Coals to Newcastle Route Background
Compiled by Brian Bere-Streeter
This information is provided to allow MSTS enthusiasts, who may not be familiar with the New South Wales Government Railways, to enjoy an enhanced understanding of how they operated their system, and provide some prototype information relevant to using the Coals to Newcastle (CTN) route in a more authentic atmosphere.
Brief History of Australian Railways
The first Australian railway to operate a steam engine was the Melbourne and Hobson's Bay Railway Company which opened on 12 September 1854 which ran a distance of 2.5 miles between Melbourne and Port Melbourne.
NSW began steam train operations with the opening of the line between Sydney and Parramatta on 26 September 1855. This railway had commenced as a private company but due to financial problems the NSW government took over the line just prior to opening and thus became the first government operated railway in Australia.
Prior to the Federation of Australia in 1901, the six individual States were governed, independently (almost as if they were separate countries). The earliest railway systems in each state were typically owned by private companies, howvever these companies soon found themselves in financial difficulties and their railways were taken over by the relevant State Government. In regard to railway policy and standards each State acted independently to each other and as a consequence all the railway systems had various differences, such as railway guages.
Generally Australian railway gauges are as follows:
- Broad Gauge - 5ft 3 inches - Victoria (and some parts of the eastern section of South Australia between Adelaide and the Victorian border).
- Narrow Gauge - 3ft 6 inches - Queensland, Western Australian, Tasmania, and South Australia (north and west of Adelaide).
- Standard Gauge - 4ft 8.5 inches - New South Wales.
As considerable delays were experienced due to having to trans-ship all goods and passengers at the "breaks-of-gauge" points at the borders of the respective states, thus hampering commercial trade, decisions were made to expand the Standard Gauge network to each State Capital (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin).
As a result the following lines were built:
Sydney to Brisbane - Completed in 1932, with the building of the Clarence River bridge in Grafton. This line follows much of the coastline of northern NSW to Brisbane. It replaced a journey through Wallengarra, which required a guage change there.
Sydney to Melbourne - Completed in 1967, with the completion of the Albury to Melbourne section, this allowed travellers to travel through on the same train rather then changing at Albury as had been the case beforehand.
Melbourne to Adelaide - Completed in 1995. This standard guage route replaced a previous "broad guage" (5' 3") route.
Adelaide to Perth - The first section was completed in 1917 from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie a distance of 1063 miles (1711 km). Narrow guage sections existed at either end of the line between Adelaide and Perth. This allowed travel, break-of-guage between the eastern and western parts of Australia. The completion of the standard guage sections at the Perth end was completed in the 1970s, with the Adelaide end completed in 1985. This section has a 497km straight section of track which is the longest in the world.
Adelaide to Darwin - The standard guage section between Adelaide and Alice Springs was completed in 1980, with the railway to Darwin being completed in 2004. This line links the northern and southern parts of Australia.
The total distance is from north to south is 2,979 kms, whilst east to west it is 4352kms.
History of NSWGR
When the railways were first being built in NSW, natural geographical barriers, such as the Great Dividing Range to the west of Sydney, and many coastal rivers hampered the development of the railway system.
The first railway in NSW was built from Sydney to Parramatta (15 miles west) in 1855. In 1857 a second railway (the Great Northern Railway) was built from Newcastle to Maitland (again 15 miles west).
From these two roots, a broad and complex railway system was to develop, the Sydney system very quickly expanded west to Penrith and south to Picton (by 1863), and the Newcastle system to Singleton (by 1865).
From here the system expanded into four generally broad directions:
The Main South - from Picton to Albury (on the Victorian border), and into the south and south-west of the State.
The Main West - from Penrith, over the Blue Mountains to Bathurst, and into the west to Broken Hill and the north-west via Dubbo.
The Main North - from Maitland the line split into two sections, the far north-west to Werris Creek and beyond, and the North Coast line to Casino (and Brisbane) and to Murwillumbah.
The Illawarra - from Sydney through Sutherland, along the South Coast to Wollongong, Kiama and Nowra (Bomaderry).
Background to the 'Short North'
Because of the major barrier of the Hawkesbury River, the Great Northern Railway (and the north-western area lines) was physically separated from the other main lines heading west and south out of Sydney.
