- Main North railway line, New South Wales
Main North LineLooking south over Morisset rail yard,with the station
in the distance and maintenance trains on a siding
Line length: 780 km (480 mi) Gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)Legend 12 Main Suburban line at Strathfield North Strathfield Concord West Rhodes Meadowbank West Ryde Denistone Eastwood Epping to Chatswood line 23 Epping North West Rail Link under planning Cheltenham Beecroft Pennant Hills Thornleigh Normanhurst North Shore Line to Sydney 34 Hornsby Asquith Mount Colah Mount Kuring-Gai 45 Berowra limit of CityRail suburban services Cowan Boronia Tunnels x 4 Hawkesbury River Long Island Tunnel Hawkesbury River Mullet Creek Tunnel Wondabyne Woy Woy Tunnel Woy Woy Koolewong Tascott Point Clare Brisbane Water Gosford Racecourse closed 81 Gosford Narara Niagara Park Lisarow Ourimbah Tuggerah 101 Wyong Warnervale Wyee Vales Point coal unloader Morisset Dora Creek Eraring coal unloader Awaba Wangi Power Station Toronto line closed Fassifern Newstan colliery Booragul Teralba Boolaroo Boolaroo Racecourse Cockle Creek Sulphide Junction Platform Cardiff Tickhole Tunnel Kotara Belmont line closed Adamstown 163 Broadmeadow Newcastle Line to Newcastle limit of electrification Goninan Broadmeadow depot to Port Waratah Waratah "Hanbury Dive" Wallsend line closed Warabrook (University) Kooragang Island coal loaders Sandgate Cemetery branch closed Sandgate Sandgate Flyover Hexham Richmond Vale railway line closed Tarro Thornton Bloomfield Colliery Metford Victoria Street East Maitland Morpeth line closed High Street 193 Maitland South Maitland Railway North Coast line to Brisbane Farley Lochinvar Allandale Greta Whitburn Colliery Branxton Belford Minimbah Whittingham Hunter Valley collieries line 239 Singleton Hunter River Camberwell and Rixs Creek collieries Nundah Glennies Creek Mount Owen colliery Ravensworth Bayswater Power Station Hunter Valley collieries line Mount Arthur and Drayton collieries Antiene Grasstree Muswellbrook Merriwa line to Ulan and Gulgong Koolbury Dartbrook colliery Aberdeen 315 Scone limit of CityRail regional services Parkville Wingen Murrulla Blandford Murrurundi Temple Court Ardglen Tunnel Ardglen Kankool Willow Tree Braefield Quirindi Quipolly 411 Werris Creek Mungindi line Currabubula Duri Warral Barraba line West Tamworth 455 Tamworth Nemingah Tintinhull Kootingal Limbri Danglemah Woolbrook Walcha Road Wollun Kentucky South Kentucky Uralla Kellys Plains 579 Armidale limit of CountryLink services Dumaresq Exmouth Black Mountain Guyra Llangothlin Ben Lomond Glencoe Stonehenge Glen Innes Yarraford Dundee Deepwater Greenley Bolivia Sandy Flat Bungulla Tenterfield Sunnyside 792 Wallangarra and QLD Border
The Main North Line (also known as the Great Northern Railway) is a major railway in New South Wales, Australia. It runs through the Central Coast, Hunter and the New England regions. The line was the original main line between Sydney and Brisbane, however this required a change of gauge at Wallangarra. The line is now closed north of Armidale, and the main route between Brisbane and Sydney is now the North Coast line.
Description of route
The line starts as a branch from the Main Suburban line at Strathfield in Sydney. The line heads north as a double track electrified line through the northern suburbs of Sydney, crossing the Hawkesbury River, before passing through the Central Coast.
At Fassifern, a former branch line to Toronto divides off in an eastwards direction. The line continues north to Broadmeadow in the inner western suburbs of Newcastle. North of Broadmeadow is the junction with the Newcastle Branch Line. Electrification of the main line ends at Broadmeadow but continues along the Newcastle branch line.
The line then swings westwards as four tracks (two main line and two coal roads) through the outer suburbs of Newcastle to Maitland. Maitland is the junction of the North Coast line which continues to Brisbane. The line becomes double track immediately west of Maitland and heads through the Upper Hunter Valley through the townships of Branxton and Singleton before reaching Muswellbrook. The line is presently single track from Antiene to Muswellbrook, but Australian Rail Track Corporation are altering the layout of the Muswellbrook yard in preparation for duplication of this section.
Muswellbrook is the junction point for the cross country goods line to Sandy Hollow and Gulgong. The Main North continues northwards through the Ardglen Tunnel to Werris Creek, where the Mungindi Line branches off northwest to Moree, and a cross country branch continues to Binnaway and ultimately Dubbo.
