Blue Mountains Line

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Blue Mountains Line
TfNSW BMT.svg
Train approaches Zig Zag station.jpg
Overview
Service typeCommuter rail
StatusIn operation
LocaleBlue Mountains and Central West, New South Wales
First service1868 (as part of the Main Western Line)
Current operator(s)NSW TrainLink
Former operator(s)State Rail, CityRail
Ridership10,154,000 passengers in 2019
Route
StartCentral
Stops21
EndBathurst
Line(s) usedMain Western
Technical
Rolling stockNSW TrainLink V set and Endeavour railcar
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification1957 (west to Lithgow)
Track owner(s)Transport Asset Holding Entity
Timetable number(s)BMT

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.

History[edit]

View immediately north of Lithgow station. This is the limit of electric services on the Blue Mountains Line.

The Blue Mountains line is a section of the Main Western line which opened in 1868.[1] 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.[2][3]

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[edit]

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,[4] 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.[5] 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.[6][7] A second Bathurst Bullet return service was introduced on 16 September 2019.[8] 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.[9]

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. [10]

Station upgrades for the Blue Mountains Line
(Completed upgrades are in bold; information accurate as of July 2020)
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 [11]
Glenbrook New lift, new kiss and ride bay, general station refresh, and new bathrooms. Complete December 2019 [12]
Blaxland N/A N/A N/A
Warrimoo N/A N/A N/A
Valley Heights N/A N/A N/A
Springwood N/A N/A N/A
Faulconbridge New lifts, new toilets, general station refresh, upgrades to ramp, accessible car space and kiss and ride bay. Planning Estimated late 2021 [13]
Linden N/A N/A N/A
Woodford N/A (though there have been calls to upgrade this station) N/A N/A [14]
Hazelbrook New toilet, new lift, upgrades to pathways and accessible parking spaces. Complete December 2019 [10][15]
Lawson N/A N/A N/A
Wentworth Falls New lifts, new canopies, new kiss and ride bays, improved forecourt, improvements to toilets and waiting areas. Complete December 2017 [10][16]
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 [17]
Katoomba
  • New commuter carpark and new accessible parking spaces.
  • Platform extension as part of new fleet program, as well as modifications to canopies and platform edges.
  • Complete
  • Complete
  • July 2010
  • July 2020
[10][9][18]
Medlow Bath N/A N/A N/A
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 [19]
Mount Victoria Platform extension as part of new fleet program, as well as modifications to canopies and platform edges. Complete July 2020 [9][18]
Bell N/A N/A N/A
Zig Zag N/A N/A N/A
Lithgow Platform extension as part of new fleet program, as well as modifications to canopies and platform edges. Complete July 2020 [9][18]
Rydal N/A N/A N/A
Tarana N/A N/A N/A
Bathurst N/A N/A N/A

Services[edit]

A V set train at Wentworth Falls station

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[edit]

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,

Darlington, Eveleigh

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
Lapstone Lapstone N/A
Glenbrook Glenbrook
Blaxland Blaxland
Warrimoo Warrimoo
Valley Heights Valley Heights
Springwood Springwood Intermediate terminus, primarily during peak hours.
Faulconbridge Faulconbridge N/A
Linden Linden
Woodford Woodford
Hazelbrook Hazelbrook
Lawson Lawson
Bullaburra Bullaburra
Wentworth Falls Wentworth Falls
Leura Leura
Katoomba Katoomba Major intermediate terminus. Interchange with Regional trains
Medlow Bath Medlow Bath N/A
Blackheath Blackheath
Mount Victoria Mount Victoria Intermediate terminus
Bell Bell Request stop
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
Rydal Rydal N/A
Tarana Tarana
Bathurst Bathurst Terminus for limited Endeavour services.
The Blue Mountains Railway Line showing station altitude vs distance from Central Station

Coach services stop at the following locations:

Patronage[edit]

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.[20]

2019-20 NSW TrainLink Intercity patronage by line
7 670 000
14 197 000
818 000
7 729 000
817 000


References[edit]

  1. ^ "Main West Line". Nswrail.net.
  2. ^ Groves, K. T. (December 1971). "Steam Working over the Blue Mountains: Part I". Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin: 265–280.
  3. ^ Groves, K. T. (January 1974). "Steam Working over the Blue Mountains: Part II". Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin: 1–19.
  4. ^ Miller, Stephen (January 2008). Blue Mountains Electrification - 50 Years Later. Australian Railway History. pp. 1–21.
  5. ^ "Single Deck InterUrban cars". SETS.
  6. ^ "O'Farrell announces daily rail service to Sydney". Western Advocate. 4 June 2012.
  7. ^ "Blue Mountains line timetable". Transport for NSW.
  8. ^ Second Bathurst Bullet service added Transport for NSW 12 August 2019
  9. ^ a b c d NSW, Transport for (7 August 2017). "New Intercity Fleet Springwood to Lithgow Rail Corridor Modifications". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  10. ^ a b c d NSW, Transport for (18 June 2017). "Transport Access Program - completed". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  11. ^ NSW, Transport for (23 May 2019). "Lapstone Station Upgrade". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  12. ^ NSW, Transport for (5 September 2018). "Glenbrook Station Upgrade". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  13. ^ NSW, Transport for (23 May 2019). "Faulconbridge Station Upgrade". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  14. ^ "Calls For Woodford Station Upgrade". Blue Mountains News: Fresh Air Daily. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  15. ^ NSW, Transport for (5 September 2018). "Hazelbrook Station Upgrade". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  16. ^ NSW, Transport for (1 July 2017). "Wentworth Falls Station Upgrade". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  17. ^ NSW, Transport for (30 June 2017). "Leura Station Upgrade". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  18. ^ a b c NSW, Transport for (21 July 2020). "Upgrades to Blue Mountains Line now complete". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  19. ^ NSW, Transport for (23 May 2019). "Blackheath Station Upgrade". www.transport.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  20. ^ "Train Patronage - Monthly Figures". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 7 August 2020.

External links[edit]