Community leaders have been given their first taste of a government vision for a fast rail network at a workshop in Orange.
Representatives from Orange City Council, the Orange Business Chamber and other groups attended the workshop last week.
The government panel, headed by British high speed rail expert, Professor Andrew McNaughton, sought input on what the community wanted, and what benefits would be gained, from a fast rail network.
The government has said travel times could be slashed by up to 75 per cent on a proposed network extending to Orange, Port Macquarie, Canberra and Nowra.
A Transport for NSW spokeswoman said Professor McNaughton would prepare a report for the government on how a fast rail network could best be delivered in NSW.
"A fast rail network would be a game changer for NSW, supporting the growth of vibrant regional economies by giving people greater choice about where they live and how they commute to work," she said.
The spokeswoman said fast rail would potentially connect more businesses and people with regional NSW.
Professor McNaughton has also held similar workshops in Bathurst and Dubbo.
The government has said it has allocated $295 million for initial Fast Rail network work.
That would include planning to improve the route to the Central West.
Orange Business Chamber president Ash Brown said he was heartened by the fast rail vision.
"It would be pretty exciting for an area like Orange," he said.
"It's not just talking about it now. It's gone to another stage."
He said the panel asked them about how fast rail would make a difference to business and lifestyle in Orange.
"They were impressed with the decentralisation success of the Department of Primary Industries, the hospital and how the town has changed in the past 5-10 years," he said.
Orange Rail Action Group chairman Dr Peter Bilkenkij said it was "fully supportive" of fast rail being introduced to Orange.
"It's a step in the right direction," he said.
"If they can take half to one hour off the trip that would be good. We look forward to the release of that strategy," Dr Bilenkij said.
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