The boss of Sydney Trains got to see Bathurst's rail revival first-hand when he visited the city last Friday.
And he arrived on the Central Tablelands, fittingly, by XPT.
Howard Collins - a former head of the London Underground, who was appointed chief of Sydney Trains in 2013 - had a look behind the fence of the Bathurst Rail Museum to see how the site was coming together.
"It's good to see it [the railway station and surrounds] now starting to open up as a heritage precinct, which is really what we want to try to encourage in the regions: bringing the railway heritage to life," he said.
The construction of the rail museum follows the expansion of the railway station's car park, the success of the first Bathurst Bullet daily return service to Sydney and the announcement of a second Bathurst Bullet service.
Mr Collins said the rail renaissance was obvious.
"We're not only seeing a phenomenal growth in Sydney, which has been 37 per cent growth [in journeys] in the last five years, but also growth in the regions," he said.
"And, really, part of our plan is to try to re-engage with the community that we left behind all those years ago when they shut down stations, but also look at providing more hub and spoke services from regional towns like Bathurst and Orange to serve the local community.
"And we're already seeing people take day trips to go shopping by jumping on the XPT and making a short stop to Orange or Bathurst and then getting one back in the afternoon."
Before arriving at Bathurst in the afternoon last Friday, Mr Collins was at Blayney and Millthorpe.
At Blayney, he said, Sydney Trains wants to work with Blayney Shire Council to encourage the community to use "some of the buildings within the station - the old restaurant and refreshment room, the waiting room and bar area".
The refurbished Millthorpe station reopened for passengers in March after decades of disuse.
"I'm hearing some great stories that the station is seeing more people going to Millthorpe for the day or the weekend than in a long time when it last was open 31 years ago," Mr Collins said.
"In fact, the cafe owner told me there was a party of 63 people in one group who'd taken the train from Sydney in the morning and had a beautiful lunch at Tonic and returned on the train in the evening."
Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said the replacement of the state's XPTs was another sign of rail's revival.
"The XPTs have been around for 35 years. We've already signed up to have them replaced and, by 2023, we'll see the first of those new XPTs rolling out," he said.
Mr Toole said the relocation of the train from the visitor information centre to the railway station precinct will "send a very powerful statement that Bathurst is a railway town".
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