Carlingford railway line

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Carlingford railway line
Rydalmere railway station, from Victoria Road.JPG
The Carlingford line as viewed from Rydalmere station
LocaleSydney, Australia
ServicesT6 Carlingford Line
Operator(s)Sydney Trains
Ridership569,000 (2018/19)
Opened17 November 1888 to Camellia
Extended to Carlingford20 April 1896
Electrified to Rosehill12 December 1936
Electrified to Carlingford9 August 1959
Closed5 January 2020
Line length7.19 kilometres
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge
ElectrificationOverhead 1500 V DC
Route map

Main Suburban railway line

The Carlingford railway line was a 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. It closed on 5 January 2020 with much of the line to be converted to light rail as part of the Parramatta Light Rail network, while a short section of the line was retained for use by Sydney Trains.

Line description[edit]

The Carlingford line branched off the Western line at Clyde heading north and crossing Parramatta Road via a level crossing, before passing under the M4 Western Motorway to Rosehill station. It was a double track line to this point.

Immediately south of Rosehill, the two tracks joined, before dividing into two bi-directional tracks, the Sandown line and the Carlingford line. Rosehill station had two platforms; one four-car long platform on the Carlingford line and one platform which was approximately sixteen-cars long on the Sandown line track which was used for special events at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse.

Originally these operated as conventional platforms; the shorter platform being served by northbound services and the longer one by southbound services with the double track merging into a single track to the north of the station. However on race days, the shorter platform would be served by services in both directions to allow for the section immediately north of the station on the southbound track to stable race day trains. In June 1992 the junction was moved to south of Rosehill station with the shorter platform served by Calingford line services in both directions and the longer platform only by race day trains and Sandown line services.[1][2]

The line then headed in a north-easterly direction over the Parramatta River to Carlingford. The stations from Camellia to Carlingford consisted of a single platform of a sufficient length to accommodate four-carriage trains. There were no crossing loops or any further sections of double track on the line, and thus no capacity for trains to pass each other.

There were no signals past Rosehill, meaning the entire section of line was one block, meaning only one train could be in this section at any time. Trains entering or exiting this block were detected using an axle counter. The section between Rosehill and Clyde was controlled using conventional track circuits and signals.

T6 interactive map


Name Distance from
Railway line Suburbs served Other lines
Clyde - Carlingford
Clyde 20.66 km 1882 Main Suburban Clyde, Granville
Rosehill 22.42 km 1888 Carlingford Rosehill
Camellia 22.95 km 1885 Carlingford Camellia
Rydalmere 24.01 km 1896 Carlingford Rydalmere
Dundas 24.84 km 1896 Carlingford Dundas
Telopea 26.34 km 1925 Carlingford Telopea
Carlingford 27.85 km 1896 Carlingford Carlingford


Sign giving permission for terminating trains to proceed from Carlingford, as there are no signals past Rosehill.

A number of industrial and car storage sidings have been built on the line.[4]

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.[5] 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 was duplicated to just south of Camellia station on 19 June 1902.[6][7]

The line from Clyde to Rosehill was electrified on 12 December 1936. The electrification was extended to Carlingford on 9 August 1959.[8][9][10] Passenger services to Sandown ceased on 19 December 1991.[11]

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.[12]

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.[13] The section from Telopea to Rosehill was similarly upgraded over the fortnight of 22 June to 3 July 2009.[14][dead link] 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). From 2000 it has been colour-coded dark blue.[15]

Until June 2010, the line carried oil trains to and from the Clyde Refinery on the Sandown line.[16] In October 2016, 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 low level of patronage led to various inquiries and studies into its future. A major problem was the level crossing over Parramatta Road, which held up traffic when trains travelled across it. Proposals included tunnel links to Clyde or Granville stations, or replacing the line altogether with a more frequent light rail or busway service.[17]

The New South Wales Government originally planned for the Carlingford line to be part of Stage 2 of the Parramatta Rail Link. That plan would have incorporated the majority of the line, with the section 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, and 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 an 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, but the Carlingford line section was indefinitely postponed.

Under the Rail Clearways Project, announced in 2004, the line was to have had a crossing loop at Rydalmere, thus allowing an increase in train frequency to half-hourly throughout the day. However, that part of the Clearways Project was cancelled in November 2008.[18][19]

In August 2010, the Federal Government promised $2.6 billion towards the project, which, along with funding from the New South Wales Government, would have allowed the line to be extended from Epping to Parramatta via the Carlingford line. Work was to commence in 2011, with a projected 2017 finish. Following a change of government at the 2011 state election, the project was shelved. A large amount of land lies behind Carlingford station, for future extensions of the line.

Parramatta Light Rail[edit]

In 2013, Parramatta City Council published a feasibility study into a 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.[20]

In December 2015, the NSW government announced the Camellia to Carlingford section of the line would be converted to light rail, forming a branch of the Parramatta Light Rail network. That would replace the connection to the Sydney Trains network at Clyde with a link to Parramatta and Westmead.[21] As a consequence, the Carlingford line north of Parramatta Road was closed on 5 January 2020 to allow conversion works to take place. [22][23] Much of the remaining section closed permanently. That included Rosehill station, which is not on the light rail route. The short section between Clyde and the Parramatta Road level crossing will remain open to allow access to Sydney Trains' track inspection depot.[24] The Sandown line was formally closed in July 2019.[22][25] A replacement bus service, the route 535, was introduced from Parramatta to Carlingford, and is operated by Hillsbus.[26][27][28] The level crossing across Parramatta Road was removed in late January 2020.[29]


In its last years, all services on the line operated as shuttle services from Clyde.[30] A few peak hour services operated to and from Central, but these had been withdrawn years before the line closed.[31] With annual patronage of 569,000 for the year 2019, the Carlingford line was Sydney's least-used suburban railway line.

