Rail line made Toronto the “Riviera of Australia”

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 04 Mar 2019 11:02
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Some questions come to mind on this one.

Why was the line not electrified for the distance (not exactly sure how far) allowing for both Newcastle and Sydney travelers to access Toronto via rail?

Rail line made Toronto the “Riviera of Australia”

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  G Train Locomotive Driver

Well that was a very brief and poorly researched piece by The Herald, but thanks for posting.
Steam train to Newcastle in 1984??? They mean diesel railcar service. These were typically 2 or 4 car 620/660 sets. These ceased as through services due to electrification when 3 car double deck NC sets (S sets) took over from Newcastle to Fassifern, then the diesel railcars continued as a yo-yo service typically. At the start & end of the day positioning movements would have run at least up to Broadmeadow, but I'd need to consult a timetable of the era to see if they carried passengers.

There are some great videos on youtube of the branch in its final year and days by the Semi Retired Foamer.

The line is around 4km in length. As to why it wasn't electrified, well... We all have our own theories.

Check out https://www.nswrail.net/lines/show.php?name=NSW:toronto for more detailed information.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
The link is broken can it be fixed?
  G Train Locomotive Driver

Thanks for the heads up X31. Don't know why it wouldn't work. I didn't have 2 http's for example. Not entering a description seems to work now for me. Hope it works for all now.
Cheers,
  garratt6042 Beginner

Well that was a very brief and poorly researched piece by The Herald, but thanks for posting.
Steam train to Newcastle in 1984??? They mean diesel railcar service. These were typically 2 or 4 car 620/660 sets. These ceased as through services due to electrification when 3 car double deck NC sets (S sets) took over from Newcastle to Fassifern, then the diesel railcars continued as a yo-yo service typically. At the start & end of the day positioning movements would have run at least up to Broadmeadow, but I'd need to consult a timetable of the era to see if they carried passengers.

There are some great videos on youtube of the branch in its final year and days by the Semi Retired Foamer.

The line is around 4km iin length. As to why it wasn't electrified, well... We all have our own theories.

Check out Toronto Branch info on nswrail.net for more detailed information.
G Train
If I remember correctly, there was discussion at the time about there not being enough clearance between the road and the electric wires at the level crossing on Cary Street so this precluded electrifying the section.  But as anyone who has been driving under wires at level crossings in Melbourne for the last 80 years knows, this is (I will try to be polite) rubbish.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
If I remember correctly, there was discussion at the time about there not being enough clearance between the road and the electric wires at the level crossing on Cary Street so this precluded electrifying the section.  But as anyone who has been driving under wires at level crossings in Melbourne for the last 80 years knows, this is (I will try to be polite) rubbish.
garratt6042

Well that is unfortunate as I am told the line was a nice way to get into the area.
  G Train Locomotive Driver

The passenger service ceased in March 1990. I recall reading at the time that the DMR/RTA of NSW, now RMS, were unhappy at the disruption to traffic at the Cary St level crossing and risk of collisions. At the time the F3 Freeway ended at Palmers Rd and one route north was via Toronto, then up through Cockle Creek to Sandgate. Cary St carried a lot of traffic around that time until the freeway was extended. Anyway, this would've been one of many factors. Lack of patronage following the changes in 1984 was another. Some called for a new platform west of Cary St, but rationalisation was in vogue at the time. The area has a larger population now than in 1990. The folly of adding a change of service when people want to travel to their destination... Progress?
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Well that was a very brief and poorly researched piece by The Herald, but thanks for posting.
Steam train to Newcastle in 1984??? They mean diesel railcar service. These were typically 2 or 4 car 620/660 sets. These ceased as through services due to electrification when 3 car double deck NC sets (S sets) took over from Newcastle to Fassifern, then the diesel railcars continued as a yo-yo service typically. At the start & end of the day positioning movements would have run at least up to Broadmeadow, but I'd need to consult a timetable of the era to see if they carried passengers.

There are some great videos on youtube of the branch in its final year and days by the Semi Retired Foamer.

The line is around 4km iin length. As to why it wasn't electrified, well... We all have our own theories.