The line continues north, but sees limited traffic from Werris Creek northwards. The line reaches the major New England towns of Tamworth and Armidale, the latter being the northernmost extent of service on the line. Until the mid-2000s freight traffic continued to the disused station at Dumaresq (a township a few kilometres north of Armidale) which is home to a now-also-disused agricultural fertilizer depot. There is now wire across the corridor at several points between Armidale and Dumaresq, after which the line is for all intents and purposes closed onwards to Wallangarra. A baulk is placed across the tracks at kilometre 590 (a short distance on from Dumaresq), and north of Glen Innes the line - particularly its bridges - has fallen into considerable disrepair.
The first section of the Main North Line was built from the port of Newcastle to Victoria Street, Maitland in 1857 and extended to Singleton in 1863, Muswellbrook and Murrurundi in 1872, Werris Creek and west Tamworth in 1878, Armidale in 1883 and Wallangarra, Queensland in 1888.
The Sydney to Newcastle section, Homebush to Waratah, had difficult topography to overcome, including crossing the Hawkesbury River, traversing the Mullet Creek bank and constructing the Woy Woy Tunnel. From the south, the line was opened between Homebush and Hornsby in 1886, then extended to Hawkesbury River in 1887. From the north, the line opened between Waratah and Gosford in 1887. Progress in the construction of the last section between Hawkesbury River and Gosford occurred when the Woy Woy Tunnel opened in 1887, then Mullet Creek to Gosford in 1888 and finally Hawkesbury River to Mullet Creek in 1889 when the original Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge was built.
Several lines branch from the Main North Line, including:
- the Newcastle Branch Line between Broadmeadow and Newcastle
- the Merriwa Line to Sandy Hollow and on to the Sandy Hollow- Gulgong line
- the Mungindi Line from Werris Creek to Narrabri and Moree
- the Toronto Line from Fassifern to Toronto (now closed and converted to cycleway)
- the Belmont Line from Adamstown to Belmont (now closed and converted to a cycleway called The Fernleigh Track)
- the Morpeth Line from East Maitland and Morpeth (now closed).
- the Barraba Branch Line from West Tamworth to Barraba (now closed).
CountryLink operates passenger services along the Main North line. A daily Xplorer diesel self-propelled train operates to Werris Creek before dividing into two sections, one operating along the Main North Line to Armidale, and one section operating along the North-West (Mungindi) line to Moree. CityRail operates electric suburban passenger services over the suburban section between Strathfield and Berowra, and inter-urban passenger services between Sydney and Newcastle. It also operates diesel self propelled regional railcars between Newcastle, Maitland, Scone and Dungog. The section between Strathfield and Maitland forms part of the trunk line between Sydney and Brisbane and sees intermodal goods traffic carried between the two cities. The section of line in the Hunter Valley sees intensive coal train working, in fact the section between Broadmeadow and Maitland is one of the busiest goods lines in Australia.
Developments in the 20th century
The line was hampered by the rugged terrain and a change of gauge at Wallangarra for traffic to Queensland. The line was supplanted as the principal route to Brisbane by the completion of the North Coast Line in 1930. Despite being bypassed, the line remained busy for many years afterwards, with the line instead becoming the major freight link to the wheat and wool regions of northern and north-west New South Wales.
In 1988, the New South Wales government abandoned the line between Tenterfield and Wallangarra. The line was later abandoned to as far south as Tamworth before services were returned to Armidale in 1993. Since that time, there have been attempts to revive freight or tourist traffic to as far as Glen Innes, although these plans have not yet succeeded.
Today, the line is used for both freight and passenger traffic. The busiest sections are in the Hunter Valley and Central Coast regions, with services to the New England being less frequent. Passenger services are provided by CountryLink, with daily Xplorer services running from Sydney to Armidale and Moree. Freight services are provided by a number of companies, with Pacific National being the largest user on the line.
A section of the line between Waratah and Maitland is quadruple track, with one pair being used exclusively for coal trains within the Hunter Valley Coal Chain and the other pair of tracks being used for passenger trains and general freight. The coal tracks from Port Waratah join the line on the eastern side of the other tracks at Scholey Street Junction and pass underneath the other tracks at Hanbury Dive just west of Maud Street, continuing to Maitland on the western side of the other tracks.
The Sandgate Flyover was constructed in 2006 to allow the two passenger/freight tracks to rise and pass over the coal tracks that branch off to Kooragang Island in order to eliminate a capacity restriction caused by the long coal trains crossing the other tracks at grade. Because of the location of the overpass relative to the branch to Kooragang Island, a short section of the line has 6 parallel tracks. The bridge carrying Sandgate Road over the lines had to modified to allow for the additional lines. Sandgate railway station is flanked by a pair of coal tracks on each side.
- Rail transport in New South Wales
- Newcastle and Central Coast railway line
- Woy Woy Tunnel
- Northern Sydney Freight Corridor - a package of capacity improvements between Sydney and Newcastle
- Sydney–Brisbane rail corridor
- ^ "Muswellbrook Junction and Passing Loop Fact sheet". artc.com.au. Archived from the original on 2007-01-17. http://web.archive.org/web/20070117075904/http://www.artc.com.au/docs/news/pdf/news_071206a.pdf. Retrieved 2007-05-01.
