The state government has robbed Maitland commuters of two Endeavour diesel trains from the Hunter line for the new Bathurst rail service to Sydney, according to Save Our Rail president Joan Dawson and transport advocate Darrell Harris.
Ms Dawson said an Endeavour train had been taken from the Hunter line to the Eveleigh Rail Yard in Sydney for maintenance last year, where it was involved in a crash with an empty Millenium train in the rail yard on October 10.
She said the train was never returned to the Hunter line and when a second train went to the
same rail yard for maintenance, it too has not been returned.
Ms Dawson said these trains would operate on the new Bathurst service, scheduled to begin in October.
She accused the government of secrecy over the whereabouts of the Hunter line trains.
“Now the Hunter is down two trains and if anything goes wrong we don’t have a spare and we risk the loss of services,” she said.
Ms Dawson and Mr Harris said they were given the information from a reliable source.
The same source has been in contact with the Mercury and alleged that Maitland MP Robyn Parker was aware of the train transfers.
Ms Dawson, of Dungog, said existing services to the town, as well as to Singleton, Scone and Muswellbrook, would also be in jeopardy if a train broke down.
“We have more need for those trains than Bathurst; we need more trains,” she said.
“It’s smoke and mirrors from the state government saying that the trains are not being taken from the Hunter line,” she said.
RailCorp denied the claims.
A RailCorp spokeswoman said the trains to be used on the Bathurst service were to be taken from Eveleigh Rail Yard in Sydney.
“They are Eveleigh sets [trains] and they have always been at the Eveleigh yard,” the spokeswoman said.
A spokesman for Ms Parker referred the Mercury to RailCorp for comment.
Public transport advocate Darrell Harris said the state government had notified RailCorp to transfer the trains.
“It’s real bad news for the people of the Hunter,” he said.
“In the past four years we’ve had six (2008), seven (2009), eight (2010) and eight (2011) per cent growth and yet we are losing trains.”
Mr Harris said there was a limited number of Endeavour sets in the state and they were used in Maitland, the Southern Highlands and Nowra.
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