The main metropolitan and suburban railway system from Sydney terminated in the north at Hornsby, the northern line being opened from a junction on the main western line at Strathfield, in 1886.
Because of the growing commerce between Sydney and Newcastle, and the difficult and often impassable road system or the longer sea voyage along the coast, it was decided to build a new railway joining these two major cities.
The railway was extended in two sections, northwards from Hornsby, and southwards from Newcastle. The section from Hornsby reached a terminus on the south bank of the Hawkesbury River in 1887. The line south from Newcastle reached Gosford also in 1887.
All goods and passengers had to change to a paddle-steamer (the General Gordon) which plied between the southern terminus at Hawkesbury River and a wharf on the Brisbane Water at Gosford. As the paddle-steamer was subject to open ocean weather for part of the route, the railway was extended further south through Woy Woy, and a new long tunnel, to a temporary station on the banks of Mullet Creek by 1888. This enabled a shorter, faster and more protected voyage for the General Gordon.
A contract was let to the Union Bridge Company of Cleveland Ohio, and the first Hawkesbury River bridge was opened in 1889, thereby joining the previously isolated sections of railway. The Sydney to Newcastle railway was finally a reality.
Initially the railway from Hornsby to Broadmeadow (at Newcastle) was single track, the new bridge having been built to allow double track at a future date. Progressively the sections of the Main Northern line were upgraded, and by 1910 all the sections from Hawkesbury River through to Woy Woy were double track.
In 1938, serious cracks were discovered in one of the main support piers of the Hawkesbury River Bridge. Temporary strengthening, speed restrictions, weight restrictions and "gauntleting" of the track (interlacing of the double track to a smaller "footprint" in the centre of the bridge) was implemented, until a new bridge was opened in 1946, on a parallel alignment slightly west of the existing bridge. Once the new bridge was opened, the old one was dismantled; however, the original stone piers were left in place.
The main line between Sydney and Newcastle continued to grow in traffic and became one of (if not) the most important lines in NSW. The main northern railway line between Sydney and Newcastle was known colloquially by railway employees (and others) as the "Short North".
General Description of the 'Short North'
Whilst the "Short North" officially begins at Strathfield where it junctions with the Main South. A journey along the "Short North" normally starts at Sydney station (the largest on the NSWGR system), comprising 15 "country" platforms (terminal station) and 8 "suburban" platforms (Central station). The main lines extend out from the south-west of Central as 4 double-track lines, widening temporarily through Redfern station to 5 double-track lines. Just after Redfern the Illawarra line splits off to the south, and the remaining 3 double-track lines wander through the inner-western suburbs to Strathfield.
The first section of the line follows a relatively flat course northwards to the Parramatta River, many industrial sidings being along the western side running off a Down Relief line. Once the river is crossed, the line begins its climb up through the Northern Suburbs to Hornsby; just after West Ryde, there is the first obstacles in the ?Denistone Bank? a long climb up to Eastwood, with a short respite, then the long "Eastwood Bank" up to Epping. The line continues its steady, slightly undulating, climb to Hornsby (there is only minor goods facilities along this section).
Hornsby is the first major traffic centre, being the northern limit of the general metropolitan area. Whilst many trains pass through Hornsby, most suburban services terminate here (both from the Strathfield line and the North Shore line), as well as local goods services.
The section from Hornsby to Gosford runs through a fairly rugged and heavily forested bushland setting, with only occasional pockets of "civilisation"; however, the main characteristic is the impressive scenic views, particularly along the cliff-face and waterside sections.
From Hornsby the line follows the general line of the natural ridge to Cowan, with slightly undulating grades, where the real descent to Hawkesbury River starts. The "Cowan Bank" at 1 in 40 to Up trains is one of the steepest in NSW, where most trains (except for certain expresses) generally require assistance from a banker. Most assistance was by the "banker" coupling in front of the train engine, but certain goods services used the "banker" pushing in the rear of the brake van. After the Hawkesbury River Bridge opened, Hawkesbury River station and yard reverted to a quieter "backwater" only renowned for "banking locomotives" (and the local fishing and oyster farming).