Check out Toronto Branch info on nswrail.net for more detailed information.
If I remember correctly, there was discussion at the time about there not being enough clearance between the road and the electric wires at the level crossing on Cary Street so this precluded electrifying the section.  But as anyone who has been driving under wires at level crossings in Melbourne for the last 80 years knows, this is (I will try to be polite) rubbish.
garratt6042

we don't do level crossings any more and the ones we have we are trying to get rid of. The line is pretty much a bike path now as are most of the old newcastle coal mine branches. Also the track is still mostly in place and there have been talks of running a newcastle type light rail service recently I believe.
  bevans Site Admin
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
Glenn Innes before this, not getting nothing new out of the Liberals, City tunnels first.
With urban growth Toronto should of been looked at, great little spot that used to bring families by steam for lake picnics.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
The whole O/H going across roads is a pile of crap and not like the Newcastle line alone didn't have a few. Yes not ideal, but hell Qld has it and that's serious voltage not battery voltage used in NSW/Vic. However a 4km long branch in this location was never going to be a survivor and up there with Carlingford for why is a heavy railway here?

ANyway it will never reopen as a heavy railway, but for a state with more cash than commonsense why not single track light rail? (and I'm not the biggest fan of Light rail)

The route is a meager 4km long, most of the line is in its own ROW with a few road crossings. Yes some of the line is a bike track, but not like that couldn't be accommodated as plenty of room (ie former Hobart railway parallel with a bike track).

Single track for a tram travelling an average speed of -3040km/h, just a driver so cheaper than train, low level platforms every 500m, service every 20min.  Yes the same tram technology and model as Newcastle so OH is limited to terminus and sections out of sight. Just need one tram, no passing loops with a MTCE shed and security storage area. Don't even need a set of points if depo is off end of line. Maybe a loading ramp to transfer to Newcastle for major servicing or similar.

Cost of project, probably 2-3 x cost of single tram as little street running and assuming old bridges are reusable or cheap to replace.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Trapped in a meeting with Rhonda and Karsten
A 3.74km branch line in a holiday/tourist area seems like a no-brainer for re-opening as a Tourist & Heritage Railway to me. There are certainly some big reopening costs (3x rebuilt level crossings, at least 2-3 with boom barriers, a signalled mainline turnout and possible reconditioning works on the bridges over Mudd & Stony Creeks) but they aren't insurmountable. Run seasonal services direct from Newcastle using existing mainline heritage operators. In time, trial commuter DMU services through to Newcastle on the line.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
A 3.74km branch line in a holiday/tourist area seems like a no-brainer for re-opening as a Tourist & Heritage Railway to me. There are certainly some big reopening costs (4x rebuilt level crossings, at least 2-3 with boom barriers, a signalled mainline turnout and possible reconditioning works on the bridges over Mudd & Stony Creeks) but they aren't insurmountable. Run seasonal services direct from Newcastle using existing mainline heritage operators. In time, trial commuter DMU services through to Newcastle on the line.
LancedDendrite
Interesting, a few points though
- Forget connecting to the mainline, huge cost for very little return and in reality even when the line was open it was operated mostly as an island. Could you imagine the cost of installing a set of points? Probably pay for half the line to be rebuilt, then there is the insurance and legal crap.

- Line was run as long dead end, no run around infrastructure for decades, so anything running must be the same, there is also no runaround room at Toronto.

- Need to make a decision from the start, is it PT or T&H?

If its PT then its a tram with all the govt trimmings of modern PT with safety yellow and knobs on the ground, call help points etc etc. PT is never self funding so not a local volunteer thing. If its PT, then its likely a Newcastle battery tram to save cost on OH and likely complaints that will follow. A tram gives the option of not only reusing the original station locations although the platforms need to be changed to low height, but also adding a few more.

If its T&H, then you need to track down a 620/720 rail car pair or though probably cheaper if the 720 could be ditched and run as single car unless the numbers are there. Replicating the Byron solar train probably isn't a bad idea either. Its operations would be likely limited to Sunday/PH running. So if T&H, build a storage shed at Fassifern past the end of the platform on mainline side and avoid the need for points on the entire line. Lowest possible cost.
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
A rail line is never safe in Newcastle, the closure of the line into the CBD was nothing new, before that it this line to Toronto, and before that it was the Belmont Line, the old tram network, the West Wallsend Line, and the Wallsend Line.

