Petition for better rail service
Wednesday, 3rd May, 2017
By Daniel Stringer
A concerned local is petitioning the state and federal governments to improve rail services between Broken Hill, Sydney and Adelaide.
Local resident Tex Morton has created a petition in an attempt to persuade the NSW Government to add an extra weekly rail service between Broken Hill and Sydney.
At present the Broken Hill to Sydney service runs once a week, meaning those using the service are required to stay in Broken Hill or Sydney for seven days.
Mr Morton says it makes more sense to have an additional service, in order to offer passengers more flexibility in terms of their travel durations.
“The people that use the service have to stay for seven days, so what we are looking at doing is seeing if we can get an extra train to come in on a Thursday so that the people who don’t want to stay seven days can go back sooner,” Mr Morton said.
“It will also be beneficial for the locals, as people who want to go to Sydney for the football or a show can go down Friday and come back Monday.”
The petition is also seeking to start up an economy rail service between Broken Hill and Adelaide.
The only rail service that currently runs between Broken Hill and Adelaide is the Indian Pacific, which comes with a ticket price of $600.
Having a rail service between Broken Hill and Adelaide is something that Mr Morton sees as critical for the local community.
“There was a service a long while a go called a bud car and that was beneficial for people who had to go down to medical reasons, but as it is now there is none of that.
“If we can get a train from Adelaide once a week or even twice a week it would be hugely beneficial to the Broken Hill community.
“It is something that we need and I thought that someone should stand up and fight for it.”
Mr Morton has been handing out the petitions to businesses across the city, in an attempt to gain the support of the local community.
Judging from the early reactions, the community support is not going to be hard to find.
“Everyone that I have spoken to so far has been supportive of the idea and has agreed to have the petitions in their shops.
“The more signatures we get the better, if we can get 3000 that would be extraordinary and if we can get 4000 then even better.”
It isn’t just the community’s support that the petition needs, as the fate of the proposal will rest with the state and federal governments.
Mr Morton says the next step in the process will be to get the petition onto the desk of leaders at both levels of government.
“Once we have the signatures then we will send the petition to Federal Government, NSW Government and the South Australian Government.
“Hopefully they will look on it with a bit of compassion and then we will go from there.”
While the support of federal and state governments may hang in the air, the proposal does have the support of several councillors. Councillor Ron Page has been working with Mr Morton on developing the petition and says the proposal has his full support.
“It has got my 100 per cent support,” Councillor Page said.
“The main people we need to get on board is the NSW Premier and the South Australian Premier.”
Fellow independent Councillor, Tom Kennedy, has also come on board, saying he recognises the critical importance of having quality public transport options available to the community.
“We are going to make sure that a notice of motion is put before council, because I am sure the council will get 100 per cent behind this proposal,” Councillor Kennedy said.
“With council behind it and the community behind it, it puts a lot of pressure on the state and federal governments to realise that we have got a population that is aging, a population that is reliant on welfare and a population that is reliant on public transport.”
It is expected that a motion will be put before council at this month’s meeting seeking council to support the petition.
The petitions are available in businesses around Broken Hill for people to sign.