THE start of Bathurst's second daily rail service to Sydney has been fast-tracked to the spring after money was made available in the NSW Budget on Tuesday.
The Bullet 2.0, an election promise from Bathurst MP Paul Toole, was due to start in early 2020 but will now be up and running well before the end of the year.
While timetable details are yet to be finalised, Bullet 2.0 will depart Bathurst around 7.30am each weekday and return about 7pm. It will also run on weekends, with stops planned at Tarana and Rydal.
Mr Toole said the new hours would be attractive to many commuters.
"People love the Bullet for being a fast, comfortable way to take a day trip to Sydney," he 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."
But while the budget had good news for Bathurst rail users, it was a different story for Orange commuters whose calls for a return daily service to Sydney have again fallen on deaf ears.
A petition of 10,000 signatures supporting an Orange rail service will be tabled in parliament this week but Mr Toole said getting the Bullet 2.0 up and running was the government's priority.
"There's still a lot of work that needs to be done on the line between Bathurst and Orange but there will be an opportunity to look at it again in the future," he said.
Roads funding was the other big-ticket item in the budget for Bathurst.
Mr Toole, who also serves as the Minister for Regional Roads, welcomed an allocation of money to begin an upgrade of the Great Western Highway from Kelso to Raglan, the next stage in a continuing project to improve the eastern approaches to Bathurst.
Tuesday's budget set aside $19 million of the anticipated $30 million to complete this latest stage.
"This is critical work when we're talking about a growing city and looking at people coming into town from Sydney for major events," Mr Toole said.
"That section of road already needs an upgrade so this is a good opportunity to build for the future of the city.
"The plans should be out for public comment soon."
The budget also included $7 million for a refurbishment of Bathurst police station (previously announced as an election promise) and $1 million for work on the Bathurst Court House.
And Mr Toole said there was new money in the Stronger Communities Fund to support small projects across the electorate.
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