Strathfield-Hornsby Northern Line Commuters Kept Waiting Since 1949

Strathfield-Hornsby Northern Line Commuters Kept Waiting Since 1949

Heavy Rail Technology Has The Flexibility That Sydney Needs

Victor P Taffa

The Northern Line that stretches from Sydney, New South Wales to Brisbane, Queensland however for commuters living between Strathfield and Hornsby has been waiting for four tracks since the Labor Party promised to quadruple the Strathfield-Hornsby Northern Line when the Ryde Tram Line was destroyed in 1949.

As the Strathfield-Hornsby Northern Line conveys Freight, Interstate, Interurban and Suburban Trains, commuters have for many decades had to play second to rail scheduling on the line as successive governments have squibbed on expenditure for new tracks and platforms.

Railway Stations between Strathfield And Hornsby Includes:

  • Strathfield
  • North Strathfield
  • Concord West
  • Rhodes
  • Meadowbank
  • West Ryde
  • Denistone
  • Eastwood
  • Epping
  • Cheltenham
  • Beecroft
  • Pennant Hills
  • Thornleigh
  • Normanhurst
  • Hornsby

When the Thornleigh-Epping Third Track is completed, commuters will face a mish-mash of two, three and four operating tracks on the Strathfield-Hornsby Northern Line that negatively impacts on rail services, particularly in peak hour.

Railway lines in Australia are largely owned by State Governments however the Federal Government through the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is keen to increase its share of track ownership.

Funded by the Federal Government, the Thornleigh-Epping Third Track and North Strathfield Freight Tunnel projects are expanding track capacity on State Government owned rail networks. These projects are great however the Federal Government’s grand plan is to abolish State Government’s.


North Strathfield Pomeroy Street Overpass

North Strathfield Pomeroy Street Overpass














Abolishing State Government’s may sound great to some however the Newcastle Railway Line has been closed illegally to suit the Federal Government vision of no State Government’s and no Branch Railways.

What is more ridiculous is that the Federal Government thinks that people are simply cattle and is funding three tracks and not four between Epping and Thornleigh.

The North Strathfield Freight Tunnel avoids sets of points on the Northern Line in keeping with its ‘Alice in Wonderland’ dream of a driver less metro rail technology North West line which will not have sets of points and train carriages where people are herded in like cattle.

If the Federal Government did not think that people were nothing more than cattle, funding for four tracks would be provided for the John Whitton Bridge across the Parramatta River, Meadowbank.


North Strathfield Railway Station From Pomeroy Street Overpass

North Strathfield Railway Station with new Freight Tunnel dive on the left hand side. Previously a fourth track continued past the station.















The current bridge that opened in 1980 has piers wide enough for four tracks and spans only with capacity for two tracks.

Set of points are a mechanism that allows trains to switch from one track to another safely. Sets of points inserts flexibility into a rail network that a rigid metro rail system does not allow for.

  • Metro Rail Technology maybe old but is inflexible and has 70% standing capacity
  • Heavy Rail Technology maybe old but is flexible and has 70% seating capacity

Rather than metro rail technology, Strathfield-Hornsby Northern Line commuters simply wants trains that turn up frequently. Trains cannot run without tracks regardless of what technology is installed. The Strathfield-Hornsby Northern Line needs the following:



North Strathfield Railway Station opened on 9 June 1918 as an island platform facility.

The existing side platform No. 3 opened in 1924.

The existing side platform No. 3 is in an offset position in a northerly direction.

The fourth city bound track has been recently recommissioned as part of the North Strathfield Freight Tunnel project.


North Strathfield Railway Station with Epping bound service departing

North Strathfield Railway Station with Epping bound service departing Platform 2















Currently the Pomeroy Street Overpass has 4 Tracks running underneath it.

Following the installation of a set of points a fourth track can continue to Strathfield that will be needed when a new Strathfield-Hurstville via Roselands Railway Line is built.

Passing under the Pomeroy Street Overpass and running parallel with the new freight tunnel dive the new city bound fourth track would service a new island platform No.1.

The existing city bound track would service a new island platform No.2

The existing north bound track would be laid parallel with the newly aligned city bound track and service a new island platform No. 3

The existing north bound platform No. 3 would be demolished where the second north bound track would be laid to service a new island platform No.4.

The realigned second north bound track would also run parallel with the new western side footpath and divided by a large fence.



