|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 Newcastle 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 Newcastle 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 Hunter Line shares its portion of the Main Northern Line with North Western regional services.
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||Railway line||Serving suburbs/towns||Notes|
|Newcastle Interchange||Newcastle||Wickham, Newcastle||Interchange with Central Coast & Newcastle Line|
|Hamilton||Hamilton, Islington, Tighes Hill||Interchange with Central Coast & Newcastle Line|
|Waratah||Main Northern||Waratah, Georgetown, Mayfield, Mayfield East|
|Warabrook (University)||Warabrook, Callaghan|
|Victoria Street||East Maitland|
|East Maitland||East Maitland, Pitnacree, Tenambit|
|High Street||South Maitland, Maitland|
|At Maitland, the line branches. The northern branch is towards Dungog, and the northwestern branch is towards Scone.|
|Telarah||North Coast||Telarah, Rutherford||Terminus of most services|
|Martins Creek||Martins Creek|
|Greta||Greta, North Rothbury|
|Branxton||Branxton, East Branxton|
The following table shows the patronage of each line of the NSW TrainLink Intercity network for the year ending 30 June 2018, based on Opal tap on and tap off data.
|10 168 000||
|19 441 000|
|9 851 000|
|1 059 000|
- "The Great Northern Railway Newcastle to Maitland 150 Years On", Walters, Chris Australian Railway History March 2007 pp83-113
- "Hunter line timetable". Transport for NSW.
- 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
- "Train Patronage - Monthly Figures". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 14 September 2018.