Southern Highlands Line

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Southern Highlands Line
Southern Highlands Line Logo.png
Moss Vale Station.jpg
Endeavour railcar at Moss Vale in December 2008
Service type Intercity rail
Locale Macarthur, Southern Highlands and Southern Tablelands, New South Wales
First service 19 May 1869 (1869-05-19)
Current operator(s) NSW TrainLink
Start Campbelltown, Central
Stops 22
End Goulburn
Distance travelled 224 km (139 mi)
Line used Main South
Rolling stock Endeavour railcar, R Set
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Track owner(s) RailCorp

The Southern Highlands Line is an Intercity rail service operated by NSW TrainLink that services the Macarthur, Southern Highlands and Southern Tablelands regions of New South Wales. First operating in 1869, the service runs from Campbelltown across the Main Southern railway line through to Goulburn, with peak hour services extending the route to Central. The railway service operates alongside a State Transit Authority bus route from Picton to Bowral, operating on the corridor of the Picton – Mittagong loop railway line, and a regional coach service from Bundanoon to Wollongong on the South Coast Line, operating on the corridor of the Unanderra - Moss Vale railway line.

One of only two routes on the NSW TrainLink intercity network to run entirely on non-electrified railway lines, the Southern Highlands Line is operated with a rolling stock solely consisting of Endeavour railcars, with most services only using two cars. The service spans 169 kilometers of railway, making it the most extensive route on the NSW TrainLink network apart from the Blue Mountains Line's Bathurst Bullet service. The route also spans 22 stations, making it also the route with the least amount of stops. An additional 2 stations and 55 kilometers of railway are traveled by Southern Highlands trains at peak hours.


The Main South line opened in stages to Picton in 1863, Moss Vale in 1867 and Goulburn in 1869.[1]

In 1919, a new section of line opened between Picton and Mittagong, with the original section becoming the Picton-Mittagong loop line.[2] Originally a single track line, it was later doubled with the exception of the Picton-Mittagong loop line.


Most services operate between Campbelltown and Moss Vale with a limited number extending to Sydney Central and Goulburn.[3] All services are operated by Endeavour railcars.

Rail replacement bus services operate between Picton and Bowral paralleling the Picton-Mittagong loop line and Bundanoon and Wollongong paralleling the Moss Vale-Unanderra line. A daytime bus service also operates between Moss Vale and Goulburn.[3] Some stations are also served by NSW TrainLink XPT and Xplorer services from Sydney to Canberra, Griffith and Melbourne.[4]

Up until the mid-1990s, most services on the line operated through to Sydney Central. Named trains that operated on the line included the Goulburn Day Train and Southern Highlands Express. In the late 1980s, air-conditioned HUB/RUB carriages were introduced. These would later be joined by Budd and Tulloch carriages and DEB railcars.[5]

In 1994, all were replaced by Endeavour railcars.[6] Most services were altered to operate only as far north as Campbelltown connecting with CityRail electric services to Sydney.

As of 2014-15, the Southern Highlands Line experiences significantly worse peak hour on-time running performance than other suburban and intercity lines.[7]


Name Code
Distance from
Railway Suburbs serviced Connecting Services
Central - Campbelltown (Peak hour services)
Central SYD 0.0 km Main Suburban Sydney, Strawberry Hills,
Ultimo, Surry Hills
Glenfield GFD 41.9 km Main South Glenfield Airport, Inner West & South Line
Cumberland Line
South West Rail Link
Campbelltown - Goulburn
Campbelltown CAM 54.7 km Main South Campbelltown Airport, Inner West & South Line
Cumberland Line
Southern Region
Macarthur MCU 56.5 km Ambarvale, Blair Athol, Glen Alpine Airport, Inner West & South Line
Menangle Park MEK 62.8 km Menangle Park, Gilead
Menangle MGE 65.3 km Menangle
Douglas Park DPK 73.3 km Douglas Park, Wilton
Picton PIC 85.2 km Picton, Maldon Picton-Bowral loop line bus
Tahmoor TAH 94.4 km Tahmoor, Couridjah, Buxton, Thirlmere
Bargo BZG 102.8 km Bargo, Yanderra and Pheasants Nest
Yerrinbool YEB 116.3 km Yerrinbool, Colo Vale, Hill Top, Alpine
Mittagong MIT 131.5 km Mittagong, Braemar, Balaclava,
Willow Vale, Welby, Aylmerton
Picton-Mittagong loop line bus
Southern Region
Bowral BWL 136.3 km Bowral, Berrima, East Bowral Picton-Mittagong loop line bus
Bundanoon - Wollongong Coach
Southern Region
Burradoo BUO 138.8 km Burradoo
Moss Vale MSV 145.7 km Moss Vale, Bong Bong, Robertson,
Sutton Forest, Burrawang
Bundanoon - Wollongong Coach
Southern Region
Exeter EXT 155.8 km Exeter Bundanoon - Wollongong Coach
Bundanoon BUN 162.2 km Bundanoon Bundanoon - Wollongong Coach
Southern Region
Penrose PRS 171.4 km Penrose
Wingello WNE 177.1 km Wingello
Tallong TJG 185.3 km Tallong
Marulan MRX 192.9 km Marulan
Goulburn GUL 224.0 km Goulburn Southern Region

Stopping patterns[edit]


  1. ^ Main South Line
  2. ^ Bayley, William A (197x). Picton-Mittagong Loop Line Railway. Bulli: Austrail Publications. ISBN 0-909597-14-6. 
  3. ^ a b "Southern Highlands line timetable" (PDF). NSW Trainlink. 18 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "Southern timetable" (PDF). NSW Trainlink. 20 October 2013 [Updated 30 June 2014]. 
  5. ^ "Southern Passengers" Railway Digest January 1989 page 21
  6. ^ "New Timetable Sees Demise of Loco-Hauled Services" Railway Digest July 1994
  7. ^ . Audit Office of New South Wales Retrieved 26 November 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Bozier, Rolfe. "New South Wales Railways: NSW Station Codes". Archived from the original on 13 June 2002. Retrieved 23 May 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • "Centenary of the Opening of the Southern Line to Picton", Singleton, C.C. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin July 1963
  • "Centenary of the Opening of the Southern Line to Mittagong", Singleton, C.C. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin March 1967
  • "Centenary of the Opening of the Southern Line to Goulburn", Singleton, C.C. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin May 1969
  • Southern Highlands Express Peter Attenborough, Eveleigh Press 2011 ISBN 978 1 87 656854 2

External links[edit]