South Coast Line

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South Coast Line
South Coast Line Logo.png
H11-scarborough.jpg
A NSW TrainLink H set travelling towards Scarborough
Overview
Service type Intercity rail
Locale Illawarra region, New South Wales
First service 21 June 1887 (1887-06-21)
Current operator(s) NSW TrainLink
Route
Start Central, Bondi Junction
Stops 45
End Bomaderry
Distance travelled 166 km (103 mi)
Line used Eastern Suburbs
South Coast
Port Kembla
Technical
Rolling stock NSW TrainLink H set and Endeavour railcar
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Track owner(s) RailCorp

The South Coast Line is an intercity rail service operated by NSW TrainLink that services the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia. The service runs from Central, and runs the entire length of the eponymous South Coast railway line to Bomaderry. The service also runs along the Eastern Suburbs railway line at peak hours and the Port Kembla railway line to Port Kembla. It is operated with NSW TrainLink H sets and Sydney Trains T sets, with Endeavour railcars operating the service on the non-electrified line between Kiama and Bomaderry.

Passenger trains first operated on the South Coast railway line in 1887, and is one of five routes on the NSW TrainLink Intercity network. The South Coast Line routes span 40 stations, across 159 km of railway. An additional 5 stations and 7 km of railway are travelled by South Coast Line trains at peak hour on the Eastern Suburbs railway line.

History

Stations

The first passenger train services on the Illawarra commenced on 21 June 1887, after the line was completed from Clifton to Wollongong, and later, North Kiama on 9 November 1887. The line was later connected to Waterfall via Helensburgh, Otford, Stanwell Park and Coalcliff the following year between July and October 1888, after delays on construction between Waterfall and Clifton. The line was further extended to Bomaderry through Kiama, opening on 2 June 1893.[1][2]

An American Suburban carriage passenger train approaches Austinmer station. (photograph dated 1914)
View of Shellharbour Junction station, which opened in late 2014

Throughout its long history, the South Coast Line's roster of stations have changed significantly. Many stations in the Upper Illawarra had closed and new ones opened towards the first half of the 20th century. Stations such as the ones serving Clifton were closed, along with a majority of the original railway between Waterfall and Coalcliff between 1915 and 1920, replaced with a new alignment that made use of a flatter gradient and made the infamous Otford Tunnel defunct. New stations along the line that opened throughout this period included Coledale in 1902, North Wollongong in 1915, Coniston in 1916, Wombarra in 1917, and Towradgi in 1948. Further removals of stations from the line in the latter half of the 20th century included the station serving Yallah in 1974, the majority of the stations on the line between Kiama and Bomaderry, and Lilyvale in 1983.[1] Dunmore was also closed in November 2014, replaced by Shellharbour Junction, after rising commercial and residential development in Flinders and Shell Cove and their distance from Dunmore station, prompted the Government of New South Wales to build a replacement station closer to the area of urban growth.[3]

While the railway network at Port Kembla was built in 1916, stations and passenger trains servicing the surrounding suburbs did not operate until 5 January 1920, when the Port Kembla railway station was opened. A station at Cringila was added to the Port Kembla commuter branch in 1926, along with one at Port Kembla North, a decade later, in 1936. A railway station for workers at Port Kembla, named Lysaghts, after the nearby Bluescope Lysaght steel plant, was also opened in 1938.[1]

Services and rolling stock

Services were originally operated with locomotive-hauled trains and, later, Diesel railcars, prior to the electrification of the South Coast railway line. The line was electrified to Helensburgh in 1984, with the suburban Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line service occasionally extending their service past the terminus at Waterfall at Helensburgh during peak hours; a practice in which the current Sydney Trains Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line service still does today. Electrification extended to Wollongong the following year. Despite the newly installed electrification, diesel and locomotive trains still operated along the line from Kiama all the way past Wollongong to Sydney, including the South Coast Daylight Express, until 1991.[4] Electrification of the South Coast railway line was further extended to Dapto in 1993 and, finally, to Kiama in 2001. The railway between Kiama and Bomaderry is the only part of the line that remains non-electrified, operated by New South Wales Endeavour railcars since their introduction in 1994.

The electrified rolling stock of the South Coast Line began with V set intercity trains. There were later accompanied by Tangaras when they were introduced into the CityRail network in 1988. Originally, the Tangaras that ran on the South Coast Line were different variations of T sets known as G sets. G sets differed from T sets in that they had reversible seats, toilets, fresh water dispensers and luggage racks. In late 2005, it was discovered that a majority of the V set rolling stock operating on the South Coast Line were suffering from corrosion in their underframes. More G sets were introduced onto the South Coast Line to compensate, and eventually became the standard rolling stock on the South Coast Line after V sets ceased operating on the service. From January 2012, V sets ceased operating South Coast services. In 2009, however, after the introduction of OSCARs onto the intercity CityRail network, All G sets were recalled for conversion into T sets. The OSCAR fleet effectively replaced the G set rolling stock and, since 2010, standard Sydney Trains T sets, owned by NSW TrainLink, have been operating services to Port Kembla.

