Northern Line (Sydney)

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Northern Line
Service typeCommuter rail service
Current operator(s)Sydney Trains
Line(s) used
Rolling stockT, H, A and B sets
Timetable number(s)T9

The Northern Line (numbered T9, coloured red) is a commuter rail line operated by Sydney Trains in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It serves some of Sydney's Inner West and Northern suburbs. It was spun off from the old T1 North Shore, Northern & Western Line as a separate line in April 2019, to distinguish and make it more easily identified from the other T1 services. It is also a reincarnation of the older Northern Line which was under operation until 2013.


Diagram of the Northern Line prior to 2009

Original incarnation (until 2013)[edit]

The traditional Northern Line was the suburban portion of the Main North railway line (Strathfield - Hornsby) which opened in 1886 and was electrified in 1926.[1] When the Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened, it connected railway services from the Main North line and the City underground onto the North Shore line.

Passenger services used to operate as the Main North Line (same name as the physical railway line) and was colour coded red on railway maps. It operated all the way to Cowan, until the service was truncated to Berowra in January 1992.[2][3] The service, along with the North Shore Line service (yellow), later also ran along the North Shore railway line towards the City via the Harbour Bridge, forming a continuous loop via Strathfield, Epping and back to Hornsby.[4]

Diagram of the Northern Line between 2009 and 2013. The line is marked in red.

In later years, the line operated as the Northern Line and ran from Hornsby to North Sydney via Strathfield and the City, with the North Shore line replacing services between Hornsby and Berowra. In February 2009, the Epping to Chatswood rail link was opened. In October 2009, the Northern Line service was integrated with the shuttle service between Epping and Chatswood. As a result, the traditional Northern Line was split in two, with trains from north of Epping operating via the new link, approaching the city via the North Shore Line and rejoining the traditional route before terminating at Epping.

Part of T1 (2013 to 2019)[edit]

In October 2013, the Northern Line, North Shore Line and Western line were merged to form the T1 North Shore, Northern & Western Line, which was colour coded yellow.

On weekdays, trains from the upper Northern Line (Hornsby via Macquarie University) joined up with the Western Line trains towards Richmond or Emu Plains, while trains from the lower Northern Line (Epping via Strathfield) joined up with the North Shore Line trains towards Hornsby or Berowra. On weekends, trains ran similar to prior to merger, where the lower Northern Line trains from Epping continue onto the upper Northern Line trains at Chatswood into Hornsby via Macquarie University.

In September 2018, the Epping to Chatswood line closed in order to be converted to metro standards as part of the Sydney Metro Northwest project. As a result, the traditional Northern line branch from Hornsby to Central via Strathfield was reinstated.[5]

Reincarnation (since 2019)[edit]

On 28 April 2019, as part of the integration with the Sydney Metro Northwest, the Northern Line branch was spin-off from the T1 Line and became a separate T9 Northern Line, though using the same rolling stock.[6][7] The new line runs from Hornsby to Hornsby or Berowra (loop) via Epping, Strathfield, Central, Chatswood and Gordon. Officially (published and used by the Sydney Trains network), the line "terminates" at Gordon, but most services continue on the upper-North Shore, to Hornsby and Berowra. The separated line runs a similar route to the pre-2009 incarnation of the line. It is also similarly colour coded red.


The line begins at Hornsby - a junction station with the North Shore Line. The line heads south to Strathfield via Epping using the Main North Line, crossing the Parramatta River between Rhodes and Meadowbank. At Strathfield, trains usually head onto a flyover over the 'Main lines', before heading east onto the Main Suburban Railway, usually using the middle 'Suburban' pair of the six tracks between Redfern and Strathfield. Trains pass through Redfern and Central, then through the western limb of the City Circle before heading across the Harbour Bridge. Then trains continue north along the North Shore before "terminating" at Gordon (although most services continue onto Hornsby). During the morning peak, trains travel in the following pattern:

  • All stations from Hornsby to Epping, then all stations to Burwood except for Denistone, Concord West and North Strathfield, then terminating at Central.
  • All stations from Epping to Strathfield, then Redfern, Central, and all stations to Gordon, then all stations to Hornsby.

