What a wonderful success. The Dowling Street Christmas Party showed community spirit at its best. A sincere thank you to everyone who participated and came along. Working together we can do amazing things and a great message to remember as we head into 2019.
And some good news has been circulating about our train timetables.
Michael Johnsen MP, Member for Upper Hunter has announced that starting in April next year, departure and arrival times for several weekday journeys will be moved to give customers greater flexibility when planning day trips to and from the Lower Hunter, which should also assist with encouraging people to visit our Shire.
For locals wanting to visit either Maitland or Newcastle for either shopping or services, the existing morning trains will remain. However, there will be a reinstatement of the mid-afternoon service so that people can return to (say) Paterson around 2.20 pm and Dungog around 2.50 pm or they can return home on the existing later afternoon train services.
Day visitors to the Shire will be able to use the existing train service and arrive in the Shire mid-morning (for example 9.20 am for Paterson and 9.50 am for Dungog) and leave again mid-afternoon (3.55 pm for Paterson and 3.26pm from Dungog). This would give visitors (such as walking and other interest groups) more than five and a half hours in the Shire for activities and lunch, they will be able to leave the Lower Hunter at a reasonable time in the morning and still be able to make it home before dark, which is especially of concern for some visitors during winter.
For those people wanting to come to Dungog or depart town in the middle of the day, it is still possible via the XPT. An XPT arrives from Sydney around 10.45 am each day, and another Sydney bound XPT arrives from the North Coast around noon.
A number of people have been involved in assisting with achieving this outcome including Michael Johnsen MP, Member for the Upper Hunter, The Hon. Scot Macdonald, MLC, Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Tracy Norman, Mayor, Dungog Shire, Allen Shrimpton, Dungog Common Recreation Reserve Trust and Committee member Dungog District Chamber of Commerce, and Ivan Skaines, Council’s Economic Development, Tourism and Events Co-ordinator. As Chamber President, I have been lobbying on this issue since the train timetables were revised several years ago.
Thanks also to Steven Micevski from Dungog Station for his continued interest and involvement in this initiative but also in providing us with information about changes and variations in the train services for Dungog Shire.
As this is my final column for 2018, sincere best wishes to everyone for Christmas and the New Year from the Chamber and we look forward to and exciting and prosperous 2019.
President – Dungog District Chamber of Commerce