Our Say: Benefits sometimes at the end of the line

The decision Dubbo is the preferred site for maintenance for the new fleet of trains to service regional NSW is welcome indeed.

The first gain for the city would be 60-70 jobs in the facility, backed by other employment in the construction phase and potential ripple effects into other industries.

The plan is a clear winner for Dubbo.

The NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro was in Dubbo on Monday to announce the facility and give details on the replacement of the entire fleet of regional trains … around 60 XPT and 50-odd Xplorer and Endeavour carriages, and locomotives. That’s a lot of trains, which will need future maintenance.

The government targets having the new trains running from the early 2020s, which means the facility has to be ready before then. So, the promised benefits to Dubbo are not on a distant horizon.

The government will call for expressions of interest for the facility design and construction, and maintenance of the trains. Mr Barilaro made it abundantly clear Dubbo was the preferred location and that fact was in the brief to interested parties, who would have to factor it into submissions.

The location became an issue … faster than a speeding train.

The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP Phil Donato claimed the Nationals had promised the depot would go to Orange during last year’s by-election in which he won the Orange seat. But, he quickly backed away from the broken promise claim, saying it had been a “strong inference”.

Throwing the brakes on and changing direction ran his argument off the rails. But, he said Dubbo’s win was a pork-barrelling move to ensure the re-election of Nationals Dubbo MP Troy Grant.

Mr Grant, who accompanied Mr Barilaro on Monday, said communities across the rail network would not be happy with the choice “but at the end of the day that’s what happens when you don’t have someone at the decision-making table of government”.

Perhaps the brakes should have been on. Isn’t government supposed to be about doing the best thing for all irrespective of electorate party allegiances?

The community certainly welcomes the depot. Residents believe the Dubbo-Sydney XPT service runs at awkward times and the trips are too long. Any changes to those, as were suggested, would be very popular.

Dubbo is the final stop on XPTs serving the Central West, but it appears being at the end of the line sometimes has benefits.