Train travellers in Bathurst and Lithgow will have more choice and flexibility when an additional NSW TrainLink train service to and from Sydney starts in 2020, Bathurst MP Paul Toole announced today.
The daily Bathurst Bullet express service leaves Bathurst in the morning for Sydney, stopping via Lithgow, and returns in the evening. While it has been a popular service since 2012, the timing of the once a day service is not ideal for all customers, thereby limiting the full benefits of the service.
"People love the Bullet for being a fast, comfortable way to take a day trip to Sydney," Mr Toole said.
"But leaving at 5.46am and getting back at 9.32pm is not convenient for everyone. This new service doubles the options, making the journey more appealing to more people."
On weekdays, the new service will depart Bathurst around 7.30am, enabling those who don’t want to leave in the very early morning to still have a direct service to Sydney. The afternoon return service, leaving around 3.00pm and arriving in Bathurst before 7pm in the evening, will be attractive for those who need to be home earlier, in time for family and social commitments.
This additional service will operate 7 days a week. On weekends, the new Bathurst to Sydney service will operate at a similar time to the existing weekday service and, in the afternoon will return at a similar time to the new weekday service.
Currently, the afternoon Bathurst service is less popular than the morning service. Many customers are choosing to catch early afternoon Blue Mountains services to Lithgow and connecting to coach services to Bathurst, rather than wait for the train that gets them home at 9.32pm.
Transport for NSW is confident the proposal they have developed will not only better meet current customer needs, but will encourage more people to use the service.
"We have based this decision on both feedback from the local communities and an analysis of travel patterns," Mr Toole said.
Plans for the service are well advanced. Customers will be kept up to date so they can plan their journeys accordingly. Further details on specific service timings will be released in 2019.
The NSW Government has committed to replace the ageing regional rail fleet of XPT, XPLORER and Endeavour trains and build a new purpose-built maintenance facility to service the fleet in Dubbo.
A tender process is currently underway to appoint a contractor to deliver the new fleet and maintenance centre.
The new trains will be progressively introduced from the early 2020s, providing customers with more reliable and comfortable journeys, while the new maintenance centre at Dubbo will provide a major boost for the regional economy by creating jobs and opportunities for local businesses during the construction and operation stages.