NSW TrainLink

NSW TrainLink is an Australian coach and train operator providing services throughout New South Wales and into the neighbouring states and territories of Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. It is an agency of Transport for NSW.

NSW TrainLink
V set at Adamstown in October 2018
OwnerTransport for NSW
LocaleNew South Wales
Transit type
Annual ridership46.4 million (2017/18)
Chief executivePete Allaway
WebsiteTransport Info
Began operation1 July 2013
Operator(s)NSW Trains and private coach operators

NSW TrainLink was formed on 1 July 2013 when RailCorp was restructured and CountryLink was merged with the regional services of CityRail.


In May 2012, the Minister for Transport announced a restructure of RailCorp.[1][2] On 1 July 2013 NSW TrainLink took over (a) the operation of regional rail and coach services previously operated by CountryLink; (b) non-metropolitan Sydney services previously operated by CityRail; and (c) responsibility for the Main Northern railway line from Berowra railway station to Newcastle station, the Main Western railway line from Emu Plains railway station to Bowenfels railway station, and the Illawarra railway line from Waterfall station to Bomaderry railway station.[3][4][5]


The NSW TrainLink network is divided into two tiers, branded as Intercity and Regional. Intercity services operate commuter style services, mainly to and from Sydney with limited stops within the metropolitan area. The Intercity network is part of Transport for NSW's Opal ticketing system. Seats on Intercity services are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Regional services operate in areas of lower population density, providing passenger transport mainly between regional NSW and Sydney (although some cross country and interstate services operate). Regional services use a separate, reserved seat, ticketing system.

Intercity services

Intercity services operate to a distance approximately 200 kilometres from Sydney, bounded by Dungog in the north, Scone in the north-west, Bathurst to the west, Goulburn in the south-west and Bomaderry to the south.

Electric services extend from Sydney north to Newcastle, west to Lithgow and south to Port Kembla and Kiama. Most electric services originate from or terminate at Central.

Diesel trains serve the more distant or less populated parts of the Intercity network. Hunter Line services operate from Newcastle to Telarah with some extending to Dungog and Scone. Southern Highlands Line services operate between Campbelltown and Moss Vale with a limited number extending to Sydney and Goulburn. Diesel services also operate on the South Coast Line between Kiama and Bomaderry. The Bathurst Bullet provides a twice daily, limited stop service between Sydney and Bathurst.

Train services

Line colour and name Between Electric services
Central and Lithgow with limited services to Bathurst to Lithgow
Central and Newcastle Yes
Centrala and Bomaderry or Port Kembla to Kiama and Port Kembla
Campbelltownb and Moss Vale with limited services to Goulburn No
Newcastle and Telarah with limited services to Dungog or Scone No
^a Some peak services and most weekend services on the South Coast Line run to/from Bondi Junction
^b Some peak services on the Southern Highlands Line run to/from Central. At other times, a change of train is required at Campbelltown

Intercity train fares

The Opal fare system for Intercity services is fully integrated with the Sydney Trains network - trips involving both Intercity and Sydney suburban services are calculated as a single fare and there is no interchange penalty. Opal is also valid on bus, ferry, and light rail services in the Greater Sydney region (except for the Southern Highlands) but separate fares apply for these modes. The following table lists Opal fares for reusable smartcards and single trip tickets as:[6]

Metro or train
as of 24 June 2019
0–10 km10–20 km20–35 km35–65 km65 km+
Adult cards (peak) $3.61 $4.48 $5.15 $6.89 $8.86
Adult cards (off-peak) $2.52 $3.13 $3.60 $4.82 $6.20
Other cards (peak) $1.80 $2.24 $2.57^ $3.44^ $4.43^
Other cards (off-peak) $1.26 $1.56 $1.79 $2.20 $3.10^
Adult single trip $4.50 $5.60 $6.40 $8.40 $10.80
Child/Youth single trip $2.20 $2.80 $3.20 $4.20 $5.40

^ = $2.50 for Senior/Pensioner cardholders

Bus and coach services

NSW TrainLink operates several bus routes along corridors where the railway line has been closed to passengers or as a supplement to rail services. These bus services are operated by private sector bus companies contracted by NSW TrainLink.

^(r) Seat reservations required

Regional services

NSW TrainLink operates passenger services throughout New South Wales and interstate to Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne. All rail services feature diesel rolling stock. For more details of each train line see List of NSW TrainLink train routes.