If the Fassifern-Hexham freight line gets built, that's the end of the Hunter Line passenger services, and the electrified line will probably be truncated at Fassifern.

"Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”


Newcastle is a city that went from having a the infrastructure to support good sized suburban network, to being a city so dependent on the car that in some places, you can't even conveniently cross the road without driving.

And once the population increases to congest the roads, and petrol is too expensive for the average person, the city is doomed, and there will be more pressure on Sydney as more people seek a car-free life.

I'm sorry but a simple conversion to an isolated light rail line will never be enough, in order to reach any potential to have serious passenger numbers, the line would need to be rebuilt as heavy rail and connected to the main line with Toronto-Newcastle Interchange being a regular suburban services with 15 minute frequencies and new stations on the main line being constructed in logical places such as Kotara and Glendale, and existing stations being made more accessible and pedestrian friendly (such as Cockle Creek). Only something like this has the potential to get people out of their cars, and would probably create demand for other old lines to be rebuilt.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
A rail line is never safe in Newcastle, the closure of the line into the CBD was nothing new, before that it this line to Toronto, and before that it was the Belmont Line, the old tram network, the West Wallsend Line, and the Wallsend Line.

If the Fassifern-Hexham freight line gets built, that's the end of the Hunter Line passenger services, and the electrified line will probably be truncated at Fassifern.

"Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”


Newcastle is a city that went from having a the infrastructure to support good sized suburban network, to being a city so dependent on the car that in some places, you can't even conveniently cross the road without driving.

And once the population increases to congest the roads, and petrol is too expensive for the average person, the city is doomed, and there will be more pressure on Sydney as more people seek a car-free life.

I'm sorry but a simple conversion to an isolated light rail line will never be enough, in order to reach any potential to have serious passenger numbers, the line would need to be rebuilt as heavy rail and connected to the main line with Toronto-Newcastle Interchange being a regular suburban services with 15 minute frequencies and new stations on the main line being constructed in logical places such as Kotara and Glendale, and existing stations being made more accessible and pedestrian friendly (such as Cockle Creek). Only something like this has the potential to get people out of their cars, and would probably create demand for other old lines to be rebuilt.
Ethan1395
Maybe jumping the gun a bit.

Belmont, did it really have a future
Trams, Newcastle was not alone, its bigger cousinss 180km south and 850km north also lost theirs.
Hexman freight closing passenger is a guess and based on nothing

The Newcastle branch is only one I agree with.

As for Toronto, there were some valid reasons to close it when they did including no rolling stock or costly electrification, but yes I would have preferred to keep it open.

Does anyone have the last years passenger numbers?

The Light rail option for a 4km long line through suburbia has more chance of being started and capable of 15min frequency than heavy rail.
  gw0071 Deputy Commissioner

I too would like to see any form of rail reinstated to 'Tronno' however, any bus service can travel the entire 4km route and provide the flexibility of onwards travel to a multitude of other destinations both with or without rail access providing a service for the remaining few who either do not have access to private transportation or have very particular dis-incentives to use private transportation (ie- parking issues)

It just may be the the 'Riviera of Australia' but it certainly is not cosmopolitan enough to justify such a solution

Happy to be proven wrong
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I too would like to see any form of rail reinstated to 'Tronno' however, any bus service can travel the entire 4km route and provide the flexibility of onwards travel to a multitude of other destinations both with or without rail access providing a service for the remaining few who either do not have access to private transportation or have very particular dis-incentives to use private transportation (ie- parking issues)

It just may be the the 'Riviera of Australia' but it certainly is not cosmopolitan enough to justify such a solution

Happy to be proven wrong
gw0071


Which probably means as a PT option it has no future and its back to a T&H operation.

