The Bankstown Line (numbered T3, coloured orange) is a commuter rail line operated by Sydney Trains in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It serves Canterbury-Bankstown and parts of the Inner West and Western Sydney. The Bankstown railway line is the physical railway line which carries the section of the Bankstown Line between Sydenham and Birrong.
|Service type||Commuter rail|
|Locale||Sydney, New South Wales|
|First service||15 October 1884|
|Current operator(s)||Sydney Trains|
|Line(s) used||Bankstown railway line|
|Rolling stock||A & B, M, C, K|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
Railway line history
The Bankstown railway line opened between Sydenham on the Illawarra railway line and Belmore in 1895. This was the second solely suburban line to open in Sydney, following the North Shore railway line in 1890–all other rail lines were mainlines carrying traffic into and out of Sydney. In 1909, the line was extended to Bankstown, with intermediate stations at Lakemba and Punchbowl. In 1916, the Metropolitan Goods Line was constructed, running parallel to the Bankstown Line between Marrickville and Campsie. A second extension, from Bankstown to Birrong, opened in 1928. This provided connections to the main suburban railway at Lidcombe and the main south line to Liverpool. A new station between Lakemba and Punchbowl at Wiley Park opened in 1938.
In 1926 the Bankstown Line became the second line in Sydney to be electrified and a maintenance depot was constructed at Punchbowl. Electrification was extended from Bankstown to Regents Park in 1939. The Punchbowl Maintenance Depot closed in 1994.
In January 2006 a four-year project to upgrade the line was completed. The work included the resleepering of the entire line, replacing the former wooden sleepers with the more durable concrete ones, replacement and upgrade of the signalling, and also replacement of the ageing catenary, mostly with the more modern double contact wire variety. The lengthy upgrade process was noted for its "January Closedowns", in which the entire line was closed in January for the bulk of the upgrade work to take place.
Commuter line history
Electric passenger services operated along the Bankstown Line to Wynyard station until the 1956 opening of Circular Quay station and the completion of the City Circle. In 1979 with the opening of the Eastern Suburbs line the direction around the City Circle reversed with trips from Bankstown going to St James first and vice versa.
Operation of the Bankstown Line had been tied to the operation of all stations services on the Main Suburban railway line between Lidcombe and the City (marketed as the Inner West Line). Services consisted of a mixture of "Bankstown loop" trains (City - Sydenham - Bankstown - Lidcombe - Strathfield - City) and trains from both sides of the loop (Birrong or Regents Park) heading to Sefton and then further west. Until the early 2000s, a number of Bankstown trains continued via the Western Line to Blacktown via Granville and Parramatta.
A new timetable released in October 2013 broke the loop between the two lines. As part of the Rail Clearways Program, new turnbacks were constructed at Lidcombe and Homebush to allow the separation of both lines and increase their reliability and frequency. Services were also changed to operate mostly around the City Circle via Town Hall on weekdays (rather than via Museum). As part of the timetable change, a new numbering system was also introduced and the line was given the number T3. A sextuplication project between Erskinevile and Sydenham was also proposed as part of the Rail Clearways Program, but was cancelled in 2011. It was intended to separate Bankstown line services from those operating towards East Hills. The 2013 timetable see most East Hills line trains using the Airport line to access the city.
Sydney Metro City & Southwest is a plan to convert the Sydenham to Bankstown section of the line to use single deck metro trains. A new tunnel will be constructed between Sydenham and Chatswood, for access to the city. The stations at St Peters, Erskineville and the Bankstown to Liverpool / Lidcombe sections of the line will not be served by the metro; customers from stations west of Bankstown will be required to interchange at Lidcombe / Bankstown / Cabramatta.
Description of line
The Bankstown line begins at Sydenham railway station on the Illawarra line. The line branches at Sydenham Junction and passes in a westwards direction to Bankstown, where it heads north to Birrong. Between Marrickville and Campsie, the Metropolitan Goods line runs in parallel. At Birrong, the line meets the Main South Line which runs from Lidcombe to Cabramatta via Regents Park.
