Fassifern-Toronto Branch

 
  Toddles177 Station Staff

Location: Banned
I have noticed on there that there hasn't been much discussion about the now disused Toronto branch.

It's a branch that has always interested me and I would like to walk along the path of the branch.

I am keen on hearing if anyone has any views regarding the way it operated for a century, why it closed in 1990 or it's purpose.

Any views really.

Below is a clip of the abandoned Toronto platform at Fassifern.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GK4qhsro0Bs

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  OK2RUN Assistant Commissioner

Check these links all from "Railway Archaeology" forum regarding Fassifern - Toronto line in particular the third link (8 pages).

http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11360596.htm

http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11361076.htm

http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11355998.htm

There may be other links but this should help you with most of your questions.
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Toddles177  will not be back to see this thread, but others can post if they wish.
  Speedbird1 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Wyee
Toddles177 will not be back to see this thread, but others can post if they wish.
dthead - Administrator
why wont he be back?
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Toddles177  will not be back to see this thread, but others can post if they wish.
dthead

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto_railway_station

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto_railway_line

The Toronto Branch Railway Line is a closed railway line in New South Wales, Australia. The line opened in 1891,[size=1][1][/size] and branched off the Main Northern line at Fassifern station, crossing over a single lane tunnel on Fassifern Road, and following the shore of Fennell Bay to Blackalls Park. The Toronto end of the line is located close to the shore of Toronto Bay.
Horse drawn carriages were first to run along the branch line. A variety of steam engines also ran along the line during its operation, including a Coffee Pot engine, and the Prince of Wales travelled to Toronto by train on 24 June 1920.
Passenger services operated over the line, generally as a shuttle service between Fassifern and Toronto, but through services to Newcastle also operated. Services in 1989 were operated by 620/720 class diesel railcars, and operated as frequently as every 20 minutes.[size=1][2][/size] The line was not included in the Wyong- Newcastle electrification project completed in 1984, which probably sealed its fate, as it was controversially closed in 1990 despite local opposition, with a privately operated bus service replacing the train. Following closure, a cycleway called the Toronto Greenway was constructed along the line. Most of the cycleway was constructed alongside the railway line in case the line is ever to be reopened.While the line has not been reopened to this day a bus service has been made which drives from Fassifern station to toronto stopping Blackalls Park.


It always an interesting question that the line was closed with a 20min service prior to closure. My only experience wit this line was in I think 1988, headed home late on a Friday from Hornsby night after drinks with guys I slept past Gosford and woke up at Wyee and looking at timetable I worked out I was sitting on the next train south to Gosford after it got to Newcastle. So I have no idea of time but it was after 12am. On arrival to Fassifern still Nth bound, I could see the DMU waiting for this service and there were more than a few people on board. It was probably the last service for the night.
  gw0071 Deputy Commissioner

The Toronto line was allowed to die a slow but inevitable death from the moment it was decided against integration into the Newcastle electrification project completed in 1984 (but with likely political origins from the late '70's). It's probably a miracle it lasted until 1990

While the facilities at Toronto still exist and to a lesser extent Fassifern, the route has slowly been engulfed by nature and progress. The last standing structure in between - the Blackalls Park station toilet block, was demolished about a year or so back

Ironically after a chat with station staff at Fassi a few years back I was reliably informed that the safeworking/signalling equipment was stored under the floorboards should the line be booked back in use

A shame that this is highly unlikely considering its been long deemed socially irrelevant by the powers that be and to a lesser extent, severed from the main north. Such is life
  wurx Lithgovian Ambassador-at-Large

Location: The mystical lost principality of Daptovia
why wont he be back?
Speedbird1
Look at Toddles' location; there's a clue ArrowWink
  steam3801 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Newcastle
The closed line was substituted with a shuttle bus service route 273, known as - and as shown on the destination blinds as - "The Train".
  Shacks Ghanzel

