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They have different local aims but rail action groups around NSW want to work together to fight for better regional train services.
Albury-based Border Rail Action Group [BRAG] member Dennis Toohey met with Orange Rail Action Group [ORAG] members at Duntryleague on Tuesday to discuss common aims.
Mr Toohey said with the state government announcing plans to construct a new fleet of trains to replace the current XPTs and railcars it was time for communities to be active.
He said the rail groups wanted increased services and track improvements.
Mr Toohey said his group did a major study involving three local councils to determine the potential for growth in passenger services.
“It found that if you provide reliable, comfortable trains, passenger will come,” he said.
Mr Toohey said the groups needed to work with local and state governments to get improvements.
“This is an excellent opportunity for groups to work together.
“There is an opportunity here to put information in front of the government.”
Mr Toohey said his group was in favour of shuttle services from Albury to Melbourne that would involve changing trains at Seymour.
However, the Orange group is opposed to changing trains at Lithgow, which it believes is an option being considered in future planning.
“Shuttles can work but they are not a cure-all for every city,” Mr Toohey said.
“You’ve got to create the infrastructure if you are going to have people changing trains.”
He said there needed to be a covered area with a flat surface to assist people with disabilities, with luggage and prams to transfer.
And he said the second train needed to be waiting at the platform when the first train arrived – to eliminate lengthy delays in the journey.
“It needs to be seamless,” he said.
However, ORAG member Peter Bilenkij said they did not want people to have to change trains at Lithgow.
“A fast express service to Sydney and back is what we want,” he said.
“Even changing with the coach [at Lithgow] now is a half hour wait.”
Mr Bilenkij said the group was talking to the member for Orange Phil Donato.
He said he expected Mr Donato would ask questions in parliament about the regional train services.
Mr Bilenkij said the group wanted an extra daily XPT service from Dubbo and Orange to Sydney in the morning and the Bathurst Bullet service to be extended to Orange.
He said the government needed to straighten out curves in the track to Orange to improve train speeds.
This article first appeared on www.centralwesterndaily.com.au
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