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Carlingford line

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Carlingford line

Carlingford Line
Mode Commuter rail line
Owner Sydney Trains
Operator(s) Sydney Trains
Connects Clyde
Length 7 km
Stations 7
Fleet S , C sets and K set
Depot(s) Flemington
Line colour Dark blue
Key dates
1888 Opened to Camellia
1896 Opened to Carlingford
1900 Reopened under public ownership
1925 Telopea station added
1991 Sandown branch becomes a freight only line

The Carlingford Line is a railway line and an associated Sydney Trains service in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It travels between Carlingford and Clyde stations in the Greater Western Sydney and the Hills District. It is labelled as dark blue on Sydney Trains' maps and promotional material.

Line description

Carlingford Railway Line

The Carlingford Line consists of a double track branch line off the Western Line, between Clyde and Carlingford. The line has its own platform at Clyde station, where it crosses over Parramatta Road on a level crossing, before heading under the M4 Western Motorway to a station opposite Rosehill Gardens Racecourse. 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 track and one platform which is approximately sixteen-cars long on the Sandown line track which is used for special events at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse.

The line then heads in a north-easterly direction over the Parramatta River up to Carlingford. 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. The average 12 minute travel time between Clyde and Carlingford allows a theoretical maximum capacity of approximately two trains per hour on this line. Sydney Trains timetabling and low patronage mean that this is never required. It is Sydney's least-used suburban railway line.

The stations between Carlingford and Camellia consist of a single platform of a sufficient length to accommodate four-car suburban trains (most Sydney Ttains services consist of eight cars). Eight car trains are not used on the Carlingford Line due to the short platforms and low patronage. However, during initial testing for the Waratah train, an eight-car set was run for evaluation purposes on the line.[1] Prior to 2005, Clyde station was an interchange station of the Western, South and Carlingford lines, although under the September 2005 timetable, South line trains no longer stop at Clyde.


A number of industrial and car storage sidings have been built on the line.[2] Currently only one still remains in service.

Starting from the Clyde end:

  1. 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).
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.[3] Telopea Station was added in 1925. Originally the line was privately owned by two companies: the line from Clyde to Rosehill was owned by a Mr 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 reopening 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. After electrifiction, services were operated by 3 car single deck trains marshalled into Y-Sets, until their final withdrawal in 1993.

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.[4] The section from Telopea to Rosehill was similarly upgraded over the fortnight of 22 June to 3 July 2009.[5] 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.[6]

Modification proposals

Various inquiries and studies have been undertaken since on the future of the Carlingford line. A major problem remains the level crossing on Parramatta Road, which holds up peak hour traffic when trains travel across the road. Proposals have been made including underground tunnel links to Clyde or Granville stations, or even to replace the line altogether with a more frequent light rail or busway service.[7]

The State 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, where the line between Carlingford and Camellia would have been duplicated. Telopea, Dundas, and Rydalmere stations would also have been duplicated and upgraded to service 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 then Minister for Transport, Michael Costa announced that only Stage 1 of the line, from Chatswood to Epping, would be constructed, and the Carlingford line section indefinitely postponed.

However, on 11 August 2010, the Federal Government promised A$2.6 billion towards this project, who, along with the NSW State Government, will extend the line from Epping to Parramatta through the Carlingford line. Carlingford station, along with Telopea, Dundas, Rydalmere and Parramatta, would be upgraded, and Camellia and Rosehill stations would be demolished. A new station, Rosehill-Camellia, would be built. The line would be upgraded to accommodate 8-carriage trains, and the line would be duplicated. Work was due to start in 2011, with a prospected 2017 finish. However, the State Election in March 2011 changed the political party in Government. This resulted in a change of priorities and a disagreement between the Federal and NSW governments over the funding for this proposal. The project is once again on hold with no projected start date.

A large amount of land lies behind Carlingford station, for future extensions of the line. A redevelopment of the land next to the station was subsequently put on hold because of the postponement of the link.

Under the Rail Clearways Plan, 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.[8]


Most services operate as a Clyde-Carlingford shuttle. One service in the morning peak hour continues to Central, stopping Lidcombe, Strathfield & Redfern. Another service in the very early morning operates Lidcombe-Carlingford. For all other trains, a change of trains is needed at Clyde station. On racedays at Rosehill racecourse, additional services operate to the Sandown line platform at Rosehill station, and previously stabled on the Sandown branch prior to the removal of the electric catenary in December 2002. From 12 February 2007, most services were weekdays operated using a four car Millennium train,[9] in June 2008 the four car Millennium set was replaced by a three car L set.

Name Code Serving Suburbs Pattern stops
at this station
colspan=7 style=background:#|Carlingford Line
Clyde CYE Granville Western Line
Rosehill RSL Rosehill, Camellia, Harris Park
Camellia CEL Camellia, Rosehill
Rydalmere RYD Rydalmere
Dundas DDS Dundas, Oatlands
Telopea TEA Telopea, Dundas Valley
Carlingford CGF Carlingford, North Rocks, West Pennant Hills

Stopping patterns

  • Pattern 1: Clyde, all stations to Carlingford. (off-peak hours and weekends)
  • Pattern 2: Lidcombe, Auburn, Clyde, then all stations to Carlingford. (early morning services)
  • Pattern 3: Carlingford, all stations to Clyde, then Lidcombe, Strathfield, Redfern, Central (i) (one weekday peak service)
  • Pattern 4: Between Clyde and Rosehill only. (special events only)

The current off-peak service pattern is as follows:


Further reading

Railways and Tramways of the Parramatta Hills District - Clyde to Carlingford and Sandown Railways Singleton, C.C. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, April/May 1955 pp50–54/57-62

The Carlingford-Clyde Branch Line Jenkins, Christopher Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, December 1974 pp266–283

External links

  • Sydney Trains timetable - Carlingford to Clyde
  • Sydney Trains timetable - Clyde to Carlingford
  • New South Wales Railways - line information
  • Neety's Train Page - line & station information
  • aus.rail newsgroup
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