After crossing the magnificent and impressive Hawkesbury River bridge, the line follows a flatter almost water-level course along the shores of Mullet Creek, one of the most scenic in NSW, passes through the small way-station of Wondabyne (sandstone quarry), then tackles the short but sharp 1 in 40 "Wondabyne bank" up to the southern portal of Woy Woy tunnel, 5871 feet long. After emerging from the long Woy Woy tunnel, the line drops gently down to near water level again, passes through Woy Woy, and runs along the side of Brisbane Water and environs, through several small communities, into Gosford.
Gosford is one of the most important stations on the line; it is the "gateway" to the "Central Coast" regions. The electrified line terminates here ( by 1960 at least) and just about all trains change locomotives and crew. Gosford at 50 miles from Sydney is almost exactly the half-way point in the line to Newcastle (104 miles). Even though the track layout seems relatively simple, it was an important passenger, goods and locomotive division point, and belied the amount of traffic passing through it.
The character of the line changes north of Gosford, in marked contrast to the southern end of the line. The next section from Gosford to Wyong is relatively level with only slight grades, but starts as a winding route, following the adjacent Pacific Highway, passing through several small communities based on farming, fruit growing and timber getting, before straightening out before Wyong. Between Ourimbah and Tuggerah, the line passes through a heavy forested area with little habitation. The long flat section south of Wyong provided a good opportunity to establish long relief roads with watering facilities, to allow passing of trains.
Wyong was the next major population centre, north of Gosford, several trains started or terminated here, and goods traffic was fairly frequent from the local industries.
The line north of Wyong to Awaba was relatively un-spectacular, passing through mainly forested areas or open farmland, with a couple of local population centres in Wyee and Morisset. Once across Dora Creek, the long 1 in 44 climb over Hawkmount slows progress for a little while; followed by the gentler run down into Awaba. From here north, the character of the railway traffic itself changes; as Awaba is the first traffic centre where a branch line swings off, to the south-east to Wangi Power Station. Just off the main line along the branch, is Awaba State Coal Mine, which fed the Wangi Power Station . Interesting local coal workings occur here (in the later 60's, involving Garratt haulage), as well as other coal trains from Newstan Colliery further up the line at Fassifern.
Not far north of Awaba, is Fassifern, the junction station for the Toronto Branch. Just to the north-west of Fassifern station is Newstan Colliery, which fed coal trains in both directions, south to Wangi Power Station, and north to Port Waratah. Toronto was serviced by local passenger services from Newcastle (and also had minimal goods facilities) until the line closed in 1990.
Immediately north of Fassifern is the fierce 1 in 50 / 1 in 40 "Fassifern Bank". As northbound ex-Newstan Colliery coal trains started from a stand at Fassifern station, they had to be assisted by a "bank engine" (pushing from the rear) to the top of the bank. The bank engine was supplied each day from Broadmeadow depot, and using a special "bank engine key" was allowed to return "wrong line" from the top of the bank, back to the Down siding behind Fassifern platform to await the next duty. Most heavy northbound through goods trains also required banking assistance.
After climbing Fassifern bank, the line curves around and drops down into Teralba, where two more major collieries, one to the north-west and one to the south-east, add substantial extra traffic to the line. After a fairly easy run across to Cockle Creek, the old West Wallsend line comes in from the south-west; this feeds the traffic from another three major collieries onto the main line. The original main line required a deviation to accommodate a stronger bridge over Cockle Creek, and from the old main line, a series of colliery exchange sidings were added to hold the coal traffic from the three local collieries until such time as traffic "slots" became available for them.
At this point we are now at one of the busiest and most congested parts of the "Short North"; as well as all the normal Sydney to Newcastle traffic, the major traffic to and from the North (beyond Waratah), the local Toronto Branch traffic, all the coal traffic north to Port Waratah and the returning empties added to the pressure to get trains through here on time.
A relatively easy run is then made to Sulphide Junction; from here a line branches off south-east to the Sulphide Corporation, which receives long, heavy trains of concentrate ore from Broken Hill for the Corporation's smelters. Also here is the NSWGR's Cardiff Workshops, the main centre for locomotive and rolling stock construction and maintenance outside the Eveleigh Workshops at Redfern in Sydney; and across the other side, a coal loading facility for the Joint Coal Board.
At this point we are now into the outer southern suburbs of Newcastle and urban development becomes more prominent.
