Carlingford railway line

The Carlingford railway line is a branch railway line in Sydney, Australia. It was opened from Clyde to Subiaco (later renamed Camellia) in January 1885, then by means of the construction of a bridge across the Parramatta River, to Carlingford in April 1896. The line runs north-south between the suburb of Carlingford and the Main Suburban railway line at Clyde. Passenger services on the line form part of the Sydney Trains commuter rail network and are marketed as the T6 Carlingford Line. The railway line's small catchment, low patronage, short platforms and single track for much of its length mean the T6 generally operates as a shuttle service, with passengers changing at Clyde for T1 North Shore, Northern & Western Line or T2 Inner West & Leppington Line services to the Sydney central business district and Parramatta.[5] Most of the line is planned for conversion to light rail as part of the Parramatta Light Rail network[6] and will close to passenger services on 5 January 2020, to be replaced by a more frequent bus bus route 535 to Parramatta instead of Clyde, until the light rail opens.[7]

Carlingford railway line
Buffer at the end of the line at Carlingford
LocaleSydney, Australia
ServicesT6 Carlingford Line
Opened17 November 1888[1]
Closed5 January 2020 (scheduled close)
Operator(s)Sydney Trains
Rolling stockK and M sets
Line length7.19 km[2]
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
ElectrificationOverhead 1500 V DC[3]
Route map

Main Suburban railway line
T6 Carlingford Line
Service typeCommuter rail
Current operator(s)Sydney Trains
Ridership512 000 (2016-17)[4]
Service frequency1-2 trains per hour
Line(s) usedCarlingford railway line

Line description

The Carlingford line branches off the Western line at Clyde heading north over Parramatta Road on a level crossing, before heading under the M4 Western Motorway to a station opposite Rosehill Gardens Racecourse. It is a double track line to this point.

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 and one platform which is approximately sixteen-cars long on the Sandown line track which is used for special events at the racecourse. During large special events at Rosehill Racecourse, such as horse racing meetings, a charter train is provided to operate a shuttle service with 20-minute frequency between Clyde and Rosehill only.

The line then heads in a north-easterly direction over the Parramatta River to Carlingford. The stations from Camellia to Carlingford consist of a single platform of a sufficient length to accommodate four-car suburban trains. All other stations on the Sydney Trains network are capable of accommodating eight-car trains. 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.

There are no signals past Rosehill, meaning the entire section of line is one block, meaning only one train may be in this section at any time. Trains entering or exiting this block are detected using an axle counter. The lack of track circuits also means that trains on this line will appear to be stopped at Rosehill on realtime apps when between Rosehill and Carlingford. The section between Rosehill and Clyde is controlled using conventional track circuits and signals.

The average 12 minute travel time between Clyde and Carlingford allows a theoretical maximum capacity of two trains per hour on this line. The Carlingford line is Sydney's least-used suburban railway line.

Additionally, as the line is lightly used, the electrical system on this line cannot handle large loads. As a result, OSCARs (H sets) over four cars long or Waratahs of any length are not permitted to run on the line.


Name Distance from
Railway line Serving suburbs Other lines
Clyde - Carlingford
Clyde 20.660 km 1882 Main Suburban Clyde, Granville
Rosehill 22.420 km 1888 Carlingford Rosehill
Camellia 22.950 km 1885 Carlingford Camellia
Rydalmere 24.01 km 1896 Carlingford Rydalmere
Dundas 24.84 km 1896 Carlingford Dundas
Telopea 26.34 km 1925 Carlingford Telopea
Carlingford 27.85 km 1896 Carlingford Carlingford


A number of industrial and car storage sidings have been built on the line.[9]

Starting from the Clyde end:

  • Prestressed Concrete Siding: located between Clyde station and the Parramatta Road crossing. Served the railways prestressed concrete manufacturing plant which no longer operates. Currently used to stable an automated track recording vehicle. The junction is on the branch down line with the points facing north (down).
  • Shell Refinery Siding: located between A'Beckett Creek and Rosehill station. The siding and junctions points have been removed. Junction was on the branch up line with the points facing south (up).
  • Rheem Siding and Loop: located at Rydalmere station. Served the Rheem factory. The siding consisted of a short loop line with junctions north and south of the original Rydalmere station and a siding branch into the factory itself at the southern end of the yard. The loop, factory branch and all junctions have been removed. The new Rydalmere station is now situated on the opposite side of the branch line from the original station and occupies the site of the former loop.
  • Electricity Commission Siding: located at the southern end of Carlingford station. The siding was built to move large electrical transformers into the Carlingford Electrical sub-station, one of the major substations distributing electric power to Sydney. The siding and junction points have been removed. The junction was on the run-around loop with the points facing north.
  • Carlingford Produce Siding and Loop: a locomotive run-around loop alongside Carlingford station and a siding serving the Carlingford Produce store. The produce store siding joined the run-around loop at the southern end of the station with the points facing south. The loop and siding, together with all their junctions, have been removed.
  • Carlingford Car Storage Sidings: a two track siding north of Carlingford station connected to both the branch line and the locomotive run-around loop. The sidings and junctions have been removed.


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.[10] Telopea station was added in 1925. Originally the line was privately owned by two companies: the line from Clyde to Rosehill was owned by 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 recommencing services on 1 August 1900.