Reading up on the Byron solar train, a lot of similar comparisons
- Byron spent $300k/km to repair the line that has been out of service 14 years. This line has been out of service 28 years. Oberon went in all optimistic most of the sleepers were good to go, until they actually cleared the weeds and found out different. Assume every sleeper on the Toronto line needs replacing.
- Byron built two stations, this line has 4 that will need some attention
- Byron avoided Level Crossings, Toronto cannot
- Both need just one DMU set
- Both of similar distance, no complex track work

The biggest assets for a T&H start-up is that the line and stations are mostly as they were when it closed apart from road crossings and the cross platform connection at Fassifern Railway station.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Glenn Innes before this, not getting nothing new out of the Liberals, City tunnels first.
With urban growth Toronto should of been looked at, great little spot that used to bring families by steam for lake picnics.
Junction box

Of course the city tunnels first. There are 5 million of us here. If Sydney stops the state stops.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Trapped in a meeting with Rhonda and Karsten
- Forget connecting to the mainline, huge cost for very little return and in reality even when the line was open it was operated mostly as an island. Could you imagine the cost of installing a set of points? Probably pay for half the line to be rebuilt, then there is the insurance and legal crap.
RTT_Rules
Cost of a mainline turnout is on the magnitude of $250K-$1M depending on the type of points, interlockings, signalling and whether or not you are piggybacking onto an existing occupation or have to take out a separate one. Yes that is a high cost but when you consider that a similar cost magnitude is required just to rebuild the 3 level crossings with active protection it really isn't that bad. The 'insurance and legal crap' again, isn't all that bad if you're already starting from scratch as a T&H line. All you have to do is comply with whatever TfNSW requires for the mainline connection; basically you'd need rollout protection that they can control to some degree. If there's room for a small railmotor shed towards the Up end of the platform at Fassifern then the turnout for that can count as rollout protection if the points are secured appropriately and the shed has a buffer stop at the end of it. If not then a derailer at the Up end of the platform would most likely be fine. It's not a show-stopper as the Victorian Goldfields Railway have shown with their operations at Castlemaine.

On the other hand, there are significant benefits to having a mainline connection. You can run through services which will attract far greater patronage. You can easily hire or lease rollingstock. Short-term or seasonal rollingstock hire is much cheaper than purchasing or getting a long-term lease for a railmotor or two from a heritage group or THNSW. Without rollingstock living long-term at the railway there's no need for a workshop that can do significant maintenance tasks, which might be useful given the lack of space for a decent-size shed along the line.
It could also eliminate the need for in-house maintenance trains and track machines for tasks like ballasting or tamping. Those are real cost reductions that would offset the capital outlay of a mainline connection.


- Need to make a decision from the start, is it PT or T&H?

If its PT then its a tram with all the govt trimmings of modern PT with safety yellow and knobs on the ground, call help points etc etc. PT is never self funding so not a local volunteer thing. If its PT, then its likely a Newcastle battery tram to save cost on OH and likely complaints that will follow. A tram gives the option of not only reusing the original station locations although the platforms need to be changed to low height, but also adding a few more.
RTT_Rules
Running the line as public transport of any sort without through-running to Newcastle is a total waste of money. You will not get the passenger loadings running a shuttle of any sort (tram or train) to justify it purely as a public transport venture, it's just too short a line with too few trip generators along the way. If you're not doing through-running then the line is actually less useful than the buses and bike path/'greenway' that replaced it in the '90s.

So the real decision is whether you would re-establish the Toronto line as a very low capital, totally isolated T&H line (Byron Bay etc) or as a mainline-connected 'community'/'third-sector' railway with a mix of volunteer/charter and public transport services. Tourist railmotor shuttles + through-running PT services running on separate days. The cost of re-opening is largely the same between the two options due to how long the line has been out of service:
  • restore 3 stations/platforms
  • 100% sleeper replacement
  • 100% ballast renewal
  • new transoms on the skeleton bridges
  • 3x rebuilt level crossings with active protection
  • a bunch of works at Fassifern to put in a small rollingstock shed, reinstate the platform, relocate the bike path etc.

