
That could mean shutting down power supply to different areas around the state, including Orange, for several hours at a time on a rotation basis and that would lead to blackouts.
Mt Piper generates 15 per cent of the State's power and was supplied by six coal mines but is now down to only Springvale and coal will have to be imported from the Hunter or somewhere.
Let's hope the coal problem gets sorted. We don't want to be running around with candles and hurricane lanterns.
DO YOU WANT MORE NEWS AND SPORT?
Receive our free newsletters delivered to your inbox, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up below ...