North Coast

The North Coast services operate through the Mid North Coast, Northern Rivers and South East Queensland regions. The Government of Queensland makes a financial contribution to the provision of these services. Services operate on the Main North and North Coast lines from Sydney Central station to Roma Street station in Brisbane.[7]

Principal stations served by XPT trains are:

Cities and towns served by NSW TrainLink coaches connecting off North Coast services include: Tea Gardens, Forster, Port Macquarie, Yamba, Moree, Alstonville, Lismore, Ballina, Byron Bay, Murwillumbah, Tweed Heads and Surfers Paradise.

North Western

The North Western region services operate through the Hunter, New England and North West Slopes & Plains regions. Services operate on the Main North line from Sydney Central station to Werris Creek. where the service divides for Armidale and Moree.[8]

Principal stations served by Xplorer trains are:

Cities and towns served by NSW TrainLink coaches connecting off North Western services include: Wee Waa, Inverell, Grafton, Glen Innes and Tenterfield.


The Western region services operate through the Central Tablelands, Orana, and Far West regions. Services operate on the Main Western line from Sydney Central station to Dubbo and the Broken Hill line to Broken Hill.[9]

Principal stations served by XPT trains are:

Principal stations served by Xplorer trains are:

Cities and towns served by NSW TrainLink coaches connecting off Western services include: Oberon, Mudgee, Baradine, Cowra, Grenfell, Forbes, Parkes, Condobolin, Lightning Ridge Brewarrina, Bourke, Warren and Broken Hill.


The Southern region services operate through the Illawarra, South Coast, Monaro, South West Slopes, Southern Tablelands, Riverina, and Sunraysia regions, plus the Australian Capital Territory and parts of Victoria. The Government of Victoria contributes financially to the provision of the interstate services. The ACT Government does not make a financial contribution.

Services operate on the:

Principal stations served by XPT trains are:

Principal stations served by Xplorer trains are:

Cities and towns served by NSW TrainLink coaches connecting off Southern services include: Wollongong, Bombala, Eden, Tumbarumba, Bathurst, Dubbo, Condobolin, Griffith, Mildura and Echuca.

Coach services

NSW TrainLink continued with the existing contracts entered into by CityRail and CountryLink for the provision of coach services.

On 1 July 2014, the Lithgow to Gulgong, Coonabarabran, Baradine services passed from Greyhound Australia to Ogden's Coaches.[11]

In July 2014, Transport for NSW commenced the re-tendering process for most of the routes with the previous 24 contracts reorganised into 18 contracts. The new contracts commenced on 1 January 2015 for a five-year period, with an option to extend for three years if performance criteria is met.[11][12] The services operated by Forest Coach Lines and Sunstate Coaches commenced new five-year contracts on 1 July 2016.[13][14]

The full list of coach operators providing services as at January 2015 was:[11][15]

Australia Wide CoachesLithgow to Bathurst, Orange & Parkes
BusBizLithgow to Dubbo & Nyngan
Dubbo to Lightning Ridge
Dubbo to Bourke
Dubbo to Broken Hill
Coolabah to Brewarrina
Berrima CoachesPicton to Bowral +
BuswaysWauchope to Port Macquarie
DysonsWagga Wagga to Griffith
Cootamundra to Tumbarumba
Cootamundra to Bathurst/Dubbo
Parkes to Condobolin
Forest Coach LinesNarrabri to Wee Waa & Burren Junction +
Hunter Valley BusesFassifern to Toronto +
Loader's CoachesLithgow to Grenfell
Oberon Bus CompanyMount Victoria to Oberon
Ogden's CoachesLithgow to Gulgong, Coonabarabran & Baradine
Oxley ExplorerArmidale to Tenterfield
Port Stephens CoachesBroadmeadow to Taree
Premier ShoalhavenKiama to Bomaderry +
Moss Vale to Bundanoon/Goulburn +
G&J PurtillCootamundra to Condobolin
Cootamundra to Mildura
Wagga Wagga to Echuca
Albury to Echuca
RoadcoachMoss Vale to Wollongong
Queanbeyan to Cootamundra
Sunstate CoachesGrafton to Byron Bay +
Casino to Tweed Heads +
Casino to Surfers Paradise +
Casino to Brisbane +
Symes CoachesTamworth/Armidale to Inverell
Moree to Grafton
Transborder ExpressCanberra to Bombala & Eden