Location: Sir Big Lens of the Distant Upper Hunter
This is what the Toronto Branch looks like these days.
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
If they can spend 17 million on new stickers they spend some money on re railing the Toronto line, it has a bigger population than it did in the early nineties.
  tezza Chief Commissioner

The tramway boys at Valley Heights should show interest in the line, it would be historically correct for them and they may generate some patronage there
  gw0071 Deputy Commissioner

Great concepts - I'd love to see any form of rail operation on the branch again but time hasn't been kind along corridor. The 'Greenway' has really kicked in along the route which would entice the tree-huggers out of the 'woodwork' to block the felling of any tree. I would hesitate a guess that the RTA/DMR would reject any proposal for rail to cross Carey Street again, speaking of which I'm sure the aforementioned would love to demolish the Fassifern Road culvert. The bridges over Stoney and Mudd Creeks would also probably require a fair amount of re-engineering/rebuild

We are a car based society after all and while the population has grown, the density of the area would most likely still fail to create sufficient demand

On the other hand though, if Crown's proposal to position NSW's third casino in Toronto comes to fruition...

Perhaps a light rail proposal initially between Fassifern and Blackalls Park could be a more realistic goal
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
If they don't wanna cross Carey street again they build a new station behind the workers club, there is enough space for a bus interchange.
  gw0071 Deputy Commissioner

Ironically this idea was 'floating' about around the time of closure to give the line a reprieve as apparently the disturbance to traffic flow in the bustling metropolis was an issue even back then. The land is/was under ownership of the Workers Club which is possibly the source of the proposal/rumour. This low-lying land is adjacent to a swamp and is flood prone which may explain the reluctance. Doubly ironic was the temporary platform set up in this area while Carey St roadworks was being carried out in the mid '80's
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Ironically this idea was 'floating' about around the time of closure to give the line a reprieve as apparently the disturbance to traffic flow in the bustling metropolis was an issue even back then. The land is/was under ownership of the Workers Club which is possibly the source of the proposal/rumour. This low-lying land is adjacent to a swamp and is flood prone which may explain the reluctance. Doubly ironic was the temporary  platform set up in this area while Carey St roadworks was being carried out in the mid '80's
gw0071
To return this back to service for RPT you would need to rip the whole thing up and start again, anything less is half arsed. As for the trees, the route is a railway reserve, any tree huggers trying to prevent clearing would get little air play.

Agree the railway will never operate east of Carey Street again. There is amble room for a modern station and car park and bus terminal on west side and suitable land to be taken back for such use. Railway wise they just need a single platform and dead end road with maybe a single track secure stabling siding west of the station with a single set of points.
  gw0071 Deputy Commissioner

Very optimistic indeed. Trouble is, despite the broad demographic motor vehicle ownership is consistantly high. From European SUV's on lakeside millionaires row down to the beaten up VN Commodores of the Houso's in the west, this magnitude of infrastructural rejuvenation just won't have the legs. The only lifeline the Toronto branch had passed by in 1984 when electrification was ignored

However, if ULP hits $2/L...
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
Petrol prices are a bit like electricity prices, very inelastic.
You need extreme changes in the price to change peoples behaviour.
Prices of $2 a litre have been predicted as far back as 2008, and it just hasnt happened.
The higher petrol prices go, the more incentive there is to find more , and to look at other ways of making it .
Look at the number of large petrol guzzling SUVs on the road, and its pretty pbvious people dont care about the running costs.
Cars are expensive things to run , even if you dont drive them very much, so the incremental costs of petrol dont make much differance.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Petrol prices are a bit like electricity prices, very inelastic.
You need extreme changes in the price to change peoples behaviour.
Prices of $2 a litre have been predicted as far back as 2008, and it just hasnt happened.
The higher petrol prices go, the more incentive there is to find more , and to look at other ways of making it .
Look at the number of large petrol guzzling SUVs on the road, and its pretty pbvious people dont care about the running costs.
Cars are expensive things to run , even if you dont drive them very much, so the incremental costs of petrol dont make much differance.
MD
$2 or even $4/L won't make much difference especially if it moves there slowly. Since petrol hit $1/L about 10-15 years ago, look at how much development there has been to reduce fuel consumption. You now have dual cabs burning less fuel than some 1-1.5L small carb petrol vehicles from early 90's. Against inflation there has not been a great deal in price since early 80's, it just hasn't been consistent so people go crazy when there is some catch up. Of course there change in price also includes increases in fuel tax.