In 2017, it was revealed that the Liberal state government had reviewed a 3.6 billion dollar tunnel between Thirroul and Waterfall that could reduce travel time between Sydney and Wollongong by 22 minutes, but that rail improvements were being sidetracked in favour of improving and extending the nearby Princes Motorway.[5]

Incidents

On 20 December 1994, an accident involving two empty S sets occurred during a shunting procedure at Waterfall. One of the trains jack-knifed onto the platform, demolishing the concrete pedestrian bridge. No injuries or casualties, however, were reported.[6] On the morning of 31 January 2003, an intercity Tangara en route to Port Kembla derailed at high speed between Waterfall and Helensburgh, resulting in the deaths of seven people and injury of forty.[7] The accident was the third major accident resulting in fatalities on the CityRail network in 13 years, after the Cowan rail accident in 1990 and Glenbrook rail accident in 1999.

On 24 November 2011, a Pacific National coal train derailed near Clifton, causing the suspension of South Coast Line services between Waterfall and Thirroul. Services were resumed four days later, after the derailed train was removed from the tracks.[8] The train had derailed immediately after coming out of the Clifton tunnel, with the front eight clearing the tunnel and derailing, and the rear twelve carriages remaining inside the tunnel. The Office of Transport Safety Investigations found that the cause of the derailment was a broken axle.[9]

Services

The rolling stock of the South Coast Line: OSCARs (left), Tangaras (center), and Endeavours (right).

NSW TrainLink South Coast Line services typically commence from Platform 14 at Central, though, peak hour services can commence from Bondi Junction and Martin Place on the Eastern Suburbs railway line, and stop at Central at Platform 25. South Coast Line trains pass through most of the stations on the suburban section of the South Coast railway line, and usually only stop at Redfern (to and from Bondi Junction only), Wolli Creek, Hurstville, Sutherland and Waterfall, though services to and from Thirroul and Port Kembla also make additional stops at Sydenham, Loftus, Engadine and Heathcote. The most common Central to Kiama services, operated by NSW TrainLink H sets (OSCARs), bypass most of the stations on the line, while all-stations services operate between Waterfall and Port Kembla and Thirroul and Port Kembla with NSW TrainLink-owned Sydney Trains T sets (Tangaras). All Central to Kiama services make stops at all stations between North Wollongong and Kiama, with the exception of the request stop Kembla Grange. Express services also exist between Bondi Junction and Wollongong, and Bondi Junction and Dapto. Shuttle train services between Kiama and Bomaderry are operated by Diesel-engined New South Wales Endeavour railcars, due to the line not being electrified past Kiama.[10]

Stopping Patterns

Weekday Peak Hours There are no set stopping patterns for peak hours, however every 20 minutes a service operates between Bondi Junction all stations to Central (Platforms 24/25), Redfern (Platform 11/12), Wolli Creek, Hurstville and the South Coast.

Weekday Off-Peak

  • Central (i), Wolli Creek, Hurstville, Sutherland, Helensburgh, Thirroul, North Wollongong, Wollongong then all stations (except Kembla Grange) to Kiama (operates every 60 minutes)
  • Kiama then all stations to Bomaderry/Nowra (operates every 120 minutes - connects with every second Central-Kiama train)
  • Waterfall then all stations to Port Kembla via Thirroul and Wollongong (operates every 60 minutes)

Weekends

  • Bondi Junction, all to Central (Platform 24/25), then Redfern (Platform 11/12), Wolli Creek, Hurstville, Sutherland, Waterfall then all stations to Thirroul, then North Wollongong, Wollongong and then all stations to Kiama (operates every 120 minutes)
  • Bondi Junction, all to Central (Platform 24/25), then Redfern (Platform 11/12), Wolli Creek, Hurstville, Sutherland, Waterfall, Helensburgh, Thirroul, North Wollongong, Wollongong and then all stations to Kiama (operates every 120 minutes - connects with Nowra train)
  • Kiama then all stations to Bomaderry/Nowra (operates every 120 minutes - connects with express Bondi Junction-Kiama train)