+ not included in January 2015 re-tendering process

In 2018, NSW TrainLink introduced new road coach services from Brewarrina and Bourke to Dubbo and from Tamworth to Port Macquarie, Scone and Dubbo.[16] Services between Tamworth and Scone had ceased by November 2018. In June 2019 services commenced from Broken Hill to Adelaide and Mildura.[17]


The NSW TrainLink fleet consists of both diesel and electric traction, with the oldest of the fleet being the V sets and the youngest being the H sets, the latter is shared with Sydney Trains. Tangaras operate some peak hour South Coast Line services as far as Wollongong. The entire NSW TrainLink fleet is maintained by Sydney Trains either directly or via a Sydney Trains contract with UGL Rail.

Intercity Services

Class Image Type Top speed Carriage Numbers Routes operated Built
km/h mph
V set Electric Multiple Unit 115 72 196 Central Coast & Newcastle
Blue Mountains
T set Tangara Electric Multiple Unit 115 72 447 (Shared with Sydney Trains) South Coast (Sydney to Wollongong) 1987-95
Endeavour Railcar Diesel Multiple Unit 145 90 28 Hunter
South Coast (Kiama to Bomaderry)
Blue Mountains (Bathurst Bullet)
Southern Highlands
Hunter Railcar Diesel Multiple Unit 145 90 14 Hunter 2006
H Set Oscar Electric Multiple Unit 130 81 221 (Shared with Sydney Trains) Central Coast & Newcastle
South Coast
Blue Mountains

Interstate Services

Class Image Type Top speed Carriage Numbers Routes operated Built
km/h mph
XPT Push-pull 160 100 19 power cars

60 passenger carriages

Southern (to Melbourne)

North Coast (to Grafton, Casino and Brisbane)

Western (to Dubbo)

Xplorer Diesel Multiple Unit 145 90 23 North Western
Southern (to Canberra and Griffith)
Western (to Broken Hill)

Future rolling stock

A fleet of 554 D set carriages will be introduced to the NSW TrainLink intercity network. The first train is scheduled to enter service in 2020.[18] These electric trains will replace the V sets and allow the H sets to be transferred to Sydney Trains services.[19][20]

A fleet of bi-mode trains manufactured by CAF are scheduled to replace the XPT, Xplorer and Endeavour fleets from 2023, as part of the NSW TrainLink Regional Train Project.[21][22][23][24]


In the year ended 30 June 2018, 44.7 million journeys were made on intercity services. There were 1.7 million journeys on regional services. Patronage on intercity services increased by 9 percent over the previous financial year but fell by 1.4 percent for regional services.[25]

Intercity services are considered on-time if they operate within six minutes of their scheduled time.[26] For regional services the benchmark is ten minutes.[27] The target is for 92 percent of intercity services and 78 percent of regional services to operate on-time. In 2017-18 NSW Trains met both the Intercity target and the regional target. However, it failed to meet the Intercity target during peak hours.[28] These results partially reverse a trend of failing to meet punctuality targets. Since the organisation commenced operations in 2013-14, NSW Trains has never met the intercity peak punctuality target.[29][28] Regional train services have achieved their punctuality target twice, in 2015-16 and 2017-18. The 2015-16 result was the first time NSW Trains or its predecessor RailCorp had achieved the target in 13 years.[30][28]

The following table lists patronage figures for the network during the corresponding financial year. Australia's financial years start on 1 July and end on 30 June. Major events that affected the number of journeys made or how patronage is measured are included as notes.

NSW TrainLink patronage by financial year
Year 2013-142014-152015-162016-172017-18
Intercity 32.9 million[lower-alpha 1] 34.5 million[lower-alpha 2] 38.5 million[lower-alpha 3] 40.8 million[lower-alpha 4] 44.7 million[lower-alpha 5]
Regional trains 1.23 million 1.22 million 1.24 million 1.69 million <1.7 million[lower-alpha 6]
Regional coaches 572,000 537,000 510,000
References [31] [32] [33] [25]



  1. Opal rollout completed in April 2014
  2. Services in central Newcastle replaced by buses in December 2014
  3. Increase largely due to a change in the calculation of journeys for Opal vs magnetic stripe tickets
  4. Non-Opal tickets discontinued in August 2016
  5. Newcastle Interchange extension opened in October 2017
  6. Patronage reported as 1.7 million journeys but was down by 1.4 percent compared to the previous year