- ^ Centenary of the Newcastle-Maitland Railway Wylie, R.F. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, March, 1957 pp33-45
- ^ "Main North Line". www.nswrail.net. http://www.nswrail.net/lines/show.php?name=NSW:main_north. Retrieved 2006-12-03.
- ^ "Main North Line". www.nswrail.net. http://www.nswrail.net/lines/show.php?name=NSW:main_north. Retrieved 2006-12-03.
- ^ Opening of the Hawkesbury Bridge, The Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday 2 May 1889, p.7 (accessed 30 June 2011)
- ARTC maps of rail network outside Railcorp controlled zone (Sydney)
- Curve and gradient data for all lines including some closed lines
Railway Lines in New South Wales Main lines Country branch lines
Berrima Line • Binnaway-Werris Creek Line • Blayney-Demondrille Line • Boggabilla Branch • Bombala Line • Canberra Branch • Cobar Branch • Coonamble Branch • Grenfell Branch • Gwabegar Line • Hay Branch • Lake Cargelligo Branch • Medway Quarry Branch • Mungindi Line • Naradhan Branch • Newcastle branch • Oaklands Branch • Parkes to Narromine Line • Picton - Mittagong loop • Pokataroo Branch • Sandy Hollow - Gulgong Line • South Maitland Railway • Stockinbingal - Parkes Line • Temora to Roto Line • Tottenham Branch • Troy Junction - Merrygoen Line • Unanderra - Moss Vale Line • Walgett Branch • Warren Branch • Yanco - Griffith Line
Closed: Ballina line • Barraba line • Belmont line • Boorowa branch • Brewarrina Line • Burcher Branch • Camden Branch • Captains Flat Branch • Corowa Branch • Crookwell line • Dorrigo Line • Eugowra branch • Holbrook Branch • Kunama (Batlow) Branch • Kywong Branch • Merriwa line • Molong to Dubbo line • Morpeth line • Mount Hope line • Murwillumbah Branch • Newnes line • Oberon Line • Rand Branch • Rankins Springs Branch • Richmond Vale Railway • Taralga Branch • Tocumwal line • Toronto Line • Tumbarumba Line • Tumut Branch •Wallsend Branch • Westby Branch
Main Suburban Line • City Circle
Airport Line • Bankstown Line • Carlingford Line • Cumberland Line • Cronulla Line • Eastern Suburbs Line • East Hills Line • Epping to Chatswood Line • Illawarra Line • Inner West Line • North Shore Line • Northern Line • Olympic Park Line • Richmond Line • South Line • Western Line
Closed: Camden Line • Kurrajong Line • Rogans Hill Line • Ropes Creek Line • Royal National Park Line • Sandown Line
Interurban and regional passenger services Proposed or under construction Tourist & heritage railways Significant places and items of interest in the Hunter Region of New South Wales Commerce and industryIndustryShoppingOther EducationPrimarySecondaryAll Saints College, St Joseph's Campus • Avondale School • Hunter School of the Performing Arts • Hunter Valley Grammar School • Irrawang High School • Lambton High School • Maitland Grossmann High School • Maitland High School • Merewether High School • Newcastle Grammar School • Newcastle High School • Rutherford Technology High School • Tomaree High SchoolTertiary Entertainment, sport & culture GeographyGeneralNational parksBarrington Tops National Park • Black Bulga State Conservation Area • Booti Booti National Park • Ghin-Doo-Ee National Park • Mount Royal National Park • Myall Lakes National Park • Tomaree National Park • Towarri National Park • Wallingat National Park • Watagans National Park • Werakata National ParkRivers HistoricalAir transportDefenceEducationGeneralIndustryMaritimeNatural disasters1989 Newcastle earthquake • June 2007 Hunter Region and Central Coast storms • Seaham bushfires (1939)PeopleRailGeneralHunter Valley Railway Trust • Hunter Valley Steamfest • Murulla rail accidentRailway linesBelmont railway line • East Maitland – Morpeth railway line • Fernleigh Track • Richmond Vale Railway • South Maitland Railway • Toronto railway lineRailway stationsTramsWine makingWorld War II InfrastructureTransportRoadRailway linesHunter • Main North • Newcastle and Central CoastRailway stationsAberdeen • Adamstown • Awaba • Beresfield • Booragul • Branxton • Broadmeadow • Cardiff • Civic • Cockle Creek • Dora Creek • Dungog • East Maitland • Fassifern • Glendale • Greta • Hamilton • Hexham • High Street • Hilldale • Kotara • Lochinvar • Maitland • Martins Creek • Metford • Mindaribba • Morisset • Muswellbrook • Newcastle • Paterson • Sandgate • Scone • Singleton • Tarro • Telarah • Teralba • Thornton • Victoria Street • Wallarobba • Warabrook • Waratah • Wickham • Wirragulla • WyeeAirUtilitiesElectricity generationBayswater Power Station • Eraring Power Station • Lake Liddell • Liddell Power Station • Redbank Power Station • Teralba Colliery • Vales Point Power StationWater supply Media OtherDefenceGeneralHospitals
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