REGIONAL tourism is set to be given a huge boost following the State Government’s announcement of $1.1 million in funding to reinstate the rail link between Kandos and Rylstone.

Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said his successful lobbying is a result of the Kandos-Rylstone Rail Heritage Precinct Petition, signed by over 1200 people, in addition to wider community support.

“The petition forms the basis of a push by the Kandos Museum and Lithgow State Mines Railway to form a rail precinct to attract visitors to the Kandos-Rylstone region,” he said.

“This funding will see the eight kilometre rail link between Kandos and Rylstone brought back from being non-operational to working order and will pave the way to enable the start of the Kandos-Rylstone Rail Heritage Precinct.”

Mr Toole said the initiative is expected to increase visitor numbers in the region and as well as adding to the diversity of local and regional activities.

“Funding for rail infrastructure is essential to the prosperity of regional NSW,” he said.

“This funding from the Government will enable the replacement of 3,500 old timber sleepers with new long-life steel sleepers, as well as the fastening and laying out 1,000 tonnes of stone ballast to support the track.

“Eight kilometres of track will be resurfaced, lifted and aligned into the right position to ensure passengers enjoy a smooth ride.

“New signalling work, including the recommissioning of a level crossing, is also required to allow trains to travel safely through to Rylstone.”

Work is scheduled to commence next month with the Kandos to Rylstone section of the rail line expected to be operational in June 2018.

This project is one of many completed since 2011 with the Government investing over $1.3 billion in the NSW regional rail network.

Mr Toole said this initiative is an example of the State Government listening to the people and delivering an outcome which is beneficial to the wider community.

“John Holland will carry out the works to reinstate this rail link. The signalling work will start later this month, but most of this stage of the project relates to design and software work that will be completed off site,” he said.

“The civil and track work is due to commence in April 2018, with an anticipated timeframe of 6-8 weeks for completion (weather pending). This will see visible on site bringing the project to fruition.”