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Sydney Trains is the suburban passenger rail network serving the city of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The network is a hybrid suburban-commuter rail system with a central underground core that covers over 815 km (506 mi) of track and 178 stations over nine lines. It has metro-equivalent train frequencies of every three minutes or better in the underground core, 5–10 minutes at most major stations all day and 15 minutes at most minor stations all day. During weekend services trains are less frequent with headways of upwards of a half-hour on outer stations with frequencies of less than 10 minutes in the underground core.[2]

Sydney Trains
Sydney Trains logo.svg
A32 approaching Flemington (cropped).jpg
A set at Flemington in August 2017
OwnerTransport for NSW
Transit typeSuburban rail
Number of lines9
Number of stations176
Annual ridership359.2 million (2017–2018)
WebsiteTransport Info
Began operation1 July 2013
System length815 km (506 mi)[1]
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification1500 V (DC) overhead line

The network is controlled by Transport for NSW, and is part of its Opal ticketing system. In 2017-18, 359.2 million passenger journeys were made on the network.



In May 2012 the Minister for Transport announced a restructure of RailCorp, the organisation that owned and managed the metropolitan rail network and operated passenger services throughout the New South Wales.[3][4][5][6] Two new organisations were created to take over operation of the services from 1 July 2013. Sydney Trains acquired all suburban services in the Sydney metropolitan area bounded by Berowra, Emu Plains, Macarthur and Waterfall from RailCorp's CityRail division. Intercity and Hunter Line services previously operated by CityRail were taken over by NSW Trains (branded as NSW TrainLink).[7] RailCorp remained as the owner of the network infrastructure. When first created as subsidiaries of RailCorp, Sydney Trains and NSW Trains were not controlled entities of RailCorp, but were instead controlled by Transport for NSW.[8] In July, they ceased to be subsidiaries of RailCorp and became independent standalone agencies in July 2017.[9][10]

Network changesEdit

The first expansion of the Sydney suburban network during the Sydney Trains era occurred in 2015 when the South West Rail Link opened between Glenfield and Leppington.

Beginning in 2018, some sections of the network are being transferred to the city’s metro and light rail networks. The line between Chatswood and Epping will form part of Sydney Metro Northwest and closed for conversion in September 2018.[11] The section of line between Sydenham and Bankstown will form part of Sydney Metro City & Southwest. This is due to open in 2024.[12] The section of line between Camellia and Carlingford will form part of the Parramatta Light Rail network.[13] The adjacent section of track between Clyde and Camellia, including Rosehill railway station, will become disused.[14] The light rail is expected to open in 2023.[13]

A new rail link has been announced to serve the under-construction Western Sydney Airport. The line will link with the Western Line at St Marys station.[15] The line is the first stage of a proposed "North-South Link" between Schofields and Macarthur.[16] However, this line is likely to be delivered using metro or light metro technology.[17] In addition, a proposed extension to the South West Rail Link would connect Leppington to the Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis interchange south of the Western Sydney Airport.[17]


Sydney Trains railway stations are identified with an orange and white T symbol

In July 2013 Howard Collins, the former Chief Operating Officer of London Underground, was appointed as Chief Executive of Sydney Trains. In addition to operating suburban train services, Sydney Trains maintains the New South Wales Metropolitan Rail Area, and maintains all but a handful of operational railway stations in the state.


The Sydney Trains network.
Map of the stations.

Sydney Trains operates e suburban lines across metropolitan Sydney.

In conjunction with a new timetable released on 20 October 2013, the Sydney Trains network was reorganised with a new numbering system. The number of lines was reduced from eleven to seven by merging several lines together.

An eighth line was created on 26 November 2017 by splitting the T2 line into two separate lines. T5 services were also modified to no longer travel to and from Campbelltown, instead starting and terminating at Leppington.[18]

From 28 April 2019, the T1 line from Gordon to Hornsby via Strathfield will be renumbered T9, whilst the portion from Berowra to Richmond & Emu Plains via Chatswood and Parramatta will remain T1. The new line will be red in colour.[19]

Line colour, number and name Between
North Shore & Western Line

Berowra and Emu Plains, Richmond or Hornsby via Central.

Inner West & Leppington Line

City Circle and Parramatta or Leppington via Granville.

