It all depends if you live in Sydney or the bush whether the trains will give you the pleasant experience Gladys spoke about today on the radio.
Those who live in Dungog and Scone, Singleton or Muswellbrook will feel crushed. There are no improvements to the appalling services on the Hunter Lines and in fact they have just got a whole lot worse.
There was reason for hope when Gladys Berejiklian said that “customers” were to be her focus. Dungog people thought they might get a return service at night. Singleton wanted two extra trains and Scone people thought there might just be something in it for them.
From Dungog you now will not be able to have a day out in Sydney, using the Countrylink return at 4.12 p.m. which allows an extra two hours to make it worthwhile. The express train you connect with from the Hunter lines will now arrive at Central half an hour later leaving only three and a quarter hours before you need to catch the 2.15 p.m. to get back to Hamilton for the last Hunter trains of the day. Here’s the rub – the lovely Countrylink XPT used by many to extend the time will now leave Central almost 2 hours earlier at 2.41p.m. So forget it!
Even to go to Newcastle for a medical or legal appointment has got harder – the train you could return on at 1.03 p.m. in time to catch the kids coming out of school, has gone – replaced by a 10.25 a.m. train – leaving Newcastle before the Dungog train has even arrived there. Why?? The next one doesn’t leave until 3.21 and arrives back in Dungog at 4.45 p.m.
The changes will destroy a much needed Dungog tourist venture. Senior citizens are able to have day out in Dungog, collected from the station at 9.45 a.m. by the local bus after the school run. They are taken to view Chichester Dam, explore the local shops, have lunch and are put back on the train at 3.10p.m. Home in Newcastle at 4.29p.m. A great arrangement for the oldies and for Dungog. Not any more! Now the trains will leave Dungog at 12.26 p.m ( no lunch) or 5.01 p.m., arriving back in Newcastle at 7.26 p.m. (Too late for seniors and no tea! )
WE GET NO EVENING TRAIN SERVICES for the Hunter lines. We do have this useless early morning run to Dungog – leaves Newcastle at 4.25 a.m. and arrives at Dungog at 5.49 a.m. Far too early for any worker or school student. Who can use this? The next one arrives at 9.49 a.m. so you are late for work or school on it. Why not bring one back at night and use it for the early morning service?
How does this meet the Goal 8 in the Government’s NSW 2021 document? “Grow patronage on public transport by making it a more attractive choice” No one will be able to use Hunter Line trains.
Even from the Newcastle viewpoint the timetable has not delivered – the fastest express train to Sydney will be take 5 minutes longer than the current run – and it can’t even match the old steam Flyer!
1,000 new trains for Sydney ! Gladys, we want ONE new train on each Hunter Line, keep our XPT service as it is and speed up the trains from Newcastle to Central !
For further information or comment please contact:-
President Save Our Rail NSW Inc
Mobile 0408 618 198