The following table shows the patronage of Sydney Trains network for the year ending 30 June 2020.

2019–20 Sydney Trains patronage by line[n.b. 1] [32]
88 073 000
46 992 000
23 287 000
55 784 000
6 854 000
294 000
1 244 000
37 650 000
21 765 000
  1. ^ Figures based on Opal tap on and tap off data.
    = T6 Carlingford Line ceased operations in January 2020. Figure exclude rail replacement bus 535.


Very little of the line remains as of May 2020 as the tracks and overhead wiring were removed in January 2020 with the stations at Rydalmere, Telopea, Camellia and Carlingford demolished in April/May 2020. The only remnants of the railway that will be left and integrated with the light rail are the Parramatta River bridge at Rydalmere and the former Dundas Station building.[33]

Rolling stock[edit]

Prior to the line being electrified, services were hauled by Z13 and Z20 class locomotives.[34] Some services were operated by CPH railmotors.[7][35] Electric services were operated by Standard suburban carriages and Sputnik Carriages then S sets in two and later four carriage formations from 1993 to 2019 then finally K and M sets from July 2019 to the line's closure. Set M30 held the honour of running the final revenue service for the T6 Carlingford Line. [36]


  1. ^ Signalling & Safeworking Railway Digest August 1992 page 312
  2. ^ Camellia Railway Digest September 1992 pages 338-341
  3. ^ a b Carlingford Line
  4. ^ "NSW Track and Signalling Diagrams", Australian Railway Historical Society (NSW Division)
  5. ^ "NSW Railway Passenger Services 1880-1905" Australian Railway History April 2005
  6. ^ Railways and Tramways of the Parramatta Hills District Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin issue 210 April 1955 pages 50-54, 57-62
  7. ^ a b The Carlingford-Clyde Branch Line Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin issue 446 December 1974 pages 266-283
  8. ^ Electrification from Clyde to Carlingford Railway Gazette 17 October 1958 page 476
  9. ^ Carlingford Opened Electric Traction September 1959 page 12
  10. ^ Churchman, Geoffrey (1995). Railway Electrification in Australia & New Zealand. Smithfield: IPL Books. p. 94.
  11. ^ "Cityrail launches new timetable". Railway Digest (February 1992): 45. 1992.
  12. ^ The Carlingford line's Camelia bridge project Railway Digest August 1996 pages 12/13
  13. ^ Carlingford line track upgrade CityRail
  14. ^ Carlingford Line track upgrade CityRail
  15. ^ Network Map CityRail
  16. ^ Sandown: End of the Line Railway Digest September 2010 page 24
  17. ^ Transport group reveals rail plans for 'Bay Light Express' Sydney Morning Herald 27 January 2010
  18. ^ "Rail Clearways for Sydney". Transit Australia. September 2004. p.284
  19. ^ NSW Minibudget NSW Government November 2008
  20. ^ Western Sydney Light Rail Network Archived 7 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine Parramatta City Council
  21. ^ "Parramatta Light Rail". Transport for NSW. 23 July 2018. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  22. ^ a b "Transport Administration (Authority To Close Railway Lines – Carlingford And Sandown Lines) Order 2019 (66)" (PDF). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales. 28 June 2019. p. 2269. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  23. ^ "Parramatta Light Rail – Stage 1: frequently asked questions" (PDF). Transport for NSW. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  24. ^ "Stage 1 of the Parramatta Light Rail". Parramatta Light Rail. Archived from the original on 29 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  25. ^ "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.
  26. ^ "Carlingford line to close early next year". Railway Digest. November 2019. p.15
  27. ^ Route 535 timetable Transport Info
  28. ^ "T6 Carlingford Line to close 5 January 2020". Parramatta Light Rail. 9 October 2019. Archived from the original on 24 November 2019. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  29. ^ "Boom! Gates are gone on Parramatta Road". Parramatta Light Rail. 29 January 2020. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  30. ^ T6 Carlingford Line timetable Transport for NSW 8 September 2019
  31. ^ T6 Carlingford Line timetable CityRail 2004
  32. ^ "Train Patronage - Monthly Figures". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  33. ^ Wood, Brenden (14 April 2020). "Sydney's newest ghost train platforms". Medium. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  34. ^ Preston, Ron G (1984). Tender into Tank. Sydney: New South Wales Rail Transport Museum. pp. 59, 151, 177. ISBN 0 909862 18 4.
  35. ^ Cooke, David (1984). Railmotors and XPTs. Australian Railway Historical Society. p. 29. ISBN 0 909650 23 3.
  36. ^ Two Car Suburban Electrics Re-Introduced Railway Digest December 1976 page 231

External links[edit]

Media related to Carlingford railway line at Wikimedia Commons