THE start of a second daily rail service between Bathurst and Sydney has been fast-tracked to the spring after money was made available in the NSW Budget on Tuesday.
The Bullet 2.0, an election promise from state Member for Bathurst Paul Toole, was due to start in early 2020 but will now be up and running well before the end of the year.
While timetable details are yet to be finalised, the new service will depart Bathurst around 7.30am on weekdays, enabling those who don't want to leave in the very early morning to still have a direct service to Sydney.
The afternoon return service, leaving around 3pm and arriving in Bathurst before 7pm, will be attractive for those who need to be home earlier in time for family and social commitments, according to Mr Toole.
He said this additional service will operate seven days a week.
On weekends, the new Bathurst to Sydney service will operate at a similar time to the existing weekday service and, in the afternoon, will return at a similar time to the new weekday service.
Stops are planned at Tarana and Rydal.
Mr Toole said the new hours would be attractive to many commuters.
"People love the Bullet for being a fast, comfortable way to take a day trip to Sydney," he said.
"But leaving at 5.46am and getting back at 9.32pm is not convenient for everyone.
"This new service doubles the options, making the journey more appealing to more people."
Mr Toole said the decision to introduce a new train service was based on feedback and travel patterns.
The stop at Tarana was announced by Mr Toole in February.
At the time, he said it was a win for Oberon residents who were calling for the stop back when the Bullet was introduced in 2012.
Both Mr Toole and then Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian were lobbied at the time about a Tarana stop and a petition gathered more than 200 signatures.
Potential Oberon passengers argued at the time that a stop at Tarana could replace a similar stop-on-demand stop at Bell, which they said had been virtually unused.
Further details on specific service times will be released later in 2019.
The NSW Budget also contained money to begin an upgrade of the Great Western Highway from Kelso to Raglan, the next stage in a continuing project to improve the eastern approaches to Bathurst.
The budget set aside $19 million of the anticipated $30 million to complete this latest stage.
"This is critical work when we're talking about a growing city and looking at people coming from Sydney for major events," Mr Toole said.