That gets said a lot but I don't always agree .
You have to take into account how much faster you can go on less steeply graded alignments and calculate the point to point times .
The original idea with the current alignments was for trains to be able to pull heavier loads over the reduced grades .
It works for heavy trains but works against lightly loaded ones .
A good example is when the Bethungra Spiral up road was closed after a derailment for a week or so .
Light trains (for the motive power such as the steelie) flew up the 1:40s pretty much at the track speed .
Tends to work like that when you have 13000 Hp for 1200 tonnes , 400T an engine .
Bit different when you have 2000T an engine and the grades are 1:66 rather than 1:40 .
The down road Coota to Junee is the original single line . The later up road deviated away from the down to reduce the grades at Frampton and Bethungra . Pity the down road was never made Bi Directional , could have best of both .
Lithgow to Bathurst could be more direct as the Western Hwy is but the grades would be much steeper . No problem for Bendy Bus pass trains but those long grades would go forever on freighters .
An example of this is the long climb from Molong up though Borenore almost to Orange East Fork . The track speed is reasonably high but it's not an economic reality to run freighters powered to fly up there .
The majority users Lithgow to Bathurst isn't the Bendy Busses , and road is a cheaper faster option .