If Oil went to $150/barrel, about what is required to get petrol over A$2/L, how many 100's billions do we think there would suddenly be released to find more or find other ways to make it or make it last longer?

Of course Australian Suburbia won't just go to European style uses of PT, there is more to it than price. Smaller cars are one way to avoid the hike, as is deleting many of the fuel burning toys that exist in many front yards. For Europe you basically have cities hundreds of years old built on a walking culture with minimal allowance for car ownership. So if you own one, where do you park it at home? When you drive it, where do you park it?
  gw0071 Deputy Commissioner

Points taken about oil pricing - disregard if you will. Motor vehicle ownership remaining strong is counter-productive to the argument for recovery of a rail service anyway

There's a large park and ride facility at Fassifern allowing a no-transfer direct link to Sydney which is where a large and growing component of 'new' money in the area still has daily employment commitments to comply with

I believe the occasional longer distance commuter is also catered for with stopping services by CountryLink (or whoever they are these days)

As for northbound patronage, how the current shambles surrounding Newcastle City Council's carry-on will affect this is anybody's guess

Devils Advocate perhaps? Just calling it how I see it. As always I remain interested to read the views of others on this wonderful forum
  allambee Chief Train Controller

The tramway boys at Valley Heights should show interest in the line, it would be historically correct for them and they may generate some patronage there
tezza
Why would they move up there? Coffee Pot Society tried that and failed (died)
No live steam and no one would visit the "Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum"  ---- the RTM need them to bring in the visitors.
  Shacks Ghanzel

Location: Sir Big Lens of the Distant Upper Hunter
If they can spend 17 million on new stickers they spend some money on re railing the Toronto line, it has a bigger population than it did in the early nineties.
Junction box
I really doubt the population of the area around the Toronto line has grown since the early 90's. There has been no new housing developments there. With just about all households having 2 cars there really is no need for trains to Toronto these days. On the other hand, the developers of the new Huntly Estate near Branxton should really look at rebuilding the rail into Rothbury and have Sydney Trains run a service from Huntly to Newcastle, it will be a big selling point for the area.
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
Let me guess, you live near Branxton?
Actually there has been new housing estates in Toronto West over the years and the population in NSW has grown everywhere so we may as well re-open the Wangi line as well and use the old power station as shops and accommodation,  with the extra patronage retain Newcastle station, I love happy endings.
  tezza Chief Commissioner

The tramway operation at Valley Heights appears to be unviable at 2500 passengers per year according to figures released in their August 2013 'Steam Scene' newsletter on page 4. This is less than 25% of the numbers they had at Parramatta Park during a bad year.
The RTM can operate steam themselves at Valley Heights.
Toronto is historically correct for the groups objective and would generate a better income and patronage, they may even attract members under 70 years old to carry  on the organisation in future years
Coffee Pot group offered nothing , it was inevitable  that the group would fold.
  Fred Scuttle Junior Train Controller

Location: Point Clare, NSW
Let me guess, you live near Branxton?
Actually there has been new housing estates in Toronto West over the years and the population in NSW has grown everywhere so we may as well re-open the Wangi line as well and use the old power station as shops and accommodation,  with the extra patronage retain Newcastle station, I love happy endings.
Junction box
And while we're at it, rebuild & reopen the Belmont, West Wallsend & Morpeth branches . . . . . . . . . Laughing
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
Yep, the Belmont corridor should of been retained with a bus link to Charlestown and the Minmi line re opened to serve the sprawling housing estates at Fletcher, with fuel approaching $2 is public transport the future?

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