The following table shows the patronage of each line of the NSW TrainLink Intercity network for the year ending 30 June 2018, based on Opal tap on and tap off data.[34]

2017-18 NSW TrainLink Intercity patronage by line

Quiet carriages

Quiet carriages are designated carriages where noise made by passengers is requested to be kept to a minimum. Passengers are asked to place mobile phones on silent, move carriages in order to have a conversation with another passenger and use headphones when listening to music.[35]

Quiet carriages are on Intercity services are located in four carriages on 8 car sets, two carriages on 4 car sets and one carriage on two car sets.[36]

Quiet carriages were first introduced on the Central Coast & Newcastle Line in early 2012 as a three-month trial. On 1 September 2012 quiet carriages were permanently introduced and expanded to all intercity services operating on the Blue Mountains and South Coast lines.[35] As of 2013, Quiet Carriages operate on the entire NSW TrainLink Intercity network.


The XPT fleet is maintained at the XPT Service Centre and the Endeavour and Xplorer fleets at Eveleigh Railway Workshops. The V sets are maintained at Flemington Maintenance Depot. The D sets will be maintained at a new facility at Kangy Angy. The new diesel fleet will be maintained at a new facility in Dubbo.[37]


  1. "RailCorp job cuts first of many: unions" Sydney Morning Herald 15 May 2012
  2. "Ruthless RailCorp reforms planned as middle management axed" Daily Telegraph 15 May 2012
  3. Annual Report 30 June 2012 RailCorp
  4. Corporate Plan 2012/13 RailCorp
  5. "700 jobs to go as RailCorp gets the axe" Daily Telegraph 16 November 2012
  6. "Opal fares". transportnsw.info. Transport for NSW. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  7. "North Coast timetable". NSW Trainlink. 7 September 2019.
  8. "North West timetable". NSW Trainlink. 7 September 2019.
  9. "Western timetable". NSW Trainlink. 7 September 2019.
  10. "Southern timetable". NSW Trainlink. 7 September 2019.
  11. "New NSW TrainLink Rural Coach Service Contracts". Australian Bus (68): 20. March 2015.
  12. Provision of NSW Rural Coach Services NSW eTendering 11 July 2014
  13. Contract Award Notice Detail NSW eTendering 19 July 2016
  14. Contract Award Notice Detail NSW eTendering 19 July 2016
  15. suppliers NSW TrainLink
  16. NSW TrainLink Regional Coach trials Transport for New South Wales
  17. Arriving now - Broken Hill to Mildura and Adelaide coach services Roads & Maritime Services 13 June 2019
  18. "Comfort comes first with New Intercity Trains". Transport for NSW. 18 August 2016.
  19. NSW Government to invest $2.8 billion in new intercity trains, making all trains air-conditioned Transport for New South Wales 8 May 2014
  20. Intercity Fleet Program Transport for New South Wales
  21. "Regional Rail". Transport for NSW. 26 September 2019. Archived from the original on 26 September 2019. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  22. NSW Region train fleet on track Transport for New South Wales 14 August 2017
  23. NSW region train fleet to be replaced Railway Gazette International 15 August 2017
  24. CAF to replace New South Wales regional train fleet Railway Gazette International 14 February 2019
  25. "NSW Trains Annual Report 2017-18" (PDF). NSW Trains. pp. 8, 24. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  26. "Our performance". Sydney Trains. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  27. "Punctuality 2015". NSW Trains. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  28. "NSW Trains Annual Report 2017-18" (PDF). NSW Trains. pp. 26, 27. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  29. "NSW Trains 2016-17 Annual Report" (PDF). NSW Trains. 18 June 2017. p. 15. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  30. "NSW Trains 2015-16 Annual Report Volume 1" (PDF). NSW Trains. pp. 17, 22–23. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  31. "Transport for NSW Annual Report 2014-15" (PDF). Transport for NSW. p. 131. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  32. "NSW Trains 2015-16 Annual Report" (PDF). NSW Trains. 18 June 2017. p. 17.
  33. "NSW Trains 2016-17 Annual Report" (PDF). NSW Trains. 18 June 2017. pp. 8, 15. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  34. "Train Patronage - Monthly Figures". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  35. Quiet carriages now permanent on the Blue Mountains and South Coast intercity services Sydney Trains
  36. Quiet carriages to expand on South Coast line Illawarra Mercury 3 July 2013
  37. NSW seeks private finance for regional fleet International Railway Journal 15 August 2017

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