Stations

New South Wales metropolitan rail area, with the South Coast Line highlighted in blue
Name Code
[11]
Distance from
Central
Travel Time
[ab 1]
Railway Suburbs serviced Connecting Services
Bondi Junction - Waterfall (Suburban section)
Bondi Junction BJN 6.7 km dep. Eastern Suburbs Bondi Junction, Woollahra
Edgecliff ECL 4.8 km 3 min Edgecliff, Darling Point
Kings Cross KSX 3.4 km 3 min Kings Cross, Rushcutters Bay
Martin Place MPC 2.1 km 2 min Sydney
Town Hall THL 1.1 km 3 min Sydney
Central SBO 0.0 km 3 min Sydney, Strawberry Hills,
Ultimo, Surry Hills
Redfern RDF 1.3 km 2 min Redfern, Waterloo, Darlington
Wolli Creek WOC 7.3 km 8 min South Coast Wolli Creek, Arncliffe
Hurstville HVL 14.8 km 15 min Hurstville, Hurstville South
Sutherland SLD 24.6 km 10 min Sutherland
Waterfall WFL 38.7 km 12 min Waterfall
Waterfall - Coniston
Helensburgh HSB 46.3 km 9 min South Coast Helensburgh, Lilyvale
Otford OTF 54.6 km 6 min Otford, Stanwell Tops
Stanwell Park SWP 56.0 km 4 min Stanwell Park
Coalcliff CCF 59.3 km 6 min Coalcliff
Scarborough SWP 62.5 km 5 min Scarborough, Clifton
Wombarra WMJ 64.4 km 3 min Wombarra
Coledale COL 66.2 km 3 min Coledale
Austinmer AUR 68.6 km 3 min Austinmer
Thirroul TRL 70.2 km 2 min Thirroul
Bulli BUI 72.2 km 2 min Bulli
Woonona WOJ 74.0 km 2 min Woonona
Bellambi BLM 75.6 km 2 min Bellambi, Russell Vale
Corrimal CIM 77.0 km 1 min Corrimal, East Corrimal
Towradgi TOW 78.0 km 1 min Towradgi, Tarrawanna
Fairy Meadow FMW 79.4 km 2 min Fairy Meadow
North Wollongong NHW 81.3 km 3 min North Wollongong, Gwynneville,
Mount Ousley
Wollongong WOL 82.9 km 4 min Wollongong TfNSW C.svg Wollongong - Bundanoon Coach
Coniston CNI 84.1 km 2 min Coniston
Coniston - Port Kembla (Port Kembla branch)
Lysaghts LYS 86.3 km 3 min Port Kembla
Cringila CRG 87.7 km 2 min Cringila
Port Kembla North PBN 88.8 km 2 min Warrawong
Port Kembla PKM 90.2 km 3 min Port Kembla
Coniston - Kiama
Unanderra UDR 88.3 km 5 min South Coast Unanderra
Kembla Grange KGG 91.6 km 3 min Kembla Grange
Dapto DAP 95.1 km 5 min Dapto, Horsley TfNSW C.svg Wollongong - Bundanoon Coach
Albion Park ALP 103.3 km ~9 min Albion Park Rail TfNSW C.svg Wollongong - Bundanoon Coach
Oak Flats OAF 105.5 km 3 min Oak Flats, Blackbutt, Shellharbour
Shellharbour Junction 108.9 km 4 min Croom, Flinders, Shell Cove
Minnamurra MUR 113.4 km 5 min Minnamurra
Bombo BMB 117.6 km 5 min Kiama Downs
Kiama KAM 119.2 km 3 min Kiama
Kiama - Bomaderry (Non-electric service)
Gerringong GOG 128.6 km 9 min South Coast Gerringong
Berry BRY 140.8 km 9 min Berry
Bomaderry BOM 153.4 km 9 min Bomaderry, Nowra
  1. ^ The time taken for a train to reach the station from the previous stop. Based on the current South Coast Line timetable, effective 20 October 2013.[10]

References

  1. ^ a b c Bozier, Rolfe. "South Coast Line". NSWrail.net. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  2. ^ Oakes, John (2009) [2003]. Sydney's Forgotten Illawarra Railways (2nd rev. ed.). Sydney: Australian Railway Historical Society, NSW Division. pp. 11, 12, 23, 24, 26, 54–56, 60, 73, 79–85. ISBN 978-0-9805106-6-9. 
  3. ^ Humphries, Glen (6 November 2014). "New Shellharbour Junction set to open". Illawarra Mercury. Fairfax Regional Media. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  4. ^ Cooke, David (1984). Railmotors and XPTs. Sydney: Australian Railway Historical Society, NSW Division. ISBN 0 909650 23 3. 
  5. ^ Robertson, James; O'Sullivan, Matt (27 June 2017). "Minister's answer undercut by cabinet documents on Sydney-Wollongong rail tunnel". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 June 2017. 
  6. ^ "Waterfall Collision Puts Focus on Procedures". Railway Digest: 6. February 1995. 
  7. ^ "Special Commission of Inquiry into the Waterfall Rail Accident; Final Report Volume 1; January 2005; The Honourable Peter Aloysius McInerney QC" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 June 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2012. 
  8. ^ ABC News staff (28 November 2011). "Train services return after derailment". ABC News Australia. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "Rail Safety Investigation Report - Derailment of Pacific National Service MC92" (PDF). New South Wales Office of Transport Safety Investigations. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  10. ^ a b "South Coast Line train timetable" (PDF). NSW TrainLink. Transport for New South Wales. 20 October 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  11. ^ Bozier, Rolfe. "New South Wales Railways: NSW Station Codes". Archived from the original on 13 June 2002. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 

External links

  • NSW TrainLink official website
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