NSW TrainLink

NSW TrainLink is a train and coach operator in Australia, providing services throughout New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, along with limited interstate services into Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. Its primary intercity and regional services are spread throughout five major rail lines, operating out of Sydney's Central railway station.

NSW TrainLink
NSW TrainLink logo.svg
A Hunter railcar at Broadmeadow station
OwnerTransport for NSW
Area servedNew South Wales and some regional services to other major cities interstate
LocaleNew South Wales
Transit type
Annual ridership46.4 million (2017/18)
Chief executivePete Allaway
Began operation1 July 2013; 9 years ago (2013-07-01)
Operator(s)NSW Trains and private coach operators
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge
Electrification1,500 V DC from overhead catenary

NSW TrainLink was formed on 1 July 2013 when RailCorp was restructured and CountryLink was merged with the intercity 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 Bathurst 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.

An intercity service between Sydney and Newcastle

Intercity servicesEdit

NSW TrainLink Intercity network (excluding the Sydney suburban portions of lines)

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.


Line colour and name Between Electric services
Central and Lithgow with limited services to Bathurst to Lithgow
Central and Newcastle Yes
Newcastle and Telarah with limited services to Dungog or Scone No
Centrala and Bomaderry or Port Kembla to Kiama and Port Kembla
Campbelltownb and Moss Vale with limited services to Goulburn 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 faresEdit

The Opal fare system for Intercity services is fully integrated with the Sydney Trains and Sydney Metro networks – trips involving Intercity, Sydney suburban and metro 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 and Train
  As of 4 July 2022 0–10 km 10–20 km 20–35 km 35–65 km 65 km+
Adult cards & contactless (peak) $3.79 $4.71 $5.42 $7.24 $9.31
Adult cards & contactless (off-peak) $2.65 $3.29 $3.79 $5.06 $6.51
Other cards (peak) $1.89 $2.35 $2.71^ $3.62^ $4.65^
Other cards (off-peak) $1.32 $1.64 $1.89 $2.53^ $3.25^
Adult single trip $4.60 $5.70 $6.50 $8.70 $11.20
Child/Youth single trip $2.30 $2.80 $3.20 $4.30 $5.60

^ = $2.50 for Senior/Pensioner cardholders

Bus and coach servicesEdit

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
An XPT travelling from Melbourne to Sydney, pictured between Jindalee and Morrisons Hill, New South Wales
NSW TrainLink Regional network

Regional servicesEdit

NSW TrainLink Regional Trains network (highlighted in blue)

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 CoastEdit

The North Coast services operate through the Mid North Coast, Northern Rivers and South East Queensland regions. Services operate on the Main North and North Coast lines, travelling between Sydney Central station and 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 WesternEdit

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.

Roundel used to identify coach services

Coach servicesEdit

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 are 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]

Operator Services
Australia Wide Coaches Lithgow to Bathurst, Orange & Parkes
BusBiz Lithgow to Dubbo & Nyngan
Dubbo to Lightning Ridge
Dubbo to Bourke
Dubbo to Broken Hill
Coolabah to Brewarrina
Wagga Wagga to Kingston and Queanbeyan
Berrima Coaches Picton to Bowral
Busways Port Macquarie to Wauchope, Wauchope to Port Macquarie
Dysons Wagga Wagga to Griffith
Cootamundra to Tumbarumba
Cootamundra to Bathurst/Dubbo
Parkes to Condobolin
Forest Coach Lines Narrabri to Wee Waa & Burren Junction
Hunter Valley Buses Fassifern to Toronto
Loader's Coaches Lithgow to Grenfell
Oberon Bus Company Mount Victoria to Oberon
Ogden's Coaches Lithgow to Gulgong, Coonabarabran & Baradine
Oxley Explorer Armidale to Tenterfield, Port Macquarie to Tamworth
Port Stephens Coaches Broadmeadow to Taree
Premier Shoalhaven Kiama to Bomaderry
Moss Vale to Bundanoon/Goulburn
G&J Purtill Cootamundra to Condobolin
Cootamundra to Mildura
Wagga Wagga to Echuca
Albury to Echuca
Roadcoach Moss Vale to Wollongong
Queanbeyan to Cootamundra
Sunstate Coaches Grafton to Byron Bay
Casino to Tweed Heads
Casino to Surfers Paradise
Casino to Brisbane
Symes Coaches Tamworth/Armidale to Inverell
Moree to Grafton
Transborder Express Canberra to Bombala & Eden

+ not included in January 2015 re-tendering process

Since 2018, NSW TrainLink have introduced several new road coach services on a trial basis[16]

Rolling stockEdit

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 servicesEdit

Class Image Type Top speed Carriage Numbers Lines Built
km/h mph
V set   Electric multiple unit 115 71 196 1977–1989
T set   447 (shared with Sydney Trains) (between Waterfall and Port Kembla) 1987–1995
Endeavour railcar   Diesel multiple unit 160 99 28 (Bathurst Bullet)(between Kiama and Bomaderry) 1994–1996
Hunter railcar   14 2006–2007
H set   Electric multiple unit 130 81 221 (shared with Sydney Trains, due to be transferred to Sydney Trains) 2006–2012

Interstate and regional servicesEdit

Class Image Type Top speed Carriage Numbers Routes operated Built
km/h mph
XPT   Diesel locomotive 193 120 19 locomotives 1981–1994
XPT carriages   Passenger carriage 60 carriages
Xplorer   Diesel multiple unit 160 99 23 1993