The only difference is the mainline connection. Conservatively the reopening cost would be on the order of $3 million without a mainline connection using contractors for the whole job.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The bike track was actually built beside the rail line. single track with a passing loop in the middle should be feasible. I'm not saying this should happen just that it is still possible since a lot of the line is still there and not grown over to any degree like the murwillumbah line.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
- Forget connecting to the mainline, huge cost for very little return and in reality even when the line was open it was operated mostly as an island. Could you imagine the cost of installing a set of points? Probably pay for half the line to be rebuilt, then there is the insurance and legal crap.
Cost of a mainline turnout is on the magnitude of $250K-$1M depending on the type of points, interlockings, signalling and whether or not you are piggybacking onto an existing occupation or have to take out a separate one. Yes that is a high cost but when you consider that a similar cost magnitude is required just to rebuild the 3 level crossings with active protection it really isn't that bad. The 'insurance and legal crap' again, isn't all that bad if you're already starting from scratch as a T&H line. All you have to do is comply with whatever TfNSW requires for the mainline connection; basically you'd need rollout protection that they can control to some degree. If there's room for a small railmotor shed towards the Up end of the platform at Fassifern then the turnout for that can count as rollout protection if the points are secured appropriately and the shed has a buffer stop at the end of it. If not then a derailer at the Up end of the platform would most likely be fine. It's not a show-stopper as the Victorian Goldfields Railway have shown with their operations at Castlemaine.

On the other hand, there are significant benefits to having a mainline connection. You can run through services which will attract far greater patronage. You can easily hire or lease rollingstock. Short-term or seasonal rollingstock hire is much cheaper than purchasing or getting a long-term lease for a railmotor or two from a heritage group or THNSW. Without rollingstock living long-term at the railway there's no need for a workshop that can do significant maintenance tasks, which might be useful given the lack of space for a decent-size shed along the line.
It could also eliminate the need for in-house maintenance trains and track machines for tasks like ballasting or tamping. Those are real cost reductions that would offset the capital outlay of a mainline connection.


- Need to make a decision from the start, is it PT or T&H?

If its PT then its a tram with all the govt trimmings of modern PT with safety yellow and knobs on the ground, call help points etc etc. PT is never self funding so not a local volunteer thing. If its PT, then its likely a Newcastle battery tram to save cost on OH and likely complaints that will follow. A tram gives the option of not only reusing the original station locations although the platforms need to be changed to low height, but also adding a few more.
Running the line as public transport of any sort without through-running to Newcastle is a total waste of money. You will not get the passenger loadings running a shuttle of any sort (tram or train) to justify it purely as a public transport venture, it's just too short a line with too few trip generators along the way. If you're not doing through-running then the line is actually less useful than the buses and bike path/'greenway' that replaced it in the '90s.

So the real decision is whether you would re-establish the Toronto line as a very low capital, totally isolated T&H line (Byron Bay etc) or as a mainline-connected 'community'/'third-sector' railway with a mix of volunteer/charter and public transport services. Tourist railmotor shuttles + through-running PT services running on separate days. The cost of re-opening is largely the same between the two options due to how long the line has been out of service:
  • restore 3 stations/platforms
  • 100% sleeper replacement
  • 100% ballast renewal
  • new transoms on the skeleton bridges
  • 3x rebuilt level crossings with active protection
  • a bunch of works at Fassifern to put in a small rollingstock shed, reinstate the platform, relocate the bike path etc.

The only difference is the mainline connection. Conservatively the reopening cost would be on the order of $3 million without a mainline connection using contractors for the whole job.
LancedDendrite
Some fair points with a few comments
- $3M for a T&H is a bucket load, another $0.25k or more for a mainline connection plus I assume ongoing costs to keep it is an extra burdon that is unlikely affordable in at least the early days. Cheaper to ship rolling stock by road for once a year heavy maintenance. I'd consider it a longterm goal and I'm still not sure its worth the cost as this line is only suited to DMU but I see your point on maybe running the odd special to Newcastle (Interchange).

- Disagree on the need for a through connection as PT. If the govt was going to return to running local sparks they would go to Morriset like before. You also need a number of sets to do so as the journey time for an all stopper to Newcastle is 1hr each way with some turn around time. A shuttle just needs a single car or small tram and can run back and forwards 3-4 times per hour. Common in parts of EU and seems to work.

Would  it be usesful, well its nearly 2 x longer than the Newcastle Tram line!

