Carlingford railway line

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Carlingford railway line
Carlingford - End of Line.jpg
Buffer at the end of the line at Carlingford
LocaleSydney, Australia
ServicesT6 Carlingford Line
Opened17 November 1888[1]
Operator(s)Sydney Trains
Rolling stockS, and M sets
Line length7.19 km[3]
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
ElectrificationOverhead 1500 V DC[2]
Route map

Main Suburban railway line
T6 Carlingford Line
TfNSW T6.svg
Service typeCommuter rail
Current operator(s)Sydney Trains
Ridership512 000 (2016-17)[4]
Service frequency1-2 trains per hour
Line(s) usedCarlingford railway line

The Carlingford railway line is a branch railway line in Sydney, Australia. It was opened from Clyde to Subiaco (later renamed Camellia) in January 1885, then by means of the construction of a bridge across the Parramatta River, to Carlingford in April 1896. The line runs north-south between the suburb of Carlingford and the Main Suburban railway line at Clyde. Passenger services on the line form part of the Sydney Trains commuter rail network and are marketed as the T6 Carlingford Line. The railway line's small catchment, low patronage, short platforms and single track for much of its length mean the T6 generally operates as a shuttle service, with passengers changing at Clyde for T1 North Shore, Northern & Western Line services to the Sydney central business district and Parramatta.[5] Most of the line is planned for conversion to light rail as part of the Parramatta Light Rail network.[6] The remainder of the line will permanently close, apart from a short section which will remain open for use by Sydney Trains.

Line description[edit]

The Carlingford line branches off the Western line at Clyde heading north over Parramatta Road on a level crossing, before heading under the M4 Western Motorway to a station opposite Rosehill Gardens Racecourse. It is a double track line to this point.

Immediately south of Rosehill, the two tracks join, before dividing into two bidirectional tracks, the Sandown line and the Carlingford line. At Rosehill, two platforms are provided, one four-car long platform on the Carlingford line and one platform which is approximately sixteen-cars long on the Sandown line track which is used for special events at the racecourse. During large special events at Rosehill Racecourse, such as horse racing meetings, a charter train is provided to operate a shuttle service with 20-minute frequency between Clyde and Rosehill only.

The line then heads in a north-easterly direction over the Parramatta River to Carlingford. The stations from Camellia to Carlingford consist of a single platform of a sufficient length to accommodate four-car suburban trains. All other stations on the Sydney Trains network are capable of accommodating eight-car trains. There are no crossing loops or any further sections of double track on the line, and thus no capacity for trains to pass each other. The average 12 minute travel time between Clyde and Carlingford allows a theoretical maximum capacity of approximately two trains per hour on this line. The Carlingford line is Sydney's least-used suburban railway line.

T6 interactive map


Name Distance from
Railway line Serving suburbs Other lines
Clyde - Carlingford
Clyde 20.660 km 1882 Main Suburban Clyde, Granville
Rosehill 22.420 km 1888 Carlingford Rosehill
Camellia 22.950 km 1885 Carlingford Camellia
Rydalmere 24.01 km 1896 Carlingford Rydalmere
Dundas 24.84 km 1896 Carlingford Dundas
Telopea 26.34 km 1896 Carlingford Telopea
Carlingford 27.85 km 1896 Carlingford Carlingford


Sign informing drivers about special working between Carlingford and Rosehill

A number of industrial and car storage sidings have been built on the line.[8]

Starting from the Clyde end:

