BATHURST Bullet train services to Sydney will terminate at Lithgow and buses will replace trains in both directions to Blacktown as the line over the Blue Mountains is closed for repairs.
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NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway announced on Saturday that the line will be closed for repairs from Sunday morning (December 18) for at least five days following a freight train derailment last Wednesday.
He said maintenance crews are on site undertaking inspections along a 10-kilometre section of track to review the full extent of damage ahead of repair work.
"This line is a vital component of our supply chain and the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government will work closely with industry as crews work hard to get it repaired and reopened," he said.
"The track in both directions is impacted. It is expected more than 15,000 sleepers will need to be replaced, 120 broken rails fixed, and electrical work undertaken to restore signalling along the entire section of damaged track."
The adjacent undamaged track remained open to diesel trains until Sunday morning, which Mr Farraway said would "keep goods and commodities moving" while final repair plans were being established and would allow freight operators time to find alternative paths.
He said further closures are expected over coming weeks to repair significant damage to track infrastructure that occurred during Wednesday's derailment between Lawson and Linden.
Due to extensive damage to infrastructure on that section, electric intercity passenger trains cannot travel through there at all until further notice, according to the NSW Government.
Buses will replace trains between Katoomba and Springwood, with an intercity train operating hourly services between Sydney and Springwood in both directions.
Trains will run every two hours between Lithgow and Katoomba in both directions.
Bathurst services will terminate at Lithgow and buses will replace trains in both directions to Blacktown.
Hourly train services will run in both directions between Mount Victoria and Katoomba.
From Monday, Dubbo XPT services will be replaced by road coaches in both directions between Sydney and Bathurst.
Passengers will join rail services from Bathurst for the remainder of their journey, according to the NSW Government.
The coach service from Dubbo through to Broken Hill in both directions is still in operation as the Broken Hill Xplorer train service is not running due to flood damage to the track west of Parkes.
The NSW Government says passengers using the Blue Mountains line should expect delays or extended travel times and should plan ahead and check Transportnsw.info for the latest service details.
It hasn't been a good year for the Blue Mountains rail line, which was damaged by a landslip in July near Blackheath.
Subsequent work to repair the damage took weeks.
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