In regional NSW, we’re focusing on increasing connections between towns and regional cities. It’s our ‘hub and spoke’ long term vision and it’s aimed at giving you better access to what you need and faster, safer journeys for both travellers and freight. We’ll be supporting 13 regional cities, such as Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Tamworth and Port Macquarie, with better connections so they can provide local communities with more services like hospitals, schools and universities.
It’s all about providing locals with access to the services they need close by, instead of having to travel to Sydney. To make ‘hub and spoke’ a reality, we’re providing better transport options between cities and towns, by upgrading highways, improving rail services and looking at more flexible public transport options. This map is a high level visionary snapshot of some of the projects underway or proposed to help us achieve safer, and more efficient transport for regional communities.
Flexible bus services
NSW TrainLink is providing more transport options to regional areas that previously didn’t have enough direct or frequent services to neighbouring towns. You can now catch a range of weekly and day return services between Tamworth and Newcastle, Dubbo and Port Macquarie, as well as Bourke and Brewarrina to Dubbo, with more routes like Wagga Wagga to Albury set to come online in the near future. It’s all about bringing regional communities closer to the things they need, like work, medical appointments and shops, and to make it easier to catch up with family and friends in surrounding towns.
The final stretch
We’re upgrading the final section of the Pacific Highway between Woolgoolga to Ballina to make driving safer, quicker and less congested for motorists. When the upgrade is complete in 2020, we will have a four lane divided road almost all the way from Sydney to Brisbane, with bypasses and less curves which means you can save time on your journey and travel more safely. Since we first began the upgrade in 1997, safety has improved out of sight with the number of fatal crashes halving.
Ready when you are
On demand transport options are up and running in regional communities through trials in Lake Macquarie, Woy Woy on the Central Coast, the Illawarra region and between Tottenham and Dubbo in the Central West. With flexible pick up locations and times, you can book a seat on board a mini bus, coach or car to travel quickly and easily to your destination when it suits you. If you live in Thirroul, you can book an on demand service from your smartphone to collect you from your front door and take you to your local train station or bus interchange. Or if you live in Lake Macquarie, an on demand bus will pick you up from your home and take you to where you want to go within the local area. So you can leave the car at home and visit nearby friends and family with ease. And it doesn’t stop there. We’re working on even more on demand services in various rural and regional areas with more trials coming online by the end of 2018.
Light rail for Newcastle
When trams hit the track in early 2019, Newcastle’s brand new light rail will mean you can travel to the city’s CBD, beautiful beaches, harbour and restaurant precincts with ease. The convenient turn-up-and-go service every 7.5 minutes during peak times will connect with train services at Newcastle Interchange. You can hop on and enjoy the ride between Wickham through to Pacific Park in Newcastle East frequently and easily.
All aboard shiny new fleets
Two brand new modern train fleets decked out with the latest technology are coming soon to provide safer, more reliable and comfortable journeys for customers travelling long distances across NSW.
From 2019 a new intercity fleet will run between the Central Coast, Newcastle, Blue Mountains and South Coast. Aboard you’ll experience loads of improved features including chargers for your smartphone and laptop, so you’ll never run out of battery mid-journey, better air-conditioning as well as security cameras and customer help points. From the early 2020s, you can also jump on board a new regional train fleet to travel from Sydney to many regional centres in NSW, as well as interstate destinations like Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane. The new trains will also create regional jobs and support local economies through a new maintenance facility being built at Kangy Angy and one proposed for Dubbo.
We want to reduce journey times for you when riding the train between Sydney, Central Coast, Newcastle, Canberra and Wollongong by straightening the tracks and improving signalling so our new modern fleets can run at their full potential. Our goal is for a 60 minute journey time between Sydney and Wollongong and two hours between Sydney and Newcastle. And the good news is we’re already working on a project to bring faster rail between Sydney and Newcastle jointly with the Commonwealth.
Improving east-west links
Communities and primary industry are continuing to grow in the inland regions. Rather than only focusing on north-south journeys, east-west links are essential to crossing the Great Dividing Range and creating a truly connected transport network. These links will provide safer and more efficient connections for freight and travellers, and will help boost tourism to inland regions. Just one example is linking the Hunter Expressway with the Golden and New England Highways to improve access to the resource rich regions of the Hunter, Central West and Orana with New England and North West.
High-tech heavy vehicles
The road safety benefits connected and automated vehicles could bring in the future are exciting. Right now, we’re testing these technologies in regional NSW that will help bring a safer, automated future to life. In the Illawarra, we’re running one of the largest and most important connected heavy vehicle trials in the world, allowing cars, trucks and buses to talk to each other to provide their location and predict accidents. The technology can even see in the dark and over the crest of hills.
With trials already underway in Greater Sydney, we’re also looking to partner with local organisations in regional areas to run our next big driverless vehicle trials, which will help us get ready for game changing automated technologies that will shape our future.