Reinstate Passenger Rail Services on the Tottenham Branch Line
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Sydney is becoming overcrowded and many families are now struggling to afford their own homes, pay rents or even cover the cost to commute across the city. Sydney is rapidly becoming unaffordable, overcrowded and quite frankly no longer a nice place to live - and as Dick Smith said, "It's like termites living in thousands of high-rises".
Decentralisation is the answer to many of the problems being faced in overcrowded cities like Sydney. However, before people will consider moving out west, they need to be reassured that the infrastructure they will need to commute to jobs is already in place.
Passenger services on the Tottenham Branch Line were shut down back in the 1970's and when that happened, all the towns along its route suffered terribly. People moved away in droves, businesses closed and basic services were shut down one after the other. Towns like Tullamore, Albert, Tottenham, Bogan Gate and Trundle all became close to becoming 'ghost towns' and each of those communities can now only boast populations of a few hundred people.
But there's a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the Inland Rail Line which will soon be linking Parkes with both Melbourne and Brisbane. The Tottenham Branch Line also connects with Parkes which could easily bring commuters to and from that city for work. The city of Parkes is on a projectory to becoming one of the largest inland industrial hubs in Australia, due to its positioning on the Inland Rail link and the main east-west transcontinental line. So there will soon be more jobs than people in this region.
There are also new cobalt, nickel and scandium mines opening at Fifield, (near the towns of Tullamore and Trundle) and there will be an immediate need for better transport options to get miners and other ancillary workers to and from work. At the moment a fleet of shuttle buses is proposed to bring workers up from Parkes but that makes for poor efficiency and limited use. Once these mines are in full production, there will no doubt be even more jobs available in all the towns along the Tottenham Branch Line in the new tech-mineral related industries, such as li-ion battery, electric car, fast train, aviation and space component production. A passenger train is the most logical way to get all these workers to their destinations without causing even more chaos and deaths on our narrow, pot-holed, kangaroo-infested roads. Add to this the ever increasing price of petrol to keep your car on the road and travelling by train makes a whole lot of sense - not only on the Tottenham Branch Line but across the entire state.
The branch line itself needs an urgent upgrade so it can be used for the expected additional and heavier freight going to and from these new mines and Parkes.
If the Tottenham Branch Line was to be upgraded and passenger services were to re-open, it would breathe new life into all the towns along the Bogan Way - Tottenham, Albert, Tullamore, Trundle and Bogan Gate. New homes would spring up, new businesses would open and people would be able to commute to and from Parkes and the Fifield mines for work. And the Central West would become an extremely viable option for many first home buyers and renters from Sydney and other unliveabe, overcrowded cities.
On top of all these benefits, a whole new tourism market would open up, making it easier for International and Interstate visitors to experience the Central West in comfort, by rail.
By upgrading one branch line and reinstating one passenger rail service, which offered a daily commute for people living in the Central West, an entire region in western NSW would start to boom. It really is that simple to get the Central West back on track again.
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