THE Bathurst region does not have a great history where comes to naming local rail services.
As much as it has been embraced by the community, the Bathurst Bullet daily return service to Sydney – at almost four hours for the 200 kilometre trip to Central – is really travelling at somewhat less than bullet speed.
Now the state government is proposing a very fast train link between Sydney, Bathurst and Parkes.
It’s still very early days and there are many variables to work through – including the type of train to be used and the final route - but the government’s best bet so far for a trip between Sydney and Bathurst is about two and a half hours.
That’s certainly quicker than the Bullet can do it but it’s still not much faster then a trip by car. Perhaps “reasonably quick train service” would be a more appropriate name.
Whatever it is eventually called, however, the people of Bathurst and the Central West could only welcome a new investigation of a faster rail link to Sydney.
There is the small issue of finding a suitable path through the Blue Mountains to consider, but even a service that could get us to Sydney in two and half hours would be sure to do well patronised from this region.
For years we were told that a daily return service to Sydney was neither viable nor particularly wanted in Bathurst but patronage of the Bullet has proven those naysayers wrong.
And Bathurst’s proximity to Sydney actually makes rail a more attractive option than flying so there is sure to be a market.
Local business people, local school and local daytrippers would welcome a faster link to Sydney and, at two and a half hours, commuting between Sydney and Bathurst would become a realistic option for many more workers.
As Bathurst’s population grows and local, state and federal governments continue investigating options for moving new arrivals out of Sydney, it’s vital that infrastructure keeps pace with the change.
That means improved roads, a health service that can meet the needs of a growing population, schools with room to grow, adequate green space in the city and, potentially, a fast train link to the state’s capital city.
This won’t happen tomorrow, but it’s never too soon to start planning – or, in this case, start planning again.
And, we’ve said it before: Good things come to those who wait.