After leaving Sulphide Junction, the line starts to curve around the valley of Winding Creek, up through Cardiff, with a long hard climb to Tickhole Tunnel. The Cardiff deviation was designed to speed up passage of the coal trains by using a maximum 1 in 80 grade, with a long Down Relief line to allow other traffic priority. Catchpoints were provided on the Relief to trap any runaway wagons, a not altogether uncommon occurrence with the chain-coupled non-air-braked coal hoppers.
North of Tickhole Tunnel, the line steadily drops down to Adamstown, where the Belmont Branch comes in from the south-east, again adding considerable traffic to the main line. However, as the Belmont branch comes in at the south end of Adamstown, and the vast Broadmeadow marshalling yards start at the north end of Adamstown, traffic delays caused by Belmont traffic are only minimal. All the area from Adamstown north was now basically on level or only very slightly graded lines.
Broadmeadow Yard was the principal traffic terminating and originating centre for the whole of the Hunter Valley region. Just about all goods trains stopped or started here, only some fast fruit, perishables and fast stock trains passed straight through for the major goods yards in Sydney. Broadmeadow also had the main major locomotive depot north of Sydney, with two turntables, two roundhouses, a large elevated coal stage and servicing facilities for a large fleet of locomotives; mostly passenger locomotives, as all the coal traffic locomotives and many goods locomotives were based at Port Waratah locomotive depot.
Broadmeadow Station, itself was a major interchange point for northbound passenger and mail traffic, most of the main Northern express and mail trains changed engines here, suited for the lesser main lines to the North, for example changing a heavy 38 Class for a lighter 35 or 32 Class.
Leaving Broadmeadow, the line quadruples, with separate Up and Down Mains and Relief lines in parallel to Woodville Junction. Here the line divides, one line swinging North through Islington Junction, to Waratah (and points North) and the goods lines to Port Waratah and Bullock Island, and the other line swinging East to Newcastle, via Hamilton, Wickham and Civic. Honeysuckle and Newcastle goods yards fed local goods traffic from Newcastle itself, and the Hunter River wharves, for onward forwarding from Broadmeadow Yard.
Finally our journey along the "Short North" comes to a stand at one of the 4 platforms at Newcastle station, right on the "doorway" to the Newcastle Central Business District, 104 miles by rail from Sydney Central.
Electrification of NSWGR
During the early to mid 1920's the Sydney metropolitan area suburban lines were electrified on a 1500v DC overhead system. In the north the electrification terminated at Hornsby by 1929 (by now, also joined by the North Shore line, through the affluent northern suburbs, to Milsons Point. Through electric services were possible from Hornsby to Sydney, via the North Shore, when the Sydney Harbour Bridge opened in 1932). However, with the growing suburban electric traffic, a new electric car depot was built just north of Hornsby, near Asquith. This comprised a large covered carriage shed over four sidings, with another eight sidings in the open.
In the early 50's, the NSWGR decided to electrify the line over the Blue Mountains to Lithgow (to cater for increased coal traffic). To cater for this, 40 new electric locomotives were ordered (the 46 Class) and new single-deck stainless steel Inter-urban car sets (the so-called "U-boats") built to cater for semi-fast passenger services.
When the railways found the coal traffic over the Blue Mountains failed to materialise, a decision was made to electrify the Main Northern line as far as Gosford to better utilise the surplus 46 Class electric locomotives and also built extra Inter-urban stock.
The first stage from Hornsby, as far north as Cowan, was opened for traffic by November 1958. Suburban electric services were covered over this part of the line by a 4-car (daily off-peak) or 2-car (weekends) shuttle-service from Hornsby to Cowan, or by full 8-cars sets from Cowan to Sydney Central during morning and afternoon weekday peak hours.
The second stage opened from Cowan to Hawkesbury River by April 1959. At this stage, all steam assisted banking of Up trains on Cowan Bank ceased, and from this time all Up trains requiring assistance, were assisted by 46 Class electric locomotives.
Whilst the electrification works were in progress between Cowan and Hawkesbury River, a series of single-line workings took place where, the construction engineers took possession of one of the main lines. All traffic, both Up and Down, used a single track over this section, on some working days, the Up line was used, and on some working days the Down line was used. As a precaution to trains stalling in the 'work area', all Up trains were generally banked, including trains that would otherwise ascend Cowan Bank with only the train locomotive. This could lead to some very interesting train workings in MSTS, using 'wrong-road' running in a legitimate activity, eg - an UP Newcastle Flyer working towards Sydney on the Down line, with a standard goods in the lead, as banker.
