|Service type||Intercity rail|
|Locale||Hunter Region, New South Wales|
|Current operator(s)||NSW TrainLink|
|Rolling stock||Endeavour & Hunter & railcars|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The Hunter Line is a NSW TrainLink passenger train service that operates from Hamilton to Dungog and Scone in the New South Wales Hunter Region. It operates on the Newcastle, Main North and North Coast lines.
History and features
Hunter Line services operate from Hamilton station on the Newcastle branch line to Islington Junction, the Main North line between Islington Junction and Scone, the North Coast line between Maitland and Dungog.
The Main North line, formerly known as the Great Northern Railway (GNR), was the original mainline between Sydney and Brisbane. This line, which ran via Armidale and required a change of train due to the break-of-gauge at Wallangarra, was opened to East Maitland in 1857 and Maitland in 1858. It reached Singleton in 1863, Muswellbrook in 1869, and Scone in 1871.
The GNR was then extended beyond Scone to West Tamworth in 1878, Armidale in 1883, and reached the Queensland border at Wallangarra in 1888. The North Coast line to Brisbane, via the North Coast was opened in stages between 1905 and 1930, but a ferry carried trains across the Clarence River until the Grafton Bridge was completed in 1932. The Newcastle rail network remained independent of the main network radiating from Sydney until 1889, when the line between Sydney and Newcastle was completed with the opening of the Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge. Thus Newcastle was connected by rail with Wallangarra before it was connected with Sydney, such was the difficulty and expense of reaching and bridging the Hawkesbury River.
Until 2007, 620/720 class railcars operated the service. The line was the last in Australia to have a regular steam hauled passenger service. The final service was hauled from Newcastle to Singleton on 24 July 1971 by 3246. Diesel locomotive hauled services operated until replaced by 620/720 and 660/760 class railcars in 1984.
Trains that service the line have two carriages, while some peak hour services have four carriages. There are no quiet carriages on these trains.
|Name of Station||Code||Serving Suburbs||Pattern stops at this station||Connections|
|Hamilton||HMN||Hamilton, Islington, Tighes Hill||■ Central Coast & Newcastle Line|
|Waratah||WTH||Waratah, Georgetown, Mayfield, Mayfield East|
|Victoria Street||VST||East Maitland|
|East Maitland||EAM||East Maitland, Pitnacree, Tenambit|
|High Street||HGH||South Maitland, Maitland|
|Martins Creek||MCR||Martins Creek|
|Greta||GTA||Greta, North Rothbury|
|Branxton||BNX||Branxton, East Branxton|
All stations on this line are within MyMulti zone 3. Stations between Newcastle and Telarah are also within the Green Newcastle TravelPass zone, which remained available until 20 November 2014, despite the replacement of the Sydney TravelPass system with the MyMulti ticket. It was withdrawn in conjunction with the Newcastle Buses & Ferries Opal card rollout.
- Pattern 1: Hamilton, all to Telarah and vice versa (peak and off-peak).
- Pattern 2: Hamilton, all to Warabrook, then Beresfield, Thornton, Metford, Victoria Street, Maitland and Telarah and vice versa (peak and off-peak – weekdays only).
- Pattern 3: Hamilton all to Maitland and vice versa (one afternoon off-peak service on weekdays, two services on weekends).
- Pattern 4: Hamilton, all to Warabrook, then Beresfield, Thornton, Metford, Victoria Street, Maitland, Telarah, Paterson and all stations to Dungog and vice versa (peak and off-peak, 5 services a day on weekdays, 3 services a day on Saturdays, 2 services a day on Sundays).
- Pattern 5: Hamilton, all to Warabrook, then Beresfield, Thornton, Metford, Victoria Street, Maitland, and all stations to Scone and vice versa (peak and off-peak, 2 services (1 afternoon peak hour, 1 evening peak hour) on weekdays, 1 evening service on weekends).
- Pattern 6: Hamilton, all to Scone (1 early morning service on weekdays and weekends), then using Pattern 5 back to Hamilton
- Pattern 7: Hamilton, all to Warabrook, then Beresfield, Thornton, Metford, Victoria Street, Maitland and all stations to Muswellbrook and vice versa (one mid-morning off-peak service on weekdays only).
- "The Great Northern Railway Newcastle to Maitland 150 Years On", Walters, Chris Australian Railway History March 2007 pp83-113
- "Hunter line timetable" (PDF). NSW Trainlink. 18 April 2015.
- Inquiry in Planning Process in Newcastle and the Broader Hunter Region NSW Parliament 23 October 2014
- Upcoming transport changes in Newcastle Archived 9 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Transport Info NSW 8 December 2014
- Getting on with modernising public transport as 11 paper tickets in Newcastle retired Transport for NSW 31 October 2014