Sydney Trains

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Sydney Trains
Sydney Trains Hop Logo
Sydney Trains A set (Waratah) departing Central Station (2).jpg
Locale Sydney
Transit type Suburban rail & Commuter rail
Number of lines 8
Number of stations 178
Annual ridership 290 million in 2014-15[1]
Website Sydney Trains
Began operation 1 July 2013
System length 815 km (506 mi)[2]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 1500V (DC) overhead line

Sydney Trains is a train operator owned by the New South Wales Government and operates all suburban passenger rail services in Sydney, Australia, maintains the New South Wales Metropolitan Rail Area, and maintains all but a handful of operational railway stations in the state. Sydney Trains is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) statutory authority.[3][4]

The network is a hybrid suburban-commuter railway with a central underground core that serves 178 stations over 815 km of track. The network has 20 hours a day operation with train frequencies of every three minutes or better in the underground core, 5–10 minutes at most major stations all day, 15 minutes at most minor stations all day and four trains an hour on the Cumberland Line. On weekends service is less frequent with headways of upwards of a half hour on outer stations with frequencies of less than 10 minutes in the underground core.[5] Ticketing is provided by the New South Wales MyZone and Opal card systems.


In May 2012 the Minister for Transport announced a restructure of RailCorp.[6][7][8][9] This resulted in all suburban services in the Sydney Metropolitan area bounded by Berowra, Emu Plains, Macarthur and Waterfall transferring from CityRail to Sydney Trains on 1 July 2013. Intercity and Hunter Line services previously operated by

Sydney Trains railway stations are identified with an orange and white T symbol

CityRail are now operated by NSW TrainLink which was also formed as part of the restructure.[4]

In April 2013 the Sydney Trains logo was unveiled.[10] Nicknamed The Hop, the new logo replaced the L7 logo that has been carried on Sydney's trains in various colours since introduced by the Public Transport Commission in the 1970s and was still carried by most trains, even though officially superseded by the Waratah logo in 2009.

In July 2013 Howard Collins OBE the former Chief Operating Officer from London Underground was appointed as Chief Executive of Sydney Train


Rail Lines[edit]

Sydney Trains operates seven suburban lines across metropolitan Sydney.

In conjunction with a new timetable released on 20 October 2013, the Sydney Trains network was reorganised with a new numbering system. The number of lines was reduced from eleven to seven.

Line colour, number and name Between Fleet
North Shore, Northern & Western Line

Central and Berowra via Gordon
Central and Hornsby via Macquarie Park
Central and Emu Plains, Richmond or Epping via Strathfield

K, T, H, A
Airport, Inner West & South Line

City Circle and Macarthur via Revesby and either Sydenham (peak) or Airport
City Circle and Campbelltown via Strathfield and Granville
City Circle and Liverpool via Regents Park (one morning and two evening)

S, K, C, M, A
Bankstown Line City Circle and Liverpool or Lidcombe via Bankstown and Sydenham S, K, C, M, A
Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line Bondi Junction and Waterfall or Cronulla via Central T, H
Cumberland Line Schofields and Campbelltown S, K, C
Carlingford Line Clyde and Carlingford S, K, C, M
Olympic Park Line Lidcombe and Olympic Park, some services operate between Central
and Olympic Park, particularly during special events
S (weekday) M, A (weekend), S, K, C, V, T, M, H, A ( Special)
South West Rail Link Liverpool and Leppington, temporary shuttle service from 8 February 2015 M
Sydney Trains network without South West Rail Link


Main article: NightRide

To provide a passenger service between midnight and 05:00 while leaving the tracks clear of trains for maintenance work, parallel bus services were established in 1989. NightRide services operate typically at hourly intervals (some routes depart more frequently on weekends). NightRide services are contracted to private bus operators, and identified by route numbers beginning with "N". All valid Sydney Trains tickets for a destination (apart from single tickets, which can be purchased from the driver) are accepted on NightRide services.[11]

Network overview[edit]

The concourse of Central Railway Station, the main station on the Sydney Trains network that opened in its present location in 1906

The main hub of the Sydney Trains system is Central station, where most lines start and end. Trains coming from the T2 Airport Line and T3 Bankstown Line, after travelling anti-clockwise on the City Circle sometimes terminate upon arrival at Central and proceed to the Macdonaldtown Turnback. However, most trains continue on and become respective outward bound T2 Inner West and South Line trains. The reverse applies for trains coming from the Inner West and South Lines, which, if not terminating, become outward bound trains on the T2 Airport and T3 Bankstown Lines respectively. In the same manner, most trains on the T1 Western Line and T1 Northern Line become the T1 North Shore and Northern Line once they reach Central. Services on T4 Illawarra line convert to a T4 Eastern Suburbs Line service.