The third stage (and final at this point in time) to Gosford was opened in January 1960. (Subsequently, the electrification was extended right through to Newcastle in the mid 1980's).
When the final section to Gosford was opened, all steam hauled local passenger services, south of Gosford, were replaced by Interurban sets, all Newcastle and long distance passenger services, were hauled by 46 Class electric locomotives between Sydney and Gosford, where steam or diesel took over, and all express goods, fruit and perishable trains were electric hauled south of Gosford, when electric locomotive availability allowed.
Most passenger services north of Gosford, continued to be steam hauled, right to the end of steam in 1973, however, some prestige Express and Mail trains were diesel hauled, either all the way from Sydney, or northwards from Gosford.
During the later part of the 60's, it was common practise to use the AD60 Class Beyer-Garratt locomotives to haul major goods trains from Gosford to Broadmeadow, in fact, a set of locomotive sidings (known locally as the "Garratt Sidings") were provided at North Gosford to facilitate this electric to steam change-over for northbound goods trains.
Typical Services on the 'Short North'
Freight - Bulk - Coal
The primary reason for the railways around the Newcastle area, was the transport of coal. Coal was transported from a number of locations for shipment from the Port of Newcastle, mostly through the coal loader at Port Waratah.
Extensive deposits of coal were discovered to the north, the west and the south of Newcastle. A network of privately owned railways sprang up around Newcastle to move this huge tonnage of coal from the mines to the Port.
The coal mining railways around Newcastle can be considered as four main areas of operation:
- The Belmont Corridor - a number of important coal mines were built along a corridor that was served by the Belmont branch.
- The "Short North" corridor - a number of important coal mines adjacent to or within reasonable proximity to the Sydney to Newcastle main lines.
- The J & A Brown Railways - a network of colliery lines spreading out to the west of Hexham on the main Northern line.
- The South Maitland Railways - a network of colliery lines spreading out to the west of Maitland on the main Northern line.
All this coal was intended for three major destinations:
- Export to other States and Overseas - this traffic was concentrated on the huge coal loading complex on the northern shores of the Hunter River at Port Waratah and Bullock Island, through the Port Waratah marshalling yards, a series of eight large "nests" of sidings handling the various coal traffic flows.
- Consumption by the BHP Steelworks - this traffic was concentrated through the Morandoo Exchange Sidings to the north of Port Waratah, where traffic was handed over to BHP owned locomotives for distribution within the steelworks complex.
- Consumption by local Newcastle industries and utilities, i.e. Zarra Street Power Station, Newcastle Gas Works at Islington, various local industrial and commercial consumers, and the Railways themselves (loco coal) - this traffic was handled by Newcastle Yard, Honeysuckle Yard, Hamilton/Islington Yards and Broadmeadow Yard (for distribution to more remote consumers).
Originally all export coal was handled directly to ship at the wharves complex in the main goods yard area adjacent to Newcastle station. However, as the volume of coal increased to unmanageable proportions, a new dedicated coal handling facility was built at Port Waratah, and all coal traffic was then re-directed through Port Waratah, leaving the Newcastle goods yards for all general goods traffic and Zarra Street Power Station coal traffic only.
Firstly a brief look at the Belmont Corridor; collieries along this line were:
- Burwood Colliery - a large colliery owned by BHP situated near Whitebridge.
- Lambton Colliery - a medium colliery also owned by BHP situated adjacent to Redhead.
- John Darling Colliery - a large colliery also owned by BHP situated just north of Belmont
- Belmont Coal Loaders - two sets of sidings were provided at Belmont with overhead loading stages for coal, trucked by road, from several coal mines south of Belmont, which were not connected to the railway line.
- The Belmont line was privately owned, from the junction with the NSWGR at Adamstown to Belmont on the eastern shores of Lake Macquarie. The majority of traffic along this line was coal for the BHP steelworks, carried in BHP owned wagons to Morandoo Exchange Sidings. However all traffic workings were carried out by the NSWGR who had running rights over the line. NSWGR locomotives were used for all traffic (but most of the coal hoppers were privately owned). The NSWGR also operated a local Passenger service on the line between Newcastle and Belmont.
