Could some of the region's rail lines be reopened for commercial use?
That's the question that will be answered with a possible upcoming feasibility study recently put to tender.
At the August 21 Council meeting, Mayor Des Kennedy used his Mayoral Minute to talk about a tender that has been issued by John Holland Pty Ltd to conduct a feasibility study into the possibility of reopening two rail lines in the region. The Rylstone to Gulgong line and the Gulgong to Maryvale line.
The rub is that Council had not been informed or consulted before the tender was put out, only by chance did Council learn of its existence.
This left multiple unanswered questions about level crossings and disruption to residents and traffic among others.
The Rylstone to Gulgong line runs through Mudgee and the Maryvale to Gulgong line notably would link to Newcastle.
In his Mayoral Minute, Mayor Des Kennedy said Council would write to the relevant government minister to ask why they weren't kept in the loop.
John Holland and Transport for NSW will consult with all key stakeholders once a consultant is engaged.John Holland Spokesperson
"Unbeknownst to anybody in this building, we were unaware of this, [tender] so this Mayoral Minute is to write a letter to the applicable minister with our concerns about it and the fact we weren't even consulted before these feasibility studies were asked," Cr Kennedy said.
"Back maybe 10 years ago. We've had this discussion before. We would like to forward through the previous resolution of this Council in 2009."
In an August, 2009 meeting, Council confirmed its 'policy position to oppose coal trains through this region's urban areas' and that 'if coal trains are to be considered in this region, that prior to any decision being contemplated, this Council and its community be fully consulted.'
Concerns were also raised at the time about the risk of emergency vehicles becoming blocked or delayed at level crossings throughout town.
The Mudgee Guardian reached out to John Holland for comment.
"A feasibility study into completing the Gulgong to Maryvale rail line will soon commence as part of the NSW Government's Fixing Country Rail program. A tender process is underway to engage a consultant to complete the study," a company spokesperson said.
"John Holland and Transport for NSW will consult with all key stakeholders once a consultant is engaged."