The existing main north-south tracks that currently pass under the Pomeroy Street Overpass can be realigned to run parallel through the centre of the existing island platform.

It would be far more economical to dig a dual track trench through the existing island platform rather than bulldozing the entire island platform. This also allows for the continued operation of trains during the rebuilding of North Strathfield Railway Station.



Spoil from old side platform No. 3 and centre of existing island platform can be used for the new island platforms.



  • Pedestrian Footbridge to service both island platforms.
  • Lifts to be installed for the disabled, elderly and mothers with strollers.
  • Pedestrian access from the Pomeroy Street Overpass directly onto both island platforms.

The existing island platform building could be incorporated into one of the new island platforms or have the roof removed as was the case with platform buildings at Strathfield Railway Station when the station expanded to 8 platforms with full length platform canopies in 1927.



Concord West Railway Station as part of the North Strathfield Freight Tunnel project is now a twin island 4 Platform Railway Station.



Rhodes Railway Station has the room for another city bound platform that would form an island platform with the existing side No. 1 Platform.



To add insult to injury Meadowbank Railway Station has had a much needed rail communications tower placed on what should be an island No.1 & 2 City Bound Platform.

This rail communications tower can be safely relocated towards the northern end of Meadowbank Railway Station.



West Ryde Railway Station has room for a fourth north bound platform to be built.


Editor Victor P Taffa calling for better rail services on Northern Line, 10 October 1985

Editor Victor P Taffa calling for better rail services at West Ryde Railway Station on Northern Line, 10 October 1985
























Underground Strathfield Platforms 9 & 10 would service the Strathfield-Hurstville via Roselands Line.

The new Tunnel Portal for the Strathfield-Hurstville via Roselands Line would be on vacant railway land on the southern side of the Parramatta Road Overpass.

A further set of points would also be installed for trains to either go underground onto the new line or continue onto the existing surface Strathfield Railway Station.

As part of the New South Wales Government 2010 Transport Plan was for a Strathfield-Hurstville via Roselands Railway Line. Looking further ahead to the future on my ISPUT website (Improve Sydney Public Transport) is the Northern Line Extension. The link is as follows:

While the Cronulla Line duplication was completed as part of the 2010 Transport Plan, funding did not include Sutherland-Hurstville Illawarra Line Quadrupling. Once again rail commuters lose out as lack of track capacity simply slows down train services.



Given that the existing island platform has a large height gap for passengers, it would seem apparent that while some may say that the solution is to bulldoze the station and start again that there is another engineering solution that may not be as expensive as completely rebuilding North Strathfield or many other railway stations.

One of the arguments in favour of Rapid Transit Metro Rail is the gap factor between platforms and trains. North Strathfield, Denistone and many other railway stations have large platform gaps.

With limited resources, no government can solve the gap issue at every station overnight.

There will be only so many Poles and Wires that can be sold/leased and as such Sydney should stick to one rail technology and instigate a Railway Station Platform Gap Adjustment Plan rather than having two conflicting rail technologies whereby High Speed Rail cannot operate through a Sydney Harbour Rail Tunnel.



  • The England-France Rail Tunnel is heavy rail.
  • London Tube Trains cannot operate through the England-France Rail Tunnel.
  • Paris Metro Trains cannot operate through the England-France Rail Tunnel.



The Bradfield Line is a second city circle line as contained in my ISPUT website (Improve Sydney Public Transport) The link to the Bradfield Line Page is as follows:

In addition to 4 tracks for the Strathfield-Hornsby Northern Line, a second city circle line is needed to alleviate rail congestion at Town Hall Railway Station, Wynyard Railway Station and on tracks across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The Bradfield Line will be used by Western and Inner Western Line trains except Northern and Richmond Line trains.

As the Strathfield-Redfern Western Line has 6 tracks, the 4 track Northern Line will meet seamlessly into the Western Line.

When High Speed Rail services from every Capital City commences operation, the 6 track Strathfield-Redfern Western Line will also be used.



Funding expanded railways costs money and some means to fund railway expansion includes:

  • Federal Government Funding
  • State Government Funding
  • Private Consortium Involvement
  • Railways Lottery
  • Restaurant/Lounge Carriages
  • Railway Bonds


Strathfield-Hornsby Northern Line commuters have been waiting since 1949 for a better railway service. Promises of new rail technology sound very hollow when building extra tracks is so simple to deliver.