Trains travel in the same manner during the afternoon peak in the opposite direction.

T9 stations
Name Distance from
Railway line Serving suburbs Other lines
Gordon 17.1 km 1890 North Shore Gordon
Killara 15.9 km 1899 Killara, East Killara
Lindfield 14.6 km 1890 Lindfield, East Lindfield
Roseville 13.3 km 1890 Roseville
Chatswood 11.7 km 1890 Chatswood
Artarmon 10.3 km 1898 Artarmon
St Leonards 8.4 km 1890 St Leonards, Naremburn,
Crows Nest, Greenwich, Artarmon
Wollstonecraft 7.2 km 1893 Wollstonecraft, Greenwich
Waverton 6.1 km 1893 Waverton
North Sydney 5.1 km 1932 North Sydney
Milsons Point 4.4 km 1932 Milsons Point, Kirribilli
Wynyard 2.1 km 1932 Sydney CBD, Barangaroo
Town Hall 1.2 km 1932 Sydney CBD
Central 0 km 1855 Haymarket, Chippendale,
Ultimo, Surry Hills
Redfern 1.3 km 1878 Main Suburban Redfern, Waterloo,
Darlington, Eveleigh

(T8 peak hours only)
Burwood 10.6 km 1855 Burwood
Strathfield 11.8 km 1876 Strathfield, Burwood
North Strathfield 13.4 km 1918 Main North North Strathfield, Concord West,
Concord, Homebush
Concord West 14.5 km 1887 Concord West, Liberty Grove, Concord
Rhodes 16.6 km 1886 Rhodes, Liberty Grove
Meadowbank 18.2 km 1887 Meadowbank,
West Ryde, Ryde
West Ryde 19.2 km 1886 West Ryde, Denistone
Denistone 20.2 km 1937 Denistone, Denistone East,
Denistone West, West Ryde
Eastwood 21.4 km 1886 Eastwood
Epping 23.4 km 1886 Epping
Cheltenham 26.8 km 1898 Cheltenham none
Beecroft 28.3 km 1886 Beecroft
Pennant Hills 30 km 1886 Pennant Hills
Thornleigh 30.8 km 1886 Thornleigh, Pennant Hills, Westleigh
Normanhurst 33.1 km 1895 Normanhurst, Thornleigh, Hornsby
Hornsby 35.3 km 1886 Hornsby, Waitara


The following table shows the patronage of Sydney Trains network for the year ending 30 June 2022.

2021–22 Sydney Trains patronage by line[n.b. 1] [11]
41 980 000
23 077 000
11 198 000
27 775 000
3 503 000
605 000
16 879 000
10 415 000
  1. ^ Figures based on Opal tap on and tap off data.


  1. ^ a b c "Main North Line". Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  2. ^ "Historical Map: Sydney Rail Network, Early 1980s". Transit Maps. 5 July 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  3. ^ "CityRail launches new timetable" Railway Digest February 1992 page 45
  4. ^ "Historical Map: Sydney CityRail Network Map, 1992". Transit Maps. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Station Link bus services to connect customers during Metro upgrade". NSW Transport Info. 7 April 2018. Archived from the original on 8 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Service Adjustments 2019". Transport Info NSW. 12 April 2019. Archived from the original on 13 April 2019. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  7. ^ "A new red line through Sydney's rail map". Sydney Morning Herald. 21 February 2019. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  8. ^ a b "NSW North Shore line". Retrieved 3 July 2007.
  9. ^ a b "NSW City Circle". Retrieved 3 July 2007.
  10. ^ a b "NSW Main South line". Retrieved 3 July 2007.
  11. ^ "Train Patronage – Monthly Figures". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 20 August 2022.

Further reading[edit]

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