Publication Details

Michell, M. & Laird, P. G. (2017). Shorter south coast train transit times. AusRail PLUS (pp. 1-9). Canberra: Australasian Railway Association.

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The paper outlines the development of the South Coast railway linking Sydney through Wollongong to Bomaderry that was completed in 1893 as single track for most of its length. During the 1914-1920 period, duplication and grade easing between Waterfall and Coacliff was completed at the expense of 4.96 km of additional distance and with continuous tight radius curves. This paper starts from the premise that a 60 minute journey time between Sydney and Wollongong is seen as a 21st Century commuting expectation. The authors look at the achievable gains for train operations arising from realignment through the most difficult section south of Waterfall, following which they comment on other strategies that would reduce commuting times. The paper identifies that this realignment would be a necessary but incomplete solution, although addition of some other infrastructure and operational improvements would provide the foundation for reduction of existing 90 minute timings between Sydney and Wollongong to the desired 60 minutes. The authors also comment on the partly completed 35 kilometre Maldon to Dombarton freight rail link as a means of relieving pressure on passenger train running on the South Coast line as a result of reducing mixed train types over the existing difficult route.