FAST-TRACKING the rollout of a new Bathurst Bullet train will be at the top of the agenda when Rail Action Bathurst chairman John Hollis meets state Transport Minister Andrew Constance in October.
Mr Constance announced this week that entire fleet of regional Endeavour and XPLORER trains – including the Bullet – would be replaced as part of a major upgrade of the network.
Work on the new trains will be carried out at a new rail maintenance facility to be built in regional NSW, with Dubbo earmarked as the preferred location.
Mr Hollis said he had first raised the possibility of a new train on the Bullet route with Mr Constance during a meeting in April where he was asked to come back in six months with more information.
“I will be speaking about Bathurst being a priority with the delivery of the trains and we will also be talking about the fit-out of the trains,” he said.
Mr Constance said the modernisation of the regional fleet of trains would significantly improve regional public transport.
The government plans to replace 60 XPT passenger cars (plus 19 diesel locomotives), 23 XPLORERs and 28 Endeavour passenger cars.
“Modernising the entire regional fleet allows the opportunity to incorporate benefits that were not available in 1982, when the first XPT rolled onto our tracks,” Mr Constance said.
“When the NSW Government promised to deliver new trains to replace the ageing XPT fleet, we also committed to looking at the feasibility of replacing Endeavour and XPLORER trains.
“The result of those considerations has been a decision to replace all three sets, in favour of more modern rolling stock.”
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said an Expression of Interest would soon be issued for the design, construction and maintenance of the new trains and a new maintenance facility.
The project would include the use of private financing to facilitate the delivery of the new trains and maintenance facility.