Blue Mountains Line
|Blue Mountains Line|
|Service type||Commuter rail|
|Locale||Blue Mountains and Central West, New South Wales|
|First service||1868 (as part of the Main Western Line)|
|Current operator(s)||NSW TrainLink|
|Former operator(s)||State Rail, CityRail|
|Ridership||10,154,000 passengers in 2019|
|Line(s) used||Main Western|
|Rolling stock||NSW TrainLink V set and Endeavour railcar|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||1957 (west to Lithgow)|
|Track owner(s)||Transport Asset Holding Entity|
The Blue Mountains Line (BMT) is an inter urban commuter rail service operated by NSW TrainLink serving the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia. The line travels west from Sydney to the major town of Katoomba and on to Mount Victoria, Lithgow and Bathurst. Mount Victoria is the terminus for most electric services, but some services terminate at Lithgow instead. 2 Express services per day in each direction, known as the Bathurst Bullet, extend to the regional city of Bathurst, which is supplemented by road coaches connecting Bathurst to Lithgow. Due to electrification limits at Lithgow, the Bathurst Bullet is run using the Endeavour railcars, which operate on diesel. The Blue Mountains Line operates over a mostly duplicated section of the Main Western line. As such, the tracks are also traversed by the Central West XPT, Outback Xplorer and Indian Pacific passenger services and by freight trains.
The Blue Mountains line is a section of the Main Western line which opened in 1868. The line was built with gradients as steep as 1 in 33 (3%) and curves as sharp as 8 chains (160m). Most of the curves were eased to 12 chains (240m) with duplication.
The line originally ascended the eastern and descended the western sides of the Blue Mountains via a series of zig-zag track sections. The eastern zig zag was by passed by a tunnel in 1892 and the western zig zag (once a tourist railway) was bypassed in 1910 with the Ten Tunnels Deviation.
Electrification and further upgrades
In the 1950s, the line was electrified primarily as a means of easing the haulage of coal freight from the western coalfields to the coastal ports, but a by-product of this programme was the introduction of electric interurban passenger services as far west as Bowenfels, later cut back to Lithgow. Goods trains are now exclusively diesel hauled. Electric passenger services were originally provided by a combination of electric locomotive hauled carriages and single deck electric multiple unit sets (known as U sets), both of which have now been withdrawn and replaced by more modern rolling stock.
In June 2012, New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell announced that services would be extended to Bathurst. The service, commonly known as the Bathurst Bullet, commenced on 21 October 2012. A second Bathurst Bullet return service was introduced on 16 September 2019. Springwood services were previously the only services where an H set train would be scheduled. Due to the width of H sets, they risked striking platforms past Springwood with their outward opening plug doors and tunnels past Katoomba. The last H sets were removed from the line in 2017 and 2018. As the V sets are being replaced by the New Intercity Fleet, which are wider, the loading gauge of the line past Springwood will be increased. This will be done by a combination of carving notches into tunnel walls and reducing required clearances by lowering speed limits.
Station upgrades as part of the Transport Access Program (TAP) were carried out, as well as more minor upgrades. A full list of completed upgrades can be viewed at the TAP's completed projects page, whilst current projects can be viewed here. 
|Station||Upgrade details||Upgrade status||Year completed||Notes|
|Lapstone||New lift, new toilets, general station refresh, upgrades to footbridge and ramp, and new kiss and ride bay.||Planning||Estimated 2021|||
|Glenbrook||New lift, new kiss and ride bay, general station refresh, and new bathrooms.||Complete||December 2019|||
|Faulconbridge||New lifts, new toilets, general station refresh, upgrades to ramp, accessible car space and kiss and ride bay.||Planning||Estimated late 2021|||
|Woodford||N/A (though there have been calls to upgrade this station)||N/A||N/A|||
|Hazelbrook||New toilet, new lift, upgrades to pathways and accessible parking spaces.||Complete||December 2019|||
|Wentworth Falls||New lifts, new canopies, new kiss and ride bays, improved forecourt, improvements to toilets and waiting areas.||Complete||December 2017|||
|Leura||New lift and stairs, new canopy, new taxi rank, new pathway, general station refresh, new kiss and ride bay, and new bicycle facilities.||Complete||February 2018|||
|Blackheath||New lifts, upgrades to taxi rank, kiss and ride bay, accessible parking spaces, general station and platform refresh, new water fountain, removal of pedestrian level crossing, and new bicycle hoops.||Planning||Estimated around 2023|||
|Mount Victoria||Platform extension as part of new fleet program, as well as modifications to canopies and platform edges.||Complete||July 2020|||
|Lithgow||Platform extension as part of new fleet program, as well as modifications to canopies and platform edges.||Complete||July 2020|||
The line is operated entirely by NSW TrainLink V sets. As the electric overhead wiring ends at Lithgow, diesel-electric Endeavour railcars operate the services to and from Bathurst.