Details of the traffic workings and timetable on the Belmont branch, can be found in the Working Timetable and Local Newcastle Coal Appendix, mentioned at the end of this document.
Secondly a brief look at the "Short North" corridor; collieries along this line were:
- Awaba State Colliery - a State owned colliery on a dedicated State owned line, just south of Awaba - built to serve the Wangi Wangi Power Station. No passenger workings operated on this line, though plans were considered for a station platform, but never implemented.
- Newstan Colliery - a large colliery just to the north-west of Fassifern - coal output was directed to two main destinations, some of the output going to the Wangi Wangi Power Station, and some of the output going to Port Waratah for export.
- Northern Extended Colliery - a large colliery just to the south-west of Teralba.
- Pacific Colliery - a medium colliery just to the south-east of Teralba.
- Killingworth Colliery - a smaller colliery at the western extremity of the old West Wallsend branch line. Most coal transportation had ceased by the late 1950s on this branch. Some coal wagons were reparied at Killingsworth and 19 Class locomotives were used to take rakes of wagons for repairs.
- Northern Rhondda Colliery - a medium colliery off the old West Wallsend branch line.
- Stockton Borehole Colliery - a large colliery off the West Wallsend branch line.
- Joint Coal Board - a coal loading facility opposite Cardiff Workshops at Sulphide Junction - coal was delivered by road or by overland conveyor belts to the loading facility.
At Cockle Creek on the main Northern line, a branch swung off to the west and north-west to serve West Wallsend. The line was privately owned, but worked by NSWGR. The passenger service and goods service to West Wallsend did not last past the 1930s. However, the line was truncated near the old Cockle Creek Power Station, and remained to serve the Killingworth, Northern Rhondda and Stockton Borehole collieries. A series of full/empty exchange sidings were built just to the west of Cockle Creek off the old diverted main line, to serve these three collieries.
Details of the traffic workings and timetable on this section of line can also be found in the Working Timetable and Local Newcastle Coal Appendix, mentioned at the end of this document.
Freight - Bulk - Wheat
Freight - General
The Passenger Services on the "Short North" fall into a number of broad categories:
- Through Express and Mail trains - trains passing through the SN from Sydney to the North and North-West via Islington Junction - in the earlier days, some of the mail trains run into Newcastle station for loading/off-loading of mails, prior to a reversal and then running back out to the North and North-West.
- The Sydney-Newcastle Express ("The Flyer") - direct express services between Sydney and Newcastle, stopping at only selected principal stations.
- Sydney-Newcastle through services - other secondary passenger services between Sydney and Newcastle, some stopping at a number of selected major stations, some services stopping at almost all stations.
- "Short North" local services - shorter distance local and commuter services terminating at various points on the SN, such as between Sydney, Hornsby, Gosford and Wyong, also some Wyong to Newcastle services.
- Newcastle Suburban services - comprising local passenger and commuter services between Newcastle and the Toronto (western side of Lake Macquarie) and Belmont (eastern side of Lake Macquarie) branches.
- Outer Newcastle services - comprising local passenger and commuter services between Newcastle and Maitland, Cessnock, Singleton and Dungog.
- C30T class 4-6-0 - very rarely seen on the SN - light mixed traffic class common on rural branch lines, and in the North-West - occasional runs from North of Maitland to Broadmeadow or Cardiff for major servicing or repairs.
- C32 class 4-6-0 - very common on the SN - the mainstay of general passenger services, but, rarely seen on the SN after electrification to Gosford.
- C34 class 4-6-0 - small class not seen on the SN.
- C35 class 4-6-0 - very common on the SN - also used for the heavier expresses and mail trains passing to the north and west of Newcastle.
- C36 class 4-6-0 - very common on the SN - often used interchangeably with the 35 class.
- C38 class 4-6-2 - the heaviest passenger express locomotives - weight restrictions keeping it only south of Broadmeadow and Newcastle - used almost exclusively on the Sydney-Newcastle Express - also common on other services after electrification to Gosford.
- D50 class 2-8-0 - the "Standard" goods - very common on the SN, especially used on the Newcastle area coal trains to/from Port Waratah and Bullock Island.
