Direct morning trains from Orange to Sydney appear to be one step closer to reality.
Community lobbying to expand rail services has been a constant for much of this century, but progress has been slow.
"We're hoping it's something we're going to be able to achieve in the not-too-distant future," MP Phil Donato told the Central Western Daily this week.
The comments followed a speech in parliament by NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison, who revealed government work has ramped up.
"[We] are continuing to explore all of the opportunities to boost rail services in Orange," she said.
"If we can get the people of Orange access to rail, that will be a great thing.
"We are exploring a number of opportunities to benefit the community."
Mr Donato has worked with the government on the project, and believes it is "serious" about expanding services.
"It's very important for our community," he said.
"It's something I'll continue to push hard for and remind them it's something our community needs and expects.
"It would make it so much easier and really open up opportunities, not only tourism but also investment and decentralisation."
Minister Aitchison has met with the Orange Rail Action Group (ORAG) and Orange City Council in recent months to discuss options, including extending the Bathurst Bullet.
Industrial issues and the logistics of stationing a train in Orange overnight have been flagged as key challenges.
A petition backing the project from the Orange Rail Action Group in 2018 attracted more than 10,000 signatures and was raised in parliament.
The group previously estimated at least 20,000 town residents would use the service every year if rolled-out.
Orange man Doug Spicer has been a key backer of the proposal, traveling to Sydney multiple times every year for his wife's medical treatment.
"It's just draining on a pensioner's pocket," Mr Spicer told the CWD last year.
"My wife has been going through cancer treatment for the past six years. We make about five trips to Sydney every year.
"When the train leaves in the afternoon and comes back in the morning it means we have to find two nights accommodation in Sydney which is very expensive on a pension."