Thinking more, I suspect the community Byron Solar option or Newcastle style tram is either the better option over a HR connection.
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
If I remember correctly, there was discussion at the time about there not being enough clearance between the road and the electric wires at the level crossing on Cary Street so this precluded electrifying the section. But as anyone who has been driving under wires at level crossings in Melbourne for the last 80 years knows, this is (I will try to be polite) rubbish.
garratt6042
The passenger service ceased in March 1990. I recall reading at the time that the DMR/RTA of NSW, now RMS, were unhappy at the disruption to traffic at the Cary St level crossing and risk of collisions. At the time the F3 Freeway ended at Palmers Rd and one route north was via Toronto, then up through Cockle Creek to Sandgate. Cary St carried a lot of traffic around that time until the freeway was extended. Anyway, this would've been one of many factors. Lack of patronage following the changes in 1984 was another. Some called for a new platform west of Cary St, but rationalisation was in vogue at the time. The area has a larger population now than in 1990. The folly of adding a change of service when people want to travel to their destination... Progress?
G Train

I think it would be possible to bridge Cary St with a rail overpass/road underpass, the line appears to slope down towrards Cary Street when leaving Toronto station, would it be possible to make the line incline up and make the road dip down to avoid a level crossing?


Maybe jumping the gun a bit.

Belmont, did it really have a future
Trams, Newcastle was not alone, its bigger cousinss 180km south and 850km north also lost theirs.
Hexman freight closing passenger is a guess and based on nothing

The Newcastle branch is only one I agree with.

As for Toronto, there were some valid reasons to close it when they did including no rolling stock or costly electrification, but yes I would have preferred to keep it open.

Does anyone have the last years passenger numbers?

The Light rail option for a 4km long line through suburbia has more chance of being started and capable of 15min frequency than heavy rail.
RTT_Rules

The Belmont Line would have proven much useful if kept (and the existing lines upgraded with more stations) in providing a suburban rail network for Newcastle as it travels though an area far from any rail services.
Although Newcastle wasn't alone with the loss of trams, the impact is greater felt in Newcastle than it's bigger cousins north and south as those cities still have their suburban rail networks, Newcastle has NOTHING, so it's a city so dependent on the car that in some places, you can't even conveniently cross the road without driving - which is sad, because I see the potential in Newcastle and I'm sure not everyone in NSW wants to live in Sydney just to not be a slave to their cars.

Although the light rail option is technically more capable to run at 15 minute frequencies, it's not useful enough to get enough people out of their cars (just like the CBD light rail line), what's the point of having a couple of isolated short stretches of frequent light rail services, and have the rest of the city with awful public transport?

What is needed is a main line connection with a Toronto-Newcastle Intg (CBD is more ideal but thinking realistically for now) suburban services, with more stations on the existing main line (Think Newcastle Intg, Hamilton, Broadmeadow, Adamstown, Kotara (new), Blackbutt (old Kotara station), Garden Suburb, Cardiff Heights, Cardiff (possibly moved closed to commercial area), Glendale, Argenton, Boolaroo (Cockle Creek renamed) Teralba, Booragul, Fassifern, Blackhalls Park, Toronto).
Stations would also need to me made more accessible, Cockle Creek for example is in a useful location near a large Bunnings, proposed IKEA and Costco, and a new housing development, but there is literally no safe place to cross the road to access the station.


The bike track was actually built beside the rail line. single track with a passing loop in the middle should be feasible. I'm not saying this should happen just that it is still possible since a lot of the line is still there and not grown over to any degree like the murwillumbah line.
simstrain

What would be needed to provide a 15 minute services between Toronto and Newcastle Intg? single track branching at Fassifern with passing loop in the middle as you mentioned?

Or duplication to Blackhalls Park and single track between there and Toronto

Or full duplication?

How long does it take to turn a train around?
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
If I remember correctly, there was discussion at the time about there not being enough clearance between the road and the electric wires at the level crossing on Cary Street so this precluded electrifying the section. But as anyone who has been driving under wires at level crossings in Melbourne for the last 80 years knows, this is (I will try to be polite) rubbish.
The passenger service ceased in March 1990. I recall reading at the time that the DMR/RTA of NSW, now RMS, were unhappy at the disruption to traffic at the Cary St level crossing and risk of collisions. At the time the F3 Freeway ended at Palmers Rd and one route north was via Toronto, then up through Cockle Creek to Sandgate. Cary St carried a lot of traffic around that time until the freeway was extended. Anyway, this would've been one of many factors. Lack of patronage following the changes in 1984 was another. Some called for a new platform west of Cary St, but rationalisation was in vogue at the time. The area has a larger population now than in 1990. The folly of adding a change of service when people want to travel to their destination... Progress?

