Caves Express

The Caves Express was an Australian special passenger rail service that operated between 1929 and 1942 on the Blue Mountains Line in New South Wales.[1] The name was derived from the nearby Jenolan Caves.

Caves Express
Arhs 3506 caves express.jpg
3506 hauls the Caves Express past Parramatta Park in 1933
Service typePassenger train
First service11 November 1929
Last service1956
Former operator(s)New South Wales Government Railways
EndMount Victoria
Distance travelled127 kilometres
Line(s) usedMain Western


The railway from Sydney to the Blue Mountains enjoyed a monopolistic position in the early 1920s as much of the road from Parramatta onwards was unsealed. In 1927 a large improvement came about with the superseding of the route from Emu Plains to Blaxland, via Lennox Bridge with a sealed Great Western Highway, partially using the old railway formation over the Knapsack Viaduct. An effect of the improved road was to take some traffic away from the railway.

In order to stem the decrease in passengers taking place and with a desire to even improve patronage beyond previous figures, the New South Wales Government Railways introduced the Caves Express on 11 November 1929.[2] The journey from Sydney to Mount Victoria took 2 hours 30 minutes, the timing being achieved by the train being limited to five carriages with a total weight of just 125 tons and the elimination of many intermediate stops.

In November 1931 the C35 class was assigned to the express. In July 1933, three locomotives of the class were painted in Caledonian Blue, these being 3506, 3526 and 3535 at the Eveleigh Locomotive Workshops. In the summer of 1936, the express was taken over by the larger C36 class.

In 1942 as a wartime economy measure, the Caves Express was suspended. It had a mediocre revival between 1953 and 1956 when it re-appeared in the timetables for Fridays and Saturdays only, running to a semi-fast schedule in the westbound direction only.


Car RBR 1049, previously used on the Caves Express, has been restored with blue and gold livery. It is preserved and on display at Valley Heights Rail Museum[3]


  1. ^ "The Caves Express" Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin November 1995 pages 315-321
  2. ^ Full Steam across the Mountains Phil Belpin
  3. ^ "Large Exhibits: RBR passenger car". Valley Heights Rail Museum. Retrieved 1 May 2018.