Sydney Trains

Sydney Trains Hop Logo

Sydney Trains S set train at Museum Station
Sydney Trains S set at Museum station
Locale Sydney Metropolitan Area
Transit type Commuter rail
Number of lines 11
Number of stations 176
Began operation 26 September 1855
    (first section of railway)
17 October 1988
    (as part of CityRail)[1]
1 July 2013
    (as Sydney Trains)
Operator(s) Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
standard gauge
Electrification 1500V (DC) overhead line

Sydney Trains is a passenger train operator with services extending across the Sydney Metropolitan area. The current operator is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for New South Wales, the statutory corporation owned by the Government of New South Wales and responsible for most elements of the transport network across the state. The Sydney Trains network is electrified with 1,500 V DC supplied by overhead wire and operated entirely by double-deck electric multiple units. The network is incorporated in the New South Wales MyZone ticketing system and the Opal ticketing system.

Construction of the rail network began 3 July 1850 with the first services beginning in 1855. The Sydney Trains network was formerly part of the Cityrail system from 1989-2013. The network consists of 176 stations extending north to Berowra, south to Waterfall and Macarthur and west to Emu Plains.


Sydney Trains' origins go as far back as 1855 when the first public railway in New South Wales opened between Sydney and Granville, now a suburb of Sydney but then a major agricultural centre. The railway formed the basis of the New South Wales Government Railways. Passenger and freight services were operated from the beginning.

The city's railway system quickly expanded from the outset with lines radiating from Sydney into the interior of New South Wales, with frequent passenger railway services in the suburban areas of Sydney. All services were powered by steam locomotives, though in the 1920s petrol railcars were introduced for minor branch lines with low passenger numbers in metropolitan Sydney.

Sydney Trains' system is to some extent the result of the vision and foresight of John Bradfield, one of Australia's most respected and famous civil engineers. He was involved in the design and construction of Sydney's underground railways in the 1920s and 1930s, but he is more famous for the associated design and construction of Sydney's greatest icon, the Sydney Harbour Bridge.


New South Wales uses an overhead electrification system at 1500 volts direct current.[2] Whilst inferior to and more expensive than modern single phase alternating current equipment, it was in vogue during the 1920s and is generally sufficient for the operation of electric multiple unit trains. However, the introduction of powerful electric locomotives in the 1950s, followed by the Millenium train in 2002, revealed drawbacks in this antiquated system of electrification. As the voltage is relatively low, high currents are required to supply a given amount of power, which necessitates the use of very heavy duty cabling and substation equipment. Until the retirement of electric locomotives from freight service in the 1990s, it was often necessary to observe a "power margin" to ensure that substations were not overloaded. This situation was similar to that which applied to The Milwaukee Road's 3,000 VDC electrification.

Electrification came to Sydney's suburbs in 1926 with the first electric service running between Central station and Oatley on the Illawarra line. In the same year, the first underground railway was constructed north from Central station to St James in Sydney's central business district. Electric trains that had previously terminated at Central station continued north, diving underground at the Goulburn Street tunnel portal, stopping at Museum station and then terminating at St James.[3] Other lines were soon electrified. Also, in conjunction with the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge which opened in 1932, an additional underground line was constructed, connecting the North Shore line with Central station via two stations, Wynyard and Town Hall.

When CityRail took over operating the network from the State Rail Authority it was part way through taking delivery of 450 Tangara carriages. These would see the last single deck suburban sets withdrawn in 1992 and the last U set interurban sets in 1996.[4][5]

Post 2000Edit

In May 2000 the Airport & East Hills line opened.[6] In July 2002 the first of 141 CityRail M set carriages entered service.[7]

In December 2006 the first of 221 Oscar carriages entered service.[8] In February 2009 the Epping to Chatswood railway line opened with shuttle services.[9] being integrated into the Northern line service in October 2009.

In July 2011 the first Waratah trains entered service to replace the S sets.[10]

In May 2012 the Minister for Transport announced a restructure of RailCorp.[11][12][13][14] This resulted in all services in the Sydney Metropolitan area bounded by Berowra, Richmond, Emu Plains, Macarthur and Waterfall transferring from CityRail to Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink on 1 July 2013.[15]

Sydney Trains is also responsible for granting access to, and maintaining the Main Northern line as far as Berowra, the Main Western line as far as Emu Plains, the Main Southern line as far as Macarthur, the Illawarra line as far as Waterfall as well as the other lines wholly within the Sydney metropolitan area except the Metropolitan Goods and Southern Sydney Freight Lines.

In April 2013 the Sydney Trains logo was unveiled.[16] 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.


Sydney Trains operates seven suburban lines, plus a late night NightRide bus service across metropolitan Sydney that is contracted out to private bus companies.

Line Between
T1 Emu Plains or Richmond to Berowra and Hornsby via Chatswood, Epping, Strathfield, Central and Macquarie Park
T2 City Circle and Macarthur via Sydenham (peak only), Wolli Creek or Granville
T3 City Circle and Liverpool or Lidcombe via Bankstown
T4 Bondi Junction and Waterfall or Cronulla
T5 Schofields and Leppington
T6 Clyde and Carlingford, with limited services to Lidcombe and Central
T7 Lidcombe and Olympic Park, some services operate between Central and Olympic Park, particularly during special events


Sydney Trains inherited a fleet of S (192 carriages), K (160 carriages). C (56 carriages), T (447 carriages), M (141 carriages), H (220 carriages), A sets (626 carriages) and B sets (192 Carriages)


  1. Sydney's Transport Sketchbook. "Cityrail – The Brand We Loved to Hate", Sydney's Transport Sketchbook, 1 June 2013. Retrieved on 1 July 2013.
  2. Template:Cite web
  3. Jubilee of Sydney's Electric Trains Brady, I.A. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, March 1976 pp41-66
  4. "U-Boats...A Tribute" Railway Digest November 1996 page 43
  5. "The Demise of the U Sets" Railway Digest March 1997 page 38
  6. About Airport Link Company Airport Link
  7. Performance Audit - The Millennium Train Project Audit Office of New South Wales June 2003
  8. Template:Cite web
  9. Template:Cite web
  10. Preening Waratah makes its entrance Sydney Morning Herald 2 July 2011
  11. "RailCorp job cuts first of many: unions" Sydney Morning Herald 15 May 2012
  12. "Ruthless RailCorp reforms planned as middle management axed" Daily Telegraph 15 May 2012
  13. Corporate Plan 2012/13 RailCorp
  14. 700 jobs to go as RailCorp gets the axe Daily Telegraph 16 November 2012
  15. About the Reform Sydney Trains
  16. Fixing the Trains: New approach to customer service Transport for NSW 18 April 2013