All electric Blue Mountains line services start and terminate from the intercity platforms (4-15) of Central (Sydney Terminal) station. During the weekday off-peak, they operate hourly, alternating between services to Mount Victoria and Lithgow. During the morning and afternoon peaks, some express services operate, together with short workings to Springwood and Katoomba.
There are two services each way from Bathurst to Central, known as the Bathurst bullet, mainly catering for commuters working in Sydney. Two services run toward Central in the morning and return in the afternoon. Two shuttle services operate from Lithgow to Bathurst in the early morning and return to Lithgow late at night. Some of these diesel services operate to different times on Wednesdays to allow for the Indian Pacific.
Some off-peak electric interurban services on the line only consist of four carriages, with peak hour services usually consisting of eight carriages. Regional diesel services on the line consist of two carriages.
Blue Mountains line stations
|Name||Railway line||Serving suburbs/towns||Notes|
|Central||Main Suburban||Sydney CBD, Chippendale, Strawberry Hills, Ultimo, Surry Hills||Transport hub featuring Sydney Trains, other Intercity trains, |
Regional trains, buses and light rail
|Redfern||Redfern, Waterloo,||Interchange with Sydney Trains
Selected peak hour services only
|Strathfield||Strathfield||Transport hub featuring Sydney Trains, other Intercity trains, |
Regional trains and buses.
|Parramatta||Main Western||Parramatta||Interchange with Sydney Trains and Regional trains.|
|Westmead||Westmead||Interchange with Sydney Trains
Bathurst Bullet only
|Blacktown||Blacktown||Interchange with Sydney Trains|
|Penrith||Penrith||Interchange with Sydney Trains and Regional trains|
|Emu Plains||Emu Plains, Emu Heights||End of the Sydney Trains network|
|Valley Heights||Valley Heights|
|Springwood||Springwood||Intermediate terminus, primarily during peak hours.|
|Wentworth Falls||Wentworth Falls|
|Katoomba||Katoomba||Major intermediate terminus. Interchange with Regional trains|
|Medlow Bath||Medlow Bath||N/A|
|Mount Victoria||Mount Victoria||Intermediate terminus|
|Zig Zag||N/A||Request stop, alight for Zig Zag Railway museum,
No service on weekday nights.
|Lithgow||Lithgow||Terminus for Electric Services. Interchange with Regional trains|
|Bathurst||Bathurst||Terminus for limited Endeavour services.|
Coach services stop at the following locations:
The following table shows the patronage of each line of the NSW TrainLink Intercity network for the year ending 30 June 2020, based on Opal tap on and tap off data.
|7 670 000|
|14 197 000|
|7 729 000|
- "Main West Line". Nswrail.net.
- Groves, K. T. (December 1971). "Steam Working over the Blue Mountains: Part I". Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin: 265–280.
- Groves, K. T. (January 1974). "Steam Working over the Blue Mountains: Part II". Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin: 1–19.
- Miller, Stephen (January 2008). Blue Mountains Electrification - 50 Years Later. Australian Railway History. pp. 1–21.
- "Single Deck InterUrban cars". SETS.
- "O'Farrell announces daily rail service to Sydney". Western Advocate. 4 June 2012.
- "Blue Mountains line timetable". Transport for NSW.
- Second Bathurst Bullet service added Transport for NSW 12 August 2019
- NSW, Transport for (7 August 2017). "New Intercity Fleet Springwood to Lithgow Rail Corridor Modifications". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
- NSW, Transport for (18 June 2017). "Transport Access Program - completed". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
- NSW, Transport for (23 May 2019). "Lapstone Station Upgrade". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
- NSW, Transport for (5 September 2018). "Glenbrook Station Upgrade". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
- NSW, Transport for (23 May 2019). "Faulconbridge Station Upgrade". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
- "Calls For Woodford Station Upgrade". Blue Mountains News: Fresh Air Daily. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
- NSW, Transport for (5 September 2018). "Hazelbrook Station Upgrade". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
- NSW, Transport for (1 July 2017). "Wentworth Falls Station Upgrade". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
- NSW, Transport for (30 June 2017). "Leura Station Upgrade". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
- NSW, Transport for (21 July 2020). "Upgrades to Blue Mountains Line now complete". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
- NSW, Transport for (23 May 2019). "Blackheath Station Upgrade". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
- "Train Patronage - Monthly Figures". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 7 August 2020.