Future fleetEdit

Class Image Type Top speed Carriage Numbers Lines Built
km/h mph
D set   Electric multiple unit 160 99 610 (to be built) 2019–present
CAF Civity Electro-diesel multiple unit 160 99 117 (to be built) 2023 (scheduled)

A fleet of 610 D set carriages will be introduced to the NSW TrainLink intercity network. They will replace the V sets and allow the H sets to be transferred to Sydney Trains services. The first was delivered in December 2019.[30][31][32]

A fleet of bi-mode CAF Civity trains are scheduled to replace the XPT, Xplorer and Endeavour fleets from 2023, as part of the NSW TrainLink Regional Train Project.[33][34][35][36]


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.[37]

Intercity services are considered on-time if they operate within six minutes of their scheduled time.[38] For regional services the benchmark is ten minutes.[39] 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.[40] 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.[41][40] 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.[42][40]

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 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019–20
Intercity (millions) 32.9[a] 34.5[b] 38.5[c] 40.8[d] 44.7[e] 41.3 31.2[f]
Regional trains (millions) 1.23 1.22 1.24 1.69 < 1.7[g]
Regional coaches (millions) 0.572 0.537 0.510
References [43] [44] [45] [37] [46]



  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 was lower than previous years due to people staying at home and not taking public transport to school or work during the COVID-19 pandemic
  7. ^ 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 2022, based on Opal tap on and tap off data.[47]

2021-22 NSW TrainLink Intercity patronage by line
3 179 000
6 015 000
418 000
3 013 000
334 000

Quiet carriagesEdit

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.[48]

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.[49]

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.[48] 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 bi-mode[50] fleet will be maintained at a new facility in Mindyarra Maintenance Centre in Dubbo.[51][52]


  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. ^ a b c New NSW TrainLink Rural Coach Service Contracts Australian Bus issue 68 March 2015 page 20
  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. ^ Brewarrina to Coolabah timetable NSW TrainLink May 2018
  18. ^ Bourke to Dubbo timetable NSW TrainLink May 2018
  19. ^ Campbelltown to Goulburn timetable NSW TrainLink September 2018
  20. ^ Goulburn to Canberra timetable NSW TrainLink September 2018
  21. ^ Forster to Coffs Harbour timetable NSW TrainLink April 2019
  22. ^ Wagga Wagga to Queanbeyan timetable NSW TrainLink April 2019
  23. ^ a b Arriving now – Broken Hill to Mildura and Adelaide coach services Roads & Maritime Services 13 June 2019
  24. ^ a b Broken Hill to Adelaide & Mildura timetable NSW TrainLink June 2019
  25. ^ Cooma to Anglers Reach timetable NSW TrainLink December 2019
  26. ^ Goulburn to Bigga timetable NSW TrainLink December 2019
  27. ^ Delegate to Nimmitabel timetable NSW TrainLink December 2019
  28. ^ Goodooga to Dubbo timetable NSW TrainLink December 2019
  29. ^ Walgett to Moree timetable NSW TrainLink December 2019
  30. ^ New Intercity Fleet Transport NSW
  31. ^ NSW Government to invest $2.8 billion in new intercity trains, making all trains air-conditioned Transport for New South Wales 8 May 2014
  32. ^ Intercity Fleet Program Transport for New South Wales
  33. ^ "Regional Rail". Transport for NSW. 26 September 2019. Archived from the original on 26 September 2019. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  34. ^ NSW Region train fleet on track Transport for New South Wales 14 August 2017
  35. ^ NSW region train fleet to be replaced Railway Gazette International 15 August 2017
  36. ^ CAF to replace New South Wales regional train fleet Railway Gazette International 14 February 2019
  37. ^ a b "NSW Trains Annual Report 2017-18" (PDF). NSW Trains. pp. 8, 24. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  38. ^ "Our performance". Sydney Trains. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  39. ^ "Punctuality 2015". NSW Trains. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  40. ^ a b c "NSW Trains Annual Report 2017-18" (PDF). NSW Trains. pp. 26, 27. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  41. ^ "NSW Trains 2016-17 Annual Report" (PDF). NSW Trains. 18 June 2017. p. 15. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  42. ^ "NSW Trains 2015-16 Annual Report Volume 1" (PDF). NSW Trains. pp. 17, 22–23. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 November 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  43. ^ "Transport for NSW Annual Report 2014-15" (PDF). Transport for NSW. p. 131. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  44. ^ "NSW Trains 2015-16 Annual Report" (PDF). NSW Trains. 18 June 2017. p. 17.
  45. ^ "NSW Trains 2016-17 Annual Report" (PDF). NSW Trains. 18 June 2017. pp. 8, 15. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  46. ^ "Train Patronage – Monthly Figures". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  47. ^ "Train Patronage - Monthly Figures". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 20 August 2022.
  48. ^ a b Quiet carriages now permanent on the Blue Mountains and South Coast intercity services Sydney Trains
  49. ^ Quiet carriages to expand on South Coast line Illawarra Mercury 3 July 2013
  50. ^ "NSW chooses bi-mode option for regional train replacement". International Railway Journal. 30 September 2019. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  51. ^ NSW seeks private finance for regional fleet International Railway Journal 15 August 2017
  52. ^ "Regional Rail". Transport for NSW. Archived from the original on 26 January 2021. Retrieved 26 January 2021.

External linksEdit

  Media related to NSW TrainLink at Wikimedia Commons