Main article: Sydney Trains fleet
C Set
T Set

Sydney Trains operates a fleet of S (192 carriages), K (160 carriages). C (56 carriages), T (447 carriages), M (140 carriages), and A sets (626 carriages).

The Sydney Trains network is divided into three sectors, based around three maintenance depots.[12] EMU trainsets are identified by target plates, which are exhibited on the front lower nearside of driving carriages.[13] Target designations and set numbers are used in identifying EMU train sets. The composition and formations of train sets, and the target designations are subject to alteration.

Sydney Trains maintenance sectors
Sector # Depot Serviced lines Target plate Fleet
1 Mortdale Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Red T
2 Flemington Airport, Inner West & South, Bankstown, Carlingford, Cumberland and Olympic Park Blue S, K, C, V
3 Hornsby North Shore, Northern & Western Black T, K
4 Eveleigh All Green M, H
5 Auburn All except Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra A

Ticketing and Costs[edit]

Sydney Trains's currently uses two ticketing systems. The Automated Fare Collection System is based on magnetic stripe technology and is interoperable with the Sydney Buses and Sydney Ferries systems. Dating from 1992, it was merged with the products of private bus operators to form MyZone. A replacement smart card system called Opal has been available since April 2014.[14]

Unlike the ticketing systems of other cities in Australia, most of Sydney Trains's ticket prices are calculated on the distance travelled, and were found to be inexpensive by world standards as at December 2003.[15] However, in October 2012, a report published by PwC found the rail system performed poorly compared to many metro services from 27 other major world cities. Sydney was ranked as the fourth-worst public train system, beating only Los Angeles, São Paulo and Johannesburg for operation efficiency and coverage, while being proven to have the most expensive tickets of any major city public transport system. An update to the same Cities of Opportunity report in 2014 - after the roll out of the Opal card - has shown a drop to 2nd most expensive system after London. Despite fares having only seen increases since this roll out, the card does afford regular users 'rewards' such as free train journeys after a certain number of rides and daily cap limits.

Entry to privately owned train stations at Sydney Airport requires a Station Access Fee in addition to the train fare. This station access fee does not apply for Green Square and Mascot.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sydney Trains Facts and Stats". Sydney Trains. 
  2. ^ "Transport for NSW 2013/14 Annual Report" (pdf). Transport for NSW. p. 32. 
  3. ^ Annual Report 30 June 2012 RailCorp
  4. ^ a b About the Reform Sydney Trains
  5. ^ "Timetables". Sydney Trains. 
  6. ^ "RailCorp job cuts first of many: unions" Sydney Morning Herald 15 May 2012
  7. ^ "Ruthless RailCorp reforms planned as middle management axed" Daily Telegraph 15 May 2012
  8. ^ Corporate Plan 2012/13 RailCorp
  9. ^ 700 jobs to go as RailCorp gets the axe Daily Telegraph 16 November 2012
  10. ^ Fixing the Trains: New approach to customer service Transport for NSW 18 April 2013
  11. ^ "Sydney's Waratah trainNightRide". CityRail. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  12. ^ "Train Fleet Maintenance". CityRail. 1 June 2006. Archived from the original on 13 March 2008. Retrieved 18 May 2008. 
  13. ^ Department of Railways, New South Wales: Working of Electric Trains, 1965
  14. ^
  15. ^ Ministerial Inquiry into Sustainable Transport in New South Wales, Transport NSW. December 2003.
  16. ^ "CityRail – Tickets & Fares". RailCorp. 9 June 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2009. 

External links[edit]