Commuter line route
Passenger services begin at Town Hall station on the City Circle. Most services operate around the City Circle in a clockwise direction to Central, then through Redfern. However both inbound and outbound trains can also travel in the counterwise direction around the City Circle, as of the November 2017 timetable. Trains usually operate on the 'Illawarra local' (western pair) tracks between Redfern and Sydenham, serving St Peters and Erskineville stations. Just north of Sydenham, all trains take the turnout onto the 'Bankstown' tracks. At Sefton Park Junction (west of Birrong), about half of the Bankstown line trains continue north to Lidcombe. The other half goes west to Liverpool.
T3 route diagram
||Railway line||Serving suburbs||Other lines|
|Town Hall - Birrong|
|Town Hall||1.2 km||1932||City Circle||Sydney, Darling Harbour|
|Wynyard||2.1 km||1932||Sydney, The Rocks, Millers Point|
|Circular Quay||3.0 km||1956||Circular Quay, Sydney
The Rocks, Millers Point
|Central||0 km||1855||Central, Strawberry Hills
Ultimo, Surrey Hills
|Redfern||1.3 km||1878||Illawarra||Redfern, Waterloo, Darlington
The University of Sydney
(T8 peak hours only)
|Erskineville||2.9 km||1884||Erskineville, Macdonaldtown, Newtown||none|
|St Peters||3.8 km||1884||St Peters, Alexandria, Erskineville, Newtown|
(T8 peak hours only)
|Sydenham||5.3 km||1884||Sydenham, Marrickville, St Peters|
(T8 peak hours only)
|Marrickville||6.6 km||1895||Bankstown||Marrickville, Marrickville South||none|
|Dulwich Hill||7.9 km||1895||Dulwich Hill, Marrickville, Hurlstone Park|
|Hurlstone Park||8.8 km||1895||Hurlstone Park, Canterbury|
|Wiley Park||15.4 km||1938||Wiley Park, Lakemba, Punchbowl|
|Birrong - Lidcombe|
|Regents Park||19.9 km||1912||Main South||Regents Park||none|
|Birrong - Liverpool|
|Sefton||21.2 km||1924||Main South||Sefton||none|
|Chester Hill||22.3 km||1924||Chester Hill|
|Warwick Farm||34.2 km||1889||Warwick Farm|
The following table shows the patronage of Sydney Trains network for the year ending 30 June 2019.
|116 553 000|
|19 389 000|
|4 600 000|
|58 917 000|
|30 578 000|
|69 575 000|
|7 738 000|
|1 802 000|
|46 346 000|
|†||5 018 000|
- Figures based on Opal tap on and tap off data.
§= T1 between Chatswood and Epping via Macquarie Park was replaced by Station Link bus services between September 2018 and May 2019
†= T1 North Shore, Northern & Western Line was split into the T1 North Shore & Western Line and T9 Northern Line in April 2019
- "NSW Railway Passenger Services 1880-1905". Australian Railway History, April 2005. ARHS NSW Division.
- Brady, I. Sydney Electric Trains From 1926 to 1960. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, Vol 52, no 762. April 2001.
- NSWrail map 1992
- Sydney Suburban Network map, 2000
- Sydney Metro. "Sydenham to Bankstown". Sydney Metro City & Southwest.
- "NSW Rail.net Bankstown line". Retrieved 1 July 2007.
- "NSW Rail.net South Coast line". Retrieved 1 July 2007.
- "NSW Rail.net City Circle". Retrieved 1 July 2007.
- "NSW Rail.net Lidcombe-Cabramatta line". Retrieved 1 July 2007.
- "Driver Route Knowledge Diagrams - City Circle" (PDF). Railsafe. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
- "Train Patronage - Monthly Figures". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 16 October 2019.