I think it would be possible to bridge Cary St with a rail overpass/road underpass, the line appears to slope down towrards Cary Street when leaving Toronto station, would it be possible to make the line incline up and make the road dip down to avoid a level crossing?


Maybe jumping the gun a bit.

Belmont, did it really have a future
Trams, Newcastle was not alone, its bigger cousinss 180km south and 850km north also lost theirs.
Hexman freight closing passenger is a guess and based on nothing

The Newcastle branch is only one I agree with.

As for Toronto, there were some valid reasons to close it when they did including no rolling stock or costly electrification, but yes I would have preferred to keep it open.

Does anyone have the last years passenger numbers?

The Light rail option for a 4km long line through suburbia has more chance of being started and capable of 15min frequency than heavy rail.

The Belmont Line would have proven much useful if kept (and the existing lines upgraded with more stations) in providing a suburban rail network for Newcastle as it travels though an area far from any rail services.
Although Newcastle wasn't alone with the loss of trams, the impact is greater felt in Newcastle than it's bigger cousins north and south as those cities still have their suburban rail networks, Newcastle has NOTHING, so it's a city so dependent on the car that in some places, you can't even conveniently cross the road without driving - which is sad, because I see the potential in Newcastle and I'm sure not everyone in NSW wants to live in Sydney just to not be a slave to their cars.

Although the light rail option is technically more capable to run at 15 minute frequencies, it's not useful enough to get enough people out of their cars (just like the CBD light rail line), what's the point of having a couple of isolated short stretches of frequent light rail services, and have the rest of the city with awful public transport?

What is needed is a main line connection with a Toronto-Newcastle Intg (CBD is more ideal but thinking realistically for now) suburban services, with more stations on the existing main line (Think Newcastle Intg, Hamilton, Broadmeadow, Adamstown, Kotara (new), Blackbutt (old Kotara station), Garden Suburb, Cardiff Heights, Cardiff (possibly moved closed to commercial area), Glendale, Argenton, Boolaroo (Cockle Creek renamed) Teralba, Booragul, Fassifern, Blackhalls Park, Toronto).
Stations would also need to me made more accessible, Cockle Creek for example is in a useful location near a large Bunnings, proposed IKEA and Costco, and a new housing development, but there is literally no safe place to cross the road to access the station.


The bike track was actually built beside the rail line. single track with a passing loop in the middle should be feasible. I'm not saying this should happen just that it is still possible since a lot of the line is still there and not grown over to any degree like the murwillumbah line.

What would be needed to provide a 15 minute services between Toronto and Newcastle Intg? single track branching at Fassifern with passing loop in the middle as you mentioned?

Or duplication to Blackhalls Park and single track between there and Toronto

Or full duplication?

How long does it take to turn a train around?
Ethan1395
Rebuilding the entire terminus as an elevated railway isn't going to help your costs.

Newcastle CBD is a typically regional city in Australia, ie a CBD without a purpose due to its out of the way location. There is no reason for it to be there and hence with growth more local based services have opened and the internet has killed off those that didn't. The tram network would not have saved this and likely to have failed just as much as the CBD.

The previous local service was from Morriset and likely would be a better location for return.

What would be needed for a 15min service is 7-8 train sets.
A passing loop on the Toronto line is not going to stack up.

You will never get a 15min service on the Toronto Branch with HR with those LX's.

You will need 6-7min to turn the train around to allow the driver to swap ends, have a pee etc.
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
Rebuilding the entire terminus as an elevated railway isn't going to help your costs.

Newcastle CBD is a typically regional city in Australia, ie a CBD without a purpose due to its out of the way location. There is no reason for it to be there and hence with growth more local based services have opened and the internet has killed off those that didn't. The tram network would not have saved this and likely to have failed just as much as the CBD.

The previous local service was from Morriset and likely would be a better location for return.

