Railway electrification in Australia

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The Indooroopilly railway station before the refurbishment with the power lines which can be seen over the rail line.

With the electrification of suburban networks, which began in 1919, a consistent electric rail traction standard was not adopted. Electrification began in Melbourne in 1919 using 1.5 kV DC. Sydney's lines were electrified from 1926 using 1.5 kV DC, Brisbane's from 1979 using 25 kV AC, Perth's from 1992 using 25 kV AC and Adelaide's from 2014 using 25 kV AC . There has also been extensive non-urban electrification in Queensland using 25 kV AC, mainly during the 1980s for the coal routes. 25 kV AC voltage has now become the international standard.[1]

New South Wales[edit]

Rail electrification in Sydney commenced in 1926—see Sydney electrification. From 1956 regional lines around Sydney to a radius of approximately 160 km were progressively electrified. Now the entire Sydney metropolitan area, and the intercity lines to Kiama (south), Lithgow (west) and Newcastle (north) are electrified, and are served by EMU trainsets.

Electrification is at 1.5 kV DC.


Queensland has the most extensive electrification in Australia. It includes the entire Brisbane metropolitan area, the North Coast Line to Rockhampton and the central Queensland coalfields.

Electrification is at 25 kV AC.

South Australia[edit]

Rail electrification in South Australia is limited to the Adelaide to Seaford and Adelaide to Tonsley lines. Adelaide's first electric train service commenced on 23 February 2014[2]

Electrification is at 25 kV AC.


There are no electrified railway lines in Tasmania.


Australia's first rail electrification was opened in Melbourne in 1919 - see Railways in Melbourne Electrification. Electrification is limited to the Melbourne metropolitan area. Previous electrification to Traralgon (opened 1956) was removed in 1987.[3] Electrification was subsequently truncated to Pakenham in Melbourne south east.

Electrification is at 1.5 kV DC.

Western Australia[edit]

The first line in Perth was electrified in 1991—see Transperth Trains.

Electrification is at 25 kV AC.

Northern Territory[edit]

There are no electrified railway lines in the Northern Territory.

See also[edit]


  • Churchman, Geoffrey B. (1995). Railway Electrification in Australia and New Zealand. Wellington & Sydney: IPL Books. ISBN 0-908876-79-3. 
  1. ^ IEC 60850:2000 - "Railway Applications. Supply voltages of traction systems"
  2. ^ Lia Harris (2014-02-23). "First electric train on Seaford line rolls into the Adelaide train station". The Advertiser. Retrieved 2015-09-29. 
  3. ^ "Infrastructure: Traralgon". VicSig. Retrieved 2015-09-29. 

External links[edit]