  • Prestressed Concrete Siding: located between Clyde station and the Parramatta Road crossing. Served the railways prestressed concrete manufacturing plant which no longer operates. Currently used to stable an automated track recording vehicle. The junction is on the branch down line with the points facing north (down).
  • Shell Refinery Siding: located between A'Beckett Creek and Rosehill station. The siding and junctions points have been removed. Junction was on the branch up line with the points facing south (up).
  • Rheem Siding and Loop: located at Rydalmere station. Served the Rheem factory. The siding consisted of a short loop line with junctions north and south of the original Rydalmere station and a siding branch into the factory itself at the southern end of the yard. The loop, factory branch and all junctions have been removed. The new Rydalmere station is now situated on the opposite side of the branch line from the original station and occupies the site of the former loop.
  • Electricity Commission Siding: located at the southern end of Carlingford station. The siding was built to move large electrical transformers into the Carlingford Electrical sub-station, one of the major substations distributing electric power to Sydney. The siding and junction points have been removed. The junction was on the run-around loop with the points facing north.
  • Carlingford Produce Siding and Loop: a locomotive run-around loop alongside Carlingford station and a siding serving the Carlingford Produce store. The produce store siding joined the run-around loop at the southern end of the station with the points facing south. The loop and siding, together with all their junctions, have been removed.
  • Carlingford Car Storage Sidings: a two track siding north of Carlingford station connected to both the branch line and the locomotive run-around loop. The sidings and junctions have been removed.


Bridge over the Parramatta River
The Carlingford and Sandown lines

The line was opened in two sections: Clyde to Camellia was opened on 17 November 1888, and Camellia to Carlingford (then known as Pennant Hills) was opened on 20 April 1896.[9] Telopea station was added in 1925. Originally the line was privately owned by two companies: the line from Clyde to Rosehill was owned by John Bennett and the line from Rosehill to Carlingford was owned by the Rosehill Railway Company. The lines were taken over by their bank in 1896, with the Government purchasing the line in 1898 and recommencing services on 1 August 1900.

The line from Clyde to Rosehill was electrified on 12 December 1936. The electrification was extended to Carlingford on 9 August 1959.[10]

In 1996, the original iron lattice bridge over the Parramatta River was replaced. The new bridge only has one track, although it was built to allow a second track to be laid in the future. It sits on the refurbished piers of the original bridge.[11]

In early 2007 the pedestrian crossings at Telopea and Dundas stations were rebuilt. The new automatic crossings provide audible and visual warnings of an approaching train and a short time later close the metal gates.

Over the week of 20 to 26 October 2007, the section of track from Telopea to Carlingford was completely replaced, utilising concrete sleepers instead of timber ones.[12] The section from Telopea to Rosehill was similarly upgraded over the fortnight of 22 June to 3 July 2009.[13] The railway remains on timber sleepers from Rosehill to Clyde.

The line was colour-coded orange in CityRail promotional material until 1991 when it was coded yellow (along with the Western Line). Since 2000, it has been colour-coded dark blue.[14]

Until January 2010, the line carried oil trains to and from the Clyde Refinery on the Sandown line. During October 2016, the Sandown line traffic was officially suspended. A Stop Block was placed on the Sydney side of Access Road level crossing.

Modification proposals[edit]

The line's low frequency and levels of patronage have led to various inquiries and studies into the future of the Carlingford line. A major problem remains the level crossing over Parramatta Road, which holds up traffic when trains travel across the road. Proposals have been made including underground tunnel links to Clyde or Granville stations, or even to replace the line altogether with a more frequent light rail or busway service.[15]

The New South Wales Government originally planned for the Carlingford line to be part of Stage 2 of the Parramatta Rail Link. The plan would have incorporated the majority of the line, with the line between Carlingford and Camellia duplicated. Telopea, Dundas, and Rydalmere stations would also have been duplicated and upgraded to allow eight car trains. Camellia station would have been demolished, Rosehill station closed and replaced by a new underground station with a preliminary name of 'Rosehill/Camellia'. Carlingford station would also have been replaced by a new underground station. Various proposals were put forward, including a three-way underground junction near Carlingford linking the station to the proposed North West Rail Link as well as the line to Chatswood. In 2003, the Minister for Transport, Michael Costa announced that only Stage 1 of the line, from Chatswood to Epping, would be built, and the Carlingford line section indefinitely postponed.