- D53 class 2-8-0 - more powerful version of D50 'standard' goods - reasonably common on the SN.
- D55 class 2-8-0 - even more powerful 'standard' goods - not as common as the other 'standard' goods classes.
- D59 class 2-8-2 - American Baldwin imported after the war, not as common on the SN until after electrification to Gosford.
- AD60 class 4-8-4+4-8-4 - Beyer-Garratt - reasonably common on the SN, but became the mainstay of heavy goods services after electrification to Gosford.
- 40 class - the first mainline diesel-electric locomotives in NSW - introduced for fast goods services, but became common on express passenger services until the 44 class supplanted them.
- 41 class - yard shunter and local goods trip workings - common at Enfield and Broadmeadow yards and trip workings around the Newcastle area.
- 42 class - the first diesel-electric designed for express passenger services - used initially only on the most important expresses - used regularly on the Brisbane Limited, but otherwise common on the main South lines.
- 43 class - similar to the 42 class, but not common on the SN, mostly used on the main Western lines over the Blue Mountains and the main South lines.
- 44 class - the "standard" mixed traffic diesel-electric - used on both fast goods services and fast passenger services alike - common on through services on the SN after the electrification to Gosford.
- 46 class - 'standard' electric locomotive - used on both fast passenger services and fast goods services - after electrification to Gosford in 1960, worked all passenger and mail trains (except for local Interurban services) for locomotive changeover at Gosford - also used on fast goods and perishables trains when locomotive availability allowed.
- 'American Suburban' Tourist stock (based on conversions of the early American end-loading suburban stock) - the LUB (8 car) and LOB (6 car) sets - these were the mainstay of most local services right up to the end of steam - the Tourist cars were converted to have electric lighting and toilet facilities for all passengers - most conversions retained Mansard roofs.
- Express Lavatory stock - the "LFX" style cars - side loading stock for medium distance country services - introduced lavatory facilities for all passengers - were often run as un-coded sets between the wars, but post-WWII, were not run in defined sets, but simply used as "strengtheners" on many passenger trains - many were converted into the later R-Type corridor cars. In the post-war era on the SN, just about every secondary train had an LFX or BX (or two) attached - mainly Mansard roofs, but later builds had some LE and HE stock included.
- The "L-Type" stock - the CUB (6 cars) sets - the first centre-aisle gangwayed stock built for country services - the CUB sets also introduced Buffet services with interconnecting gangways within the train, but not to adjoining stock at the end of the set - these cars were conversions of old pre-1890 Express suburban stock and retained their Mansard roofs.
- The "R-Type" stock - the SUB sets (7 car) - these were improved gangwayed stock built for the more important country services - they were conversions of Mansard roofed Express Lavatory stock - the sets had gangways at the end of the set so adjoining corridor cars had access to the Buffet facilities.
- Heavy 6-wheel stock - between the wars a variety of heavy stock was built on 6-wheel bogies for general country and express services - some were built with wooden bodies ( the MBE and MFE series) and some with steel bodies (the BS and FS series) all with HE roofs, mostly with full or modified canopied ends. These types of cars spawned many variations, including various Buffet and Sleeping cars, most cars were not run as matched sets.
- The N-Type stock - the NAB sets (6 car) - these were constructed new just before WWII - they were designed for the main country express services, and were the last of the non-air-conditioned stock, and were fitted with HE roofs and a pressure-ventilation system (which ultimately proved a problem in the Summers) - were used in most principal expresses until supplanted by the HUB and RUB sets.
- The HUB (7 car) sets - the first new air-conditioned express passenger cars for the principal daytime expresses, including two sets 116 and 117 dedicated to the Newcastle Express services - also used on the Central West Express, the South Coast Daylight Express, and the Riverina Express.
- The RUB (7 car) sets - the second contract for HUB set cars was actually built with some additional modifications as the RUB set cars - the RUB's being used on other main daytime expresses, like the Melbourne Express, Northern Tablelands Express, and North Coast Daylight Express.
The NSWGR commonly ran certain defined passenger services with set train formations.
Rolling Stock commonly seen on the 'Short North'
[Please note: minor locomotive classes and elderly locomotive classes are not listed.]
