POLL: Hunter express train could take decades

THE Hunter may be waiting between 10 and 20 years for an express train service between Newcastle and Sydney, with plans for an "incremental approach" to shaving 40 minutes off the trip.

The State Government's Infrastructure strategy released yesterday recognises the current CityRail service takes about two hours and 40 minutes, slower than the pre-war Newcastle Flyer steam train.

It recommends emphasis "in early stages" on operational changes, including "tighter timetabling and fewer intermediate stops", starting with reducing the trip from Gosford to Sydney to one hour.

Leo Murray, of Merewether, studies a bachelor of law and business full-time at the University of Newcastle but has been commuting to Sydney for work since the start of the year.

He has to take a train from Broadmeadow at 6.20am to get to work in time and doesn't get back home until after 8pm.

"On average I probably travel once a week," he said.

"Parking is extremely expensive [in Sydney] so I never drive. It's pretty obvious there should be a faster connection. A lot of people get on here [Broadmeadow] and Gosford in the morning so there's no excuse."

Newcastle MP Tim Owen said it was possible to reduce travel between Newcastle and Sydney by 25 to 30 minutes by cutting out 13 or 14 stations.

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