What would be needed for a 15min service is 7-8 train sets.
A passing loop on the Toronto line is not going to stack up.

You will never get a 15min service on the Toronto Branch with HR with those LX's.

You will need 6-7min to turn the train around to allow the driver to swap ends, have a pee etc.ets.
RTT_Rules

Thanks for the info
I wasn't suggesting rebuilding the entire terminus as an elevated line, I was suggesting that upon leaving the original station (at it's original elevation), the line would incline to bridge Cary Street before descending back down the the original corridor. I'm not sure what issues the two level crossings at Blackhalls Park would cause but it's possible for these to be removed all together and construct a couple road bridges across the creeks to connect to Cary Street.

With that being said, in Yennora Sydney, 6 trains per hour in each direction cross a level crossing, but I am aware the government doesn't like to build new level crossings, something which restoring the Toronto line will involve.

When I say 'Newcastle', I am not referring the CBD but the entire Newcastle/Lake Macquarie metropolitan area, the entire area which lost it's tram network and heavy rail branch lines, and it's now the entire area extremely dependent on cars to the point (as I previously mentioned), it's literally impossible in some places (including one major commercial area next to the railway line with no station) to even conveniently cross the road without driving.

I agree with what you said about the CBD, it's even becoming just another suburb with apartments going up left, right, and centre, but not a lot of anything else.

Which is why any suburban services should not just be CBD centric, the existing lines actually already have trip generators/destinations adjacent to them, but there is the aforementioned problem of no stations or inaccessible stations.

I personally think that Newcastle Intg-Toronto makes a better suburban services than Newcastle Intg-Morriset, as there is not a whole lot going on in Dora Creek and Awaba, and Morriset can be well served by intercity trains, with that being said, mabye Newcastle Intg-Wyong could also make a good suburban services to compliment a Newcastle Intg-Toronto service.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Trapped in a meeting with Rhonda and Karsten
Some fair points with a few comments
- $3M for a T&H is a bucket load, another $0.25k or more for a mainline connection plus I assume ongoing costs to keep it is an extra burden that is unlikely affordable in at least the early days. Cheaper to ship rolling stock by road for once a year heavy maintenance. I'd consider it a long-term goal and I'm still not sure its worth the cost as this line is only suited to DMU but I see your point on maybe running the odd special to Newcastle (Interchange).
RTT_Rules
$3M is a fair cost for a full-on restoration of a line of that length and complexity (level crossing rebuilds) with contractors. There are ways to get the costs down such as turning it into a training project for mainline contractors etc and involving local volunteering groups with some tasks like lineside clearance, station restoration and so on, but it's prudent to not make assumptions like that when there doesn't appear to be visible community support for such a venture at present.

Ongoing costs for a mainline connection would be born by TfNSW. This is the natural outcome as the turnout would be on their track and the interlocking + signalling integrated into their systems. This arrangement is identical to the one that V/Line and the Victorian Goldfields Railway have with their mainline connection.
In today's funding environment, presenting a more ambitious & expensive plan (i.e mainline connection) from the outset that also has a higher return on investment is actually more likely to get funding. Governments actually like announcing and funding bigger projects. It's a topsy-turvy world compared to the private sector. Given the bad press that the Newcastle light rail project has generated it'd be a good little project to take the heat off and perhaps try to renovate the image of the new 'Newcastle Interchange'.

Re: heritage DMUs - The Rail Motor Society is based out of Paterson in the lower Hunter Valley. They have a sizeable fleet of heritage DMUs available to run through services or hire out on a seasonal basis. Let them specialise in restoring and maintaining their DMU fleet and have the Toronto operation just hire them (or others from further away if that makes sense too).
Don't forget that loco hauled push-pull operations could be run as well - but that only makes sense if there's a mainline connection.

Would it be usesful, well its nearly 2 x longer than the Newcastle Tram line!

Thinking more, I suspect the community Byron Solar option or Newcastle style tram is either the better option over a HR connection.
RTT_Rules
Toronto: 3.74km in suburbia with a lake on one side vs Newcastle Light Rail: 2.7km along an established inner city commercial + residential corridor. Chalk and cheese when it comes to the viability of a tram/light rail service.

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