Steam Passenger Locomotives
Steam Goods Locomotives
In the earlier years, the passenger rolling stock was built mainly with Mansard style roofs (an almost flat top, with flat angular sides), then there was a period of Low Elliptical roofs (a flat top, with sharply curved sides) and the final roof shape was High Elliptical (a fully curved shape, domed slightly towards the centre), the HE roofs came with a variety of ends, straight ends, and canopied ends with and without gangways. These roof shapes were often common identifiers to the type of passenger stock.
Passenger rolling stock falls generally into a number of broad types, and a three letter code was created to describe the different combinations of cars used in each set formation:
After the late 50's and early 60's, the HUB sets and RUB sets were often interchanged on the principal expresses, until the newer fluted stainless-steel sided stock was built.
Further details of these different types of passenger rolling stock, is available in the "read-me" files accompanying the MSTS download files from the various MSTS file libraries.
Additional Prototype Information
For further information try looking on the Operational Information Page
In 1797 whilst searching for escaped convicts Lieutenant John Shortland discovered coal deposits in the area near the current CBD area of Newcastle. By 1831 Newcastle had been settled and coal was starting to be exported. Large deposits also existed in the Newcastle and Hunter Valley regions. Over the years many collieries have opened and closed. Some of these collieries existed in areas that have now become the suburbs of Newcastle.
The first railway line to built in NSW was opened on 26 September 1855. Initially this line was extended to the south and west of Sydney.
Meanwhile in 1857 a railway line was built between Newcastle and Maitland. Initially this line was extended to the north into the Hunter Valley to service the coal mines in the Hunter valley. For many years these two rail systems remained isolated from each other. Finally in 1889 with the completion of the Hawkesbury River bridge. A single line track was completed between Homebush (Straithfield) and Waratah. This completed the "missing link" between the two systems. This line was converted to a double track in 1912.
Thus Newcastle became a major railway hub. Coal still remains a big export earner for Newcastle with long block trains of coal running to the Port of Newcastle.
This MSTS route is based on the railways in existance around the Newcastle area and the Short North line to Sydney in the late 1950 period. Some of the branchlines in the route are now only memories.
This line became known as the "Short North". It is one of the busiest lines within NSW.
Description of Major Branches
Gosford Racecourse Branch
Opened: 7 December 1916
Down Ruling Grade: 1:60 (Towards Main Line)
Up Ruling Grade: 1:550 (Away from Mainline)
Length: 1 miles (1.6km)
This line was constructed to provide a rail access to the Gosford Racecourse. The station was closed in 1970, however goods traffic kept the branch open to the early 1990s.
Opened: 1 September 1892
Closed: 19 December 1991
Down Ruling Grade: 1:50 (Towards Newcastle)
Up Ruling Grade: 1:40 (Away from Newcastle)
Length: 9.635 miles (15.51km)
This line junctions with the main northern line at Adamstown and was built to serve a number of collieries on eastern Lake Macquarie. The line also saw passenger services for part of it's life.
Opened: 2 April 1878
Closed: 9 September 1994
Length: Approx 0.87 miles (1.4km)
This line was the original branchline to the Bullock Island wharves. It was truncated to serve some industries in the Wickham area after the opening of the Port Waratah branch.
Port Waratah Branch
Opened: 10 April 1908
Up Ruling Grade: 1:74 (Towards Newcastle)
Down Ruling Grade: 1:100 (Away from Newcastle)
Length: 3.05 miles (4.9km)
This branch was opened as an alternate route to Bullock Island and ultimately replaced the connection through Wickham. Large amounts of coal and steel traffic pass down this branch.
Opened: 7 March 1891
Closed: 11 March 1990 (Last train ran)
Down Ruling Grade: 1:60 (Towards Newcastle)
Up Ruling Grade: 1:60
Length: Approx 2.55 miles (4.1km)
This line was originally opened as a tram line and later converted to heavy rail.
Opened:29 May 1954
Closed:19 May 1989 (Last train ran 1972)
Down Ruling Grade: 1:50 (Towards Newcastle)
Up Ruling Grade: 1:66 (Away from Newcastle)
Length: 6 miles (9.6km)
This line was constructed to provide a rail access for the delivery of coal to the Lake Macquarie (Wangi Wangi) Power Station. Plans were also draw up for a station and passenger services however these services were never implemented.