Bankstown Line City Circle and Liverpool or Lidcombe via Bankstown and Sydenham.
Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line Bondi Junction and Waterfall or Cronulla via Central.
Cumberland Line Schofields and Leppington. Limited services continue from Schofields to Richmond.
Carlingford Line Clyde and Carlingford.
Olympic Park Line Lidcombe and Olympic Park. Some services operate between Central and Olympic Park, particularly during special events.
Airport & South Line City Circle and Macarthur via Revesby and either Sydenham (peak) or Airport
Northern Line Hornsby to Gordon via Strathfield and City

The main hub of the Sydney Trains system is Central station, which most lines pass through. Central is also the terminus of most NSW TrainLink lines. After leaving Central, trains coming from the T2 Inner West & Leppington Line, T3 Bankstown Line and T8 Airport & South Line then travel through the City Circle - a ring line beneath the Sydney central business district. After completing the City Circle, these trains pass through Central for a second time and return to the suburbs. The T1 North Shore & Western, T4 Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra and T9 Northern lines pass through the central business district and continue on to other areas of Sydney. The T5 Cumberland Line serves Western Sydney and provides access to the major centre of Parramatta from the south west of the city without requiring a change of trains at Granville. The T6 Carlingford Line and T7 Olympic Park Line are suburban shuttle services.


NightRide bus services established in 1989, replace trains between midnight and 4:30am, leaving the tracks clear of trains for maintenance work. Such bus services mainly stop near stations operating typically at hourly intervals (some routes depart more frequently on weekends). Many services depart the city from bus stops near Town Hall station.[20] NightRide services are contracted to external bus operators and are identified by route numbers beginning with "N".


Sydney Trains operates a fleet of double deck electric multiple units. The trainsets are divided into the following classes:

Sydney Trains fleet
Class Carriages Service Formation Routes
S sets 192 1972–80 4 cars
K sets 160 1981-85 4 cars
C sets 56 1986-87 4 cars
T sets 447 1988-95 4 cars
M sets 140 2002-05 4 cars
A sets 626 2011-14 8 cars
B sets 192 2018-19 8 cars

Though primarily operated by NSW TrainLink, some H sets are also used on suburban services. Sydney Trains is also taking delivery of 24 eight-carriage series 2 Waratah trains, which are similar to the original A sets.[21] It also maintains intercity trains for NSW TrainLink.[22]

The Sydney Trains network is divided into three sectors, based around three maintenance depots.[23] Trainsets are identified by target plates, which are exhibited on the front lower nearside of driving carriages.[24] Each target plate includes the letter of the class the set belongs to and the number of the individual set. Waratahs do not have a target plate, but instead, have the information written directly on the front of the train. The composition and formations of train sets and the target designations are subject to alteration.

Sydney Trains maintenance sectors
Sector # Depot Serviced lines Target plate Fleet
1 Mortdale T4 Eastern Suburbs Illawarra Line. Red T
2 Flemington T2 Inner West & Leppington, T3 Bankstown, T6 Carlingford, T7 Olympic Park and T8 Airport & South lines, Intercity Services on Blue Mountains & Central Coast lines (V sets only). Blue S, K, C, V
3 Hornsby T1 North Shore & Western line Black T
N/A Eveleigh South Coast Line, Central Coast and Newcastle Line. Green H
N/A Auburn T1 North Shore & Western (A sets only), T2 Inner West & Leppington, T3 Bankstown, T5 Cumberland (A and M Sets), T6 Carlingford (M sets only), T7 Olympic Park (A sets only), T8 Airport & South lines, T9 Northern Line. N/A A, B, M


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.

Sydney Trains patronage by financial year
Year 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
322 340.7
References [25] [26] [27] [28]
  1. ^ Opal rollout completed in March 2014.
  2. ^ South West Rail Link opened in February 2015.
  3. ^ Non-Opal tickets were discontinued in August 2016.
2017-18 Sydney Trains patronage by line[n.b. 1][29]
142 853 000

33 301 000
28 178 000
67 935 000
6 677 000
529 000
1 664 000
26 415 000

37 891 000
2017-18 patronage of Transport for NSW's Sydney services by mode[30]
  1. ^ Figures based on Opal tap on and tap off data.
    = T2 Airport, Inner West & South Line was split into the T2 Inner West & Leppington Line and T8 Airport & South Line in November 2017

Ticketing and costsEdit

Sydney Trains currently uses the Opal card ticketing system which was introduced to the network in April 2014.[31] The fare system is fully integrated with the NSW TrainLink Intercity network - trips involving both suburban and intercity services are calculated as a single fare and there is no interchange penalty. Opal is also valid on bus, ferry, and light rail services but separate fares apply for these modes. The following table lists Opal fares for reusable smartcards and single trip tickets as of 2 July 2018:[32]

Train 0–10 km 10–20 km 20–35 km 35–65 km 65 km+
Adult cards (peak) $3.54 $4.40 $5.05 $6.76 $8.69
Adult cards (off-peak) $2.47 $3.08 $3.53 $4.73 $6.08
Other cards (peak) $1.77 $2.20 $2.52^ $3.38^ $4.34^
Other cards (off-peak) $1.23 $1.54 $1.76 $2.36 $3.03^
Adult single trip $4.40 $5.40 $6.20 $8.20 $10.60
Child/Youth single trip $2.20 $2.70 $3.10 $4.10 $5.30

^ = $2.50 for Senior/Pensioner cardholders

A surcharge is levied when using the two privately operated stations serving Sydney Airport:

Airport station access fee[33] Adult cards Other cards
Domestic or International Airport to/from all other stations $14.30 $12.80
Domestic or International Airport to/from Green Square $8.40 $8.40
Domestic or International Airport to/from Mascot $6.00 $6.00
Domestic to/from International $2.00 $2.00

As there are no return or periodical options available, reusable Opal cards include a number of caps to reduce the cost for frequent travellers:

Fare caps[34][35] Adult cards Other concession
Daily Mon-Sat $15.80 $7.90 $2.50
Sunday $2.70 $2.70 $2.50
Weekly $63.20 $31.60 $17.50
Weekly Airport
Station Access Fee
$29.00 $26.00 $26.00

The previous ticketing system was introduced in 1992 and was based on magnetic stripe technology. It was shut down on 1 August 2016.[36]

Unlike the ticketing systems of other cities in Australia, most of Sydney Trains' ticket prices are calculated on the distance travelled, and were found to be inexpensive by world standards as at December 2003.[37] However, in October 2012, a report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers found the rail system performed poorly compared to many metro services from 27 other major world cities. Sydney was ranked as the fourth-worst public train system, beating only Los Angeles, São Paulo and Johannesburg for operation efficiency and coverage, while being proven to have the most expensive tickets of any major city public transport system. An update to the same Cities of Opportunity report in 2014 - after the rollout of the Opal card - has shown a drop to the second most expensive system after London.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Transport for NSW 2013/14 Annual Report" (pdf). Transport for NSW. p. 32.
  2. ^ "Train timetables". Transport for NSW.
  3. ^ "RailCorp job cuts first of many: unions" Sydney Morning Herald 15 May 2012
  4. ^ "Ruthless RailCorp reforms planned as middle management axed" Daily Telegraph 15 May 2012
  5. ^ Corporate Plan 2012/13 RailCorp
  6. ^ 700 jobs to go as RailCorp gets the axe Daily Telegraph 16 November 2012
  7. ^ About the Reform Sydney Trains
  8. ^ "Railcorp Annual Report 2013-14" (PDF). Transport for NSW. p. 15. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 September 2018. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Transport for NSW Annual Report 2017-18" (PDF). Transport for NSW. p. 49. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  10. ^ Transport Administration Amendment (Transport Entities) Act 2017 No 12 Schedule 1, Legislation NSW, Retrieved 18 December 2018
  11. ^ "Station Link bus services to connect customers during Metro upgrade". Transport for NSW. 7 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Sydney Metro". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  13. ^ a b "Parramatta Light Rail – Stage 1: Connecting great places" (PDF). Transport for NSW. March 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ UK, DVV Media. "Sydney to get second airport rail link". Railway Gazette. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  16. ^ "Western Sydney City Deal - connectivity factsheet". Australian Government. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  17. ^ a b "Western Sydney Rail Needs Scoping Study". Australian and New South Wales governments. p. 57. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  18. ^ "More Trains, More Services for South Western Sydney" (PDF). Transport for NSW. Government of New South Wales. 27 February 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  19. ^ O'Sullivan, Matt (21 February 2019). "A New Red Line Through Sydney's Rail Map". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  20. ^ Section, Transport for NSW, Customer Experience Division, Customer Service Branch, Customer Information Services. "Late night services". Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  21. ^ O'Sullivan, Matt (22 March 2018). "New Waratah trains finally signal end to Sydney's 'sweat sets'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  22. ^ sector=Government, corporateName=Sydney Trains; contact=Communications Directorate;. "Our fleet - Sydney Trains". Sydney Trains. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  23. ^ "Train Fleet Maintenance". CityRail. 1 June 2006. Archived from the original on 13 March 2008. Retrieved 18 May 2008.
  24. ^ Department of Railways, New South Wales: Working of Electric Trains, 1965
  25. ^ "Transport for NSW Annual Report 2014-15" (PDF). Transport for NSW. p. 131. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  26. ^ "Sydney Trains 2015-16 Annual Report Volume 1" (PDF). Sydney Trains. p. 3. Archived from the original (pdf) on 10 May 2017. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  27. ^ "Sydney Trains Annual Report 2016-17" (PDF). Transport for NSW. p. 4. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  28. ^ "Sydney Trains Annual Report 2017-18" (PDF). Sydney Trains. p. 4. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  29. ^ "Train Patronage - Monthly Figures". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  30. ^ See Transport for NSW patronage in Sydney by mode for sources
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 March 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ "Opal fares". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  33. ^ "Sydney Airport Station access fee". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  34. ^ "Opal benefits". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  35. ^ "Airport station access fee". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  36. ^ "No more paper tickets | NSW Government | Opal". Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  37. ^ Ministerial Inquiry into Sustainable Transport in New South Wales, Transport NSW. December 2003.

External linksEdit