In 1976 I was transferred from Tamworth to Lithgow and I met the Central West Express, the premier express train for the west of New South Wales. By that time it was in decline and by 1978 when I was again transferred - this time to Bathurst - it had declined even more.
By the early 1980's it was down to just three cars.
The introduction of the XPTs to the service and a change of destination saw a resurgence of patronage and I can remember standing on the platform at Bathurst waiting to meet my mother who had come up from Sydney on the train and the number of people getting off was amazing - you could hardly move on the platform.
That high level of patronage seemed to remain right through to around 1994. Late that year I put my son on the train in Orange when he was on his way to Sydney to enlist in the army and the train was packed then.
I left New South Wales in 1996 and lost touch with the train but it seems as though patronage is dwindling again. However, it continues to run on a daily return service between Sydney and Dubbo.