The line from Clyde to Rosehill was electrified on 12 December 1936. The electrification was extended to Carlingford on 9 August 1959.[11]

In 1996, the original iron lattice bridge over the Parramatta River was replaced. The new bridge only has one track, although it was built to allow a second track to be laid in the future. It sits on the refurbished piers of the original bridge.[12]

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 to 26 October 2007, the section of track from Telopea to Carlingford was completely replaced, utilising concrete sleepers instead of timber ones.[13] The section from Telopea to Rosehill was similarly upgraded over the fortnight of 22 June to 3 July 2009.[14] The railway remains on timber sleepers from Rosehill to Clyde.

The line was colour-coded orange in CityRail promotional material until 1991 when it was coded yellow (along with the Western Line). Since 2000, it has been colour-coded dark blue.[15]

Until January 2010, the line carried oil trains to and from the Clyde Refinery on the Sandown line. During October 2016, the Sandown line traffic was officially suspended. A Stop Block was placed on the Sydney side of Access Road level crossing.

Modification proposals

The line's low frequency and levels of patronage have led to various inquiries and studies into the future of the Carlingford line. A major problem remains the level crossing over Parramatta Road, which holds up traffic when trains travel across the road. Proposals have been made including tunnel links to Clyde or Granville stations, or even to replace the line altogether with a more frequent light rail or busway service.[16]

The New South Wales 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, with the line between Carlingford and Camellia duplicated. Telopea, Dundas, and Rydalmere stations would also have been duplicated and upgraded to allow eight car trains. Camellia station would have been demolished, Rosehill station closed and replaced by a new underground station with a preliminary name of '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 Minister for Transport, Michael Costa announced that only Stage 1 of the line, from Chatswood to Epping, would be built, and the Carlingford line section indefinitely postponed.

However, on 11 August 2010, the Australian Government promised $2.6 billion towards this project, who, along with the New South Wales Government, would extend the line from Epping to Parramatta via the Carlingford line. Work was to commence in 2011, with a projected 2017 finish. However, following a change of state government at the 2011 election, the project was shelved. A large amount of land lies behind Carlingford station, for future extensions of the line.

Under the Rail Clearways Project, the line was to have a crossing loop constructed at Dundas station and thus increase train frequency to half-hourly throughout the day, however this project was cancelled in November 2008.[17]

Parramatta Light Rail

In 2013, Parramatta City Council published a feasibility study into a proposed Western Sydney Light Rail network. The study proposed the construction of a light rail line from Parramatta to the Macquarie Centre, running parallel to the Carlingford line between Camelia and Dundas. The report noted that while the future of the railway line was a matter for the state government, conversion of the line to light rail would reduce the cost of the light rail's construction significantly.[18]

In December 2015 the NSW government announced the Camellia – Carlingford section of the line would be converted to light rail, forming a branch of the Parramatta Light Rail network. This would replace the connection to the Sydney Trains network at Clyde with a link to Parramatta and Westmead.[19] Construction is expected to begin in 2020 and be completed by 2023. The Carlingford line north of Parramatta Road has been gazetted for closure from 5 January 2020 to allow conversion works to take place.[20] The duration of this closure has yet to be decided.[21] Much of the remaining section will be closed permanently. This includes Rosehill station, which is not on the light rail route. The short section between Clyde and the Parramatta Road level crossing will officially remain open for use by Sydney Trains and will be retained for future transport use.[22] The Sandown line has been permanently closed since July 2019.[20][23]


The following table shows the patronage of Sydney Trains network for the year ending 30 June 2019. The patronage figure is so low the Carlingford Line can barely be seen in the graph.

2018-19 Sydney Trains patronage by line[n.b. 1] [24]


  1. 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


  1. Bozier, Rolfe. " – Carlingford Line".
  2. Asset Standards Authority (30 April 2015). "Train Operating Conditions (TOC) Manual – Track Diagrams (version 3.0)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  3. Asset Standards Authority (19 March 2014). RailCorp electrical system general description, version 1.0 (PDF).
  4. "Train Patronage - Monthly Figures". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  5. "T6: Carlingford line timetable". Transport for NSW.
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. "T6 Carlingford Line - Parramatta Light Rail". Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  8. "NSW Carlingford Line". Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  9. "NSW Track and Signalling Diagrams", Australian Railway Historical Society (NSW Division)
  10. "NSW Railway Passenger Services 1880-1905" Australian Railway History April 2005
  11. Churchman, Geoffrey (1995). Railway Electrification in Australia & New Zealand. Smithfield: IPL Books. p. 94.
  12. "The Carlingford line's Camelia bridge project" Railway Digest August 1996 pages 12-13
  13. Carlingford line track upgrade CityRail
  14. Carlingford Line track upgrade CityRail
  15. 2000 CityRail map, NSW Rail Historical Timetables
  16. Transport group reveals rail plans for 'Bay Light Express' Sydney Morning Herald 27 January 2010
  17. NSW Minibudget NSW Government November
  18. Western Sydney Light Rail Network Archived 7 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine Parramatta City Council
  19. "Parramatta Light Rail". Transport for NSW. 23 July 2018. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  20. "Transport Administration (Authority To Close Railway Lines – Carlingford And Sandown Lines) Order 2019 (66)" (PDF). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales. 28 June 2019. p. 2269. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  21. "Parramatta Light Rail – Stage 1: frequently asked questions" (PDF). Transport for NSW. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  22. "Stage 1 of the Parramatta Light Rail". Parramatta Light Rail. Archived from the original on 29 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  23. "Parramatta Light Rail | Stage 1 – Westmead to Carlingford via Camellia: Environmental Impact Statement" (PDF). Transport for NSW. pp. 5–65, 5–66. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  24. "Train Patronage - Monthly Figures". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 16 October 2019.

Further reading

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