Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC), has become aware that starting in 2018, NSW TrainLink proposes to trial new coach connections aimed at better linking regional communities. Of particular interest to our region are proposals for new services between Tamworth and Newcastle, Tamworth and Dubbo and Tamworth and Port Macquarie.
According to LPSC Mayor, Councillor Andrew Hope, three Tamworth - Newcastle services are being touted that would allow day return trips with stays in Newcastle of four, six and eight hours utilising Coaches from Tamworth to either Scone or Muswellbrook where passengers would transfer to trains for the remainder of the journey. Similar rail/coach services would be provided on the return journey. Within the Shire the coaches would pick up and set down at Werris Creek, Quirindi and Willow Tree.
Councillor Hope said he was urging residents to look at the proposals for all three propsed routes at https://transportnsw.info/news/2017/trials-of-new-public-transport-options-for-regional-nsw and to take the survey that seeks to find out preferences for departure and arrival times, frequency of travel, and food and drink options. The survey can also be accessed directly via the link http://survey.canvasu.com.au/canvasu/trainlink.
“LPSC acknowledges that this proposal is not quite what Council has lobbied strongly in favour of for some years, but it will fill a badly needed gap and at this stage offers more options to and from Newcastle than previous proposals.”
“Our Visitor Information Centre Manager recently attended an information session regarding the proposals and the question was asked why this service can’t be a train service throughout. The response provided was that at the moment there aren’t any spare rail carriages available before 2020 when the new fleet is ready. They also acknowledged that TrainLink has to compete with the coal trains for rail paths. However, it has not been ruled out that there may be a future for a complete train link after 2020,” Councillor Hope said.
“The most important things at this moment is for people to provide feedback to the proposals via the survey and when instituted that they make good use of the service to improve the chances for a full rail service after 2020,” Councillor Hope concluded.