Trains will return to the Mid-Western region with the State Government announcing $1.1 million to reinstate the rail link between Kandos and Rylstone.
Locals gathered at the Kandos station on Tuesday to hear from member for Bathurst Paul Toole, who explained his successful lobbying was a result of the Kandos-Rylstone Rail Heritage Precinct Petition, signed by over 1200 people.
“The petition forms the basis of a push by the Kandos Museum and Lithgow State Mines Railway to form a rail precinct to attract visitors to the Kandos-Rylstone region,” he said.
“This funding will see the eight kilometre rail link between Kandos and Rylstone brought back from being non-operational to working order and will pave the way to enable the start of the Kandos-Rylstone Rail Heritage Precinct.”
Kandos Museum president, Buzz Sanderson, described the announcement as ‘fantastic news’.
“We couldn’t be more pleased. It’s going to be a real boost for the area,” he said.
“We’ve been chipping away at this for 18-24 months now and we didn’t think he [Paul Toole] would actually pay for it, but it’s come home in spades.”
Mr Toole said the initiative is expected to increase visitor numbers in the region and as well as adding to the diversity of local and regional activities.
“Funding for rail infrastructure is essential to the prosperity of regional NSW,” he said.
The funding will enable the replacement of 3,500 old timber sleepers with new long-life steel sleepers, as well as the fastening and laying out 1,000 tonnes of stone ballast to support the track.
“Eight kilometres of track will be resurfaced, lifted and aligned into the right position to ensure passengers enjoy a smooth ride,” Mr Toole said.
“New signalling work, including the recommissioning of a level crossing, is also required to allow trains to travel safely through to Rylstone.”
Mid-Western Regional Council deputy mayor Paul Cavalier welcomed the announcement, saying, “the community has been pushing this for years”.
“$1.1 million isn’t a small investment – it’s great,” he said.
“It’ll reopen the whole line and I’m actually amazed it’s going to happen so quickly. It’s really good news for the town and the whole region.”
Work is scheduled to commence next month with the Kandos to Rylstone section of the rail line expected to be operational in June 2018.