XPT election promises sends trust in parties off the rails
IT'S not hard to tell there's an election just around the corner when political parties trot out sketches of shiny new trains for regional NSW with promises of new comfort and reduced travel times.
So why would anyone be sceptical about this seemingly 'good news' proposal?
Well here's why: XPTs were initially spruiked by the NSW state government to 'revolutionise' train travel across the state with reduced travel times and superior service.
- New fleet of trains promised to replace ageing XPT fleet
- A decade since the last XPT left Lismore
- New train timetable "exact opposite" of what we need: Kyogle Council
Here's what really happened when XPT's were first introduced:
- All overnight mail trains (including branch line connections) were withdrawn thus limiting travel options
- The current services with designated sleeping, sitting, full dining car service and motorail services were withdrawn
- Numerous intermediate station stops were simultaneously removed, further limiting travel options and disconnecting many smaller towns from any rail service. This initiative also gave the 'appearance' that train travel times were faster
- Removal of supplementary services during peak holiday periods
- Initially, a premium fare was charged on XPTs for the supposed premier service but later dropped due to public pressure
- Poor timetabling options further reduced travel options and consequently led to reduced patronage on remaining services
As a result of the above reductions in travel and service options, some rail lines have since had services either totally removed or replaced by buses - note Casino to Murwillumbah line being a victim of state government ineptitude.
Given the previous debacle with XPTs why on earth would anyone view this latest announcement with anything but scepticism?
Neither Labor (who removed rail services on the Murwillumbah line) nor the Liberal/Nationals have any inclination to reintroduce rail services on the Northern Rivers or anywhere else for that matter (they simply have given up!).
The Greens appear to have an 'airy fairy' proposal for a light rail line up the middle of the Pacific Highway. Really!
So who's left?
This just leaves the job of
a) protecting the rail corridor infrastructure from current and future threats and
b) working with government and the community to ensure the rail line is reinstated and services that meet community needs commence to candidates with no political agenda and act for the community, not just tow their political masters line.
Make your vote count on the 28th March! Vote Independent!