Carlingford railway line, Sydney

Carlingford railway line, Sydney

Public transport infrastructure in Sydney
name=Carlingford Line
transport_mode=Commuter rail line
map_colour=Dark blue
line_length=7 km
fleet_names=L, S sets
event_1=Opened to Camellia
event_2=Opened to Carlingford
event_3=Reopened under public ownership
event_4=Telopea station added
event_5=Sandown branch closed and became a freight train line
event_6=Parramatta Rail Link (or the Western Sydney Rail Link area cancelled
The Carlingford Line is a short railway line on the metropolitan CityRail network located in western Sydney, Australia. It travels between Carlingford and Clyde stations in the Greater Western Sydney and the Hills District. It is labelled as dark blue on CityRail's maps and promotional material.

Line description

The Carlingford Line consists of a double track branch line off the Western Line, between Clyde and Carlingford. The line has its own platform at Clyde station, where it crosses over Parramatta Road on a level crossing, before heading under the M4 Western Motorway to a station opposite Rosehill Gardens Racecourse. Immediately south of Rosehill, the two tracks join, before dividing into two bidirectional tracks- the Sandown Line and the Carlingford line. At Rosehill, two platforms are provided- one four-car long platform on the Carlingford Line track and one platform which is approximately sixteen-cars long on the Sandown line track which is used for special events at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse.

The line then heads in a north-easterly direction over the Parramatta River up to Carlingford. There are no crossing loops or any further sections of double track on the line, and thus no capacity for trains to pass each other. The average 12 minute travel time between Clyde and Carlingford allows a theoretical maximum capacity of approximately two trains per hour on this line. CityRail timetabling and low patronage mean that this is never required. It is Sydney's least-used suburban railway line.

The stations between Carlingford and Camellia consist of a single platform of a sufficient length to accommodate four-car suburban trains (most CityRail services consist of eight cars), due to limited power supply on the line. Prior to 2005, Clyde station was an interchange station of the Western, South and Carlingford lines, although under the September 2005 timetable, South line trains no longer stop at Clyde.


The line was opened in two sections: Clyde to Camellia was opened on 17 November 1888, and Camellia to Carlingford (then known as Pennant Hills) was opened on 20 April 1896. [cite web | url=| title=NSW Railway Passenger Services 1880-1905. | publisher=Australian Railway History, April 2005. ARHS NSW Division ] Telopea Station was added in 1925. Originally the line was privately owned by two companies: the line from Clyde to Rosehill was owned by a Mr John Bennett and the line from Rosehill to Carlingford was owned by the Rosehill Railway Company. The lines were taken over by their bank in 1896, with the Government purchasing the line in 1898 and reopening services on 1 August 1900. The line from Clyde to Rosehill was electrified on 12 December 1936. The line from Rosehill to Carlingford was electrified on 9 August 1959. After electrifiction, services were operated by 3 car single deck trains marshalled into Y-Sets, until their final withdrawal in 1993. The line was colour coded orange in CityRail promotional material until 1991 when it was coded yellow (along with the Western Line). In 2000, it was colour coded dark blue [ [ 2000 CityRail map, NSW Rail Historical Timetables] ] in anticipation of its integration into the proposed Parramatta- Chatswood railway line (the Epping- Parramatta portion of which has subsequently been cancelled).Fact|date=April 2007

In early 2007 the pedestrian crossings at Telopea and Dundas stations were rebuilt. The new automatic crossings provide audible and visual warnings of an approaching train and a short time later close the metal gates. Over the week of 20 October to 26 October 2007, the section of track from just south of Telopea station to the Carlingford buffer was completely replaced. [cite web| url=| title=Carlingford line track upgrade| publisher=Rail Corporation NSW| accessdate=2007-11-08| archiveurl=| archivedate=2007-11-08] New concrete sleepers and track replaced what had previously been on timber sleepers. The section of railway from Clyde to Telopea remains laid on timber sleepers.

Parramatta Rail Link and future plans

The State Government originally planned for the Carlingford line to be part of Stage 2 of the Parramatta Rail Link. The plan would have incorporated the majority of the line, where the line between Carlingford and Camellia would have been duplicated. Telopea, Dundas, and Rydalmere stations would also have been duplicated and upgraded to service eight car trains. Camellia station would have been demolished, Rosehill station closed and replaced by a new underground station named 'Rosehill/Camellia'. Carlingford station would also have been replaced by a new underground station. Various proposals were put forward, including a three-way underground junction near Carlingford linking the station to the proposed North West Rail Link as well as the line to Chatswood.

In 2003 the then Minister for Transport, Mr Michael Costa announced that the line would be truncated to its Stage 1 construction from Chatswood to Epping, and the Carlingford line section indefinitely postponed. Recent plans to extend the North West Rail Link from near Beecroft and build the Harbour Rail Link may probably spell the end of these proposals for the Carlingford line.

Various inquiries and studies have been undertaken since on the future of the Carlingford line. A major problem remains the level crossing on Parramatta Road, which holds up peak hour traffic when trains travel across the road. Proposals have been made including underground tunnel links to Clyde or Granville stations, or even to replace the line altogether with a more frequent light rail or busway service.

Under the 2010 Clearways Plan, the line may have a more certain future thanks to a proposal to build a crossing loop at Rydalmere station and thus increase train frequency to half-hourly throughout the day.


Most services operate as a Clyde-Carlingford shuttle. One service in the morning peak hour continues to Central, stopping Lidcombe, Strathfield & Redfern. Another service in the very early morning operates Lidcombe-Carlingford. For all other trains, a change of trains is needed at Clyde station. On racedays at Rosehill racecourse, additional services operate to the Sandown line platform at Rosehill station, and previously stabled on the Sandown branch prior to the removal of the electric cantanery in December 2002.Fact|date=April 2007 From 12 February 2007, most services were weekdays operated using a four car Millennium train [ Railway Digest, April 2007."News in Brief: Millenniums for Carlingford Line" [ ARHS NSW Division] ] , in June 2008 the four car Millennium set was replaced by a three car L set.


* [ New South Wales Railways] - line information
* [ Neety's Train Page] - line & station information
* [ aus.rail newsgroup]

Further Reading

"Railways and Tramways of the Parramatta Hills District - Clyde to Carlingford and Sandown Railways" Singleton, C.C. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, April/May, 1955 pp50-54/57-62

"The Carlingford-Clyde Branch Line" Jenkins, Christopher Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, December, 1974 pp266-283

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