EDITORIAL | XPT upgrade on the right track
TRAIN travel times between Sydney and Melbourne will be cut if the NSW government wins the state election, with plans to replace ageing XPT trains with new rolling stock.
Deputy Premier Troy Grant, who made the announcement yesterday, said the new trains would slash an hour and 15 minutes from the Sydney to Albury journey.
About 25 minutes would also be cut from the Albury to Melbourne trip by using the new trains.
Member for Albury Greg Aplin described the announcement as a “tremendous leap forward”, with the new rolling stock to replace trains that are more than 30 years old.
“We’ve wanted to have upgrades to the XPT service for some time,” he said.
“This will be brilliant.
“It’s exciting news for our customers in this region.”
The upgrades, which would cost $1 billion, would feature upgraded seating, dining and sleeping facilities, and may include Wi-Fi access.
“It is very much conditional on the current government being re-elected,” Mr Aplin said.
ALP candidate for Albury Ross Jackson said while he supported the upgrades, he questioned how much faster the trains would run in Victoria.
“The Victorian signalling system is limited to 130km/h for the XPT,” he said.
“I’d rather see the $1 billion invested in the beginning of high-speed rail.
“The XPT was home grown and constructed and to be still running after 32 years is a testament to the people involved with its construction.
“The Liberal National government has recently received large backlash for awarding train construction tenders offshore and to not allow the investment to benefit the people of NSW.”
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Mr Jackson said the government should promise to build the new trains in the state, rather than overseas.
But Border rail campaigner Bill Traill welcomed the announcement.
“That’s outstanding news,” he said.
“It also highlights the need for the Australian Rail Track Corporation to get on with their job, which is now six years old, of providing an adequate track for any modern rail stock.”