A new state rail timetable is being drawn up as a Hunter community group moves to propose to the government, express services between Sydney and Newcastle.

The Hunter Transport Business Development Group is gathering signatures on a new online survey, asking for express services which will shave half an hour off the Newcastle to Sydney journey.

However, Graham Boyd from the Hunter Commuter Council says the draft doesn’t go far enough.

“We had this service thirty years ago so it’s not as if it’s anything new or as if nothing can be done. The express train should only stop once in Newcastle and once in Hornsby and then Central”

he said.

Meanwhile, concerns have been raised over bio-diversity in Lake Macquarie if the Melbourne to Brisbane high-speed rail is approved.

In a draft submission to the federal government, council staff recommended a tunnel through west Lake Macquarie, or a relocation of route, to reduce effects on residential land at Morisset and Dora Creek.

The corridor is proposed to run for thirty-seven kilometres through a six-hundred and ninety hectare area of west Lake Macquarie.

Lake Macquarie Councillors will vote on the submission tonight.