However, on 11 August 2010, the Australian Government promised $2.6 billion towards this project, who, along with the New South Wales Government, would extend the line from Epping to Parramatta via the Carlingford line. Work was to commence in 2011, with a projected 2017 finish. However, following a change of state government at the 2011 election, the project was shelved. A large amount of land lies behind Carlingford station, for future extensions of the line.

Under the Rail Clearways Project, the line was to have a crossing loop constructed at Dundas station and thus increase train frequency to half-hourly throughout the day, however this project was cancelled in November 2008.[16]

In 2013, Parramatta City Council published a feasibility study into a proposed Western Sydney Light Rail network. The study proposed the construction of a light rail line from Parramatta to the Macquarie Centre, running parallel to the Carlingford line between Camelia and Dundas. The report noted that while the future of the railway line was a matter for the state government, conversion of the line to light rail would reduce the cost of the light rail's construction significantly.[17]

In December 2015 the NSW government announced the Camellia – Carlingford section of the line would be converted to light rail, forming a branch of the [Parramatta Light Rail]] network. This would replace the connection to the Sydney Trains network at Clyde with a link to Parramatta and Westmead.[18] Construction was expected to begin in 2018 and be completed by 2023. The Carlingford line will need to be shut down to allow conversion works to take place. The duration of this closure has yet to be decided.[19] Much of the remaining section will be closed permanently. This includes Rosehill station, which is not on the light rail route. The short section between Clyde and the Parramatta Road level crossing will officially remain open for use by Sydney Trains. It is unclear whether Sydney Trains have any plans to use this section. The Sandown line will also be permanently closed.[20]


The following table shows the patronage of Sydney Trains network for the year ending 30 June 2018. The patronage figure is so low the Carlingford Line can barely be seen in the graph.

2017-18 Sydney Trains patronage by line[n.b. 1] [21]
142 853 000

33 301 000
28 178 000
67 935 000
6 677 000
529 000
1 664 000
26 415 000

37 891 000
  1. ^ Figures based on Opal tap on and tap off data.
    = T2 Airport, Inner West & South Line was split into the T2 Inner West & Leppington Line and T8 Airport & South Line in November 2017


  1. ^ Bozier, Rolfe. " – Carlingford Line".
  2. ^ Asset Standards Authority (19 March 2014). RailCorp electrical system general description, version 1.0 (PDF).
  3. ^ Asset Standards Authority (30 April 2015). "Train Operating Conditions (TOC) Manual – Track Diagrams (version 3.0)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Train Patronage - Monthly Figures". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  5. ^ "T6: Carlingford line timetable". Transport for NSW.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ a b "NSW Carlingford Line". Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  8. ^ "NSW Track and Signalling Diagrams", Australian Railway Historical Society (NSW Division)
  9. ^ "NSW Railway Passenger Services 1880-1905" Australian Railway History April 2005
  10. ^ Churchman, Geoffrey (1995). Railway Electrification in Australia & New Zealand. Smithfield: IPL Books. p. 94.
  11. ^ "The Carlingford line's Camelia bridge project" Railway Digest August 1996 pages 12-13
  12. ^ Carlingford line track upgrade CityRail
  13. ^ Carlingford Line track upgrade CityRail
  14. ^ 2000 CityRail map, NSW Rail Historical Timetables
  15. ^ Transport group reveals rail plans for 'Bay Light Express' Sydney Morning Herald 27 January 2010
  16. ^ NSW Minibudget NSW Government November
  17. ^ Western Sydney Light Rail Network Archived 7 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine Parramatta City Council
  18. ^ "Parramatta Light Rail - How the preferred network was chosen". Transport for NSW. Archived from the original on 10 December 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  19. ^ "Parramatta Light Rail – Stage 1: frequently asked questions" (PDF). Transport for NSW. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  20. ^ "Parramatta Light Rail | Stage 1 – Westmead to Carlingford via Camellia: Environmental Impact Statement" (PDF). Transport for NSW. pp. 5–65, 5–66. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  21. ^ "Train Patronage - Monthly Figures". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 14 September 2018.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Carlingford railway line at Wikimedia Commons