CityRail logo up to 2010
An S set with CityRail branding
|Formed||17 October 1988|
|Dissolved||30 June 2013|
|Jurisdiction||New South Wales|
State Rail Authority (1988-2003)|
The distinctive chime that is played prior to announcements
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CityRail is a defunct railway brand for commuter rail and rail replacement bus services in and around Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong, the three largest cities in New South Wales, Australia. The brand was established in 1988 and abolished in 2013 when it was superseded by Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink.
In June 2013, it operated 307 stations and over 2,060 kilometres of track, extending north to the upper Hunter Region, south to the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands regions and west to Bathurst. In the year ended 30 June 2012, 306 million journeys were made on the network.
CityRail was established pursuant to the Transport Administration Act, 1988 (NSW); and was first mentioned as an entity distinct from the State Rail Authority in the Parliament of New South Wales in the opening address of the third session of the 49th parliament by the Governor of New South Wales, James Rowland on 21 February 1990. On 1 January 2004, RailCorp assumed all functions of the State Rail Authority, and later the functions of the Rail Infrastructure Corporation and Rail Access Corporation.
When the CityRail brand was introduced the State Rail Authority was part way through taking delivery of 450 Tangara carriages. These would see the last single deck suburban sets withdrawn in 1992 and the last U set interurban sets in 1996.
In May 2000 the Airport & East Hills line opened. In July 2002 the first of 141 M set carriages entered service. In November 2006 the first of seven two-carriage Hunter railcars entered service.
In December 2006 the first of 221 Oscar carriages entered service on the South Coast Line. In February 2009 the Epping to Chatswood railway line opened with shuttle services being integrated into the Northern line service in October 2009.
In July 2011 the first Waratah trains entered service with the plan being that these trains would replace the S sets, although it was revealed in 2013 that some S sets would stay. In October 2012 a new service from Bathurst to Sydney commenced.
At the time of it cessation in June 2013, CityRail operated eight electric multiple unit classes for suburban and interurban working and two diesel multiple unit classes. All CityRail electric trains used 1500 V DC overhead electrification and travel on 1,435mm standard gauge tracks. Double deck rollingstock was first introduced in 1964 and after 1996, all electric multiple units were double deck.
The CityRail network was divided into three sectors, based around three maintenance depots. EMU trainsets were identified by target plates, which are exhibited on the front lower nearside of driving carriages. Target designations and set numbers were used in identifying EMU trainsets. The composition and formations of trainsets, and the target designations were subject to alteration.
|Sector #||Depot||Serviced lines||Target plate|
|1||Mortdale||Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra and South Coast||Red|
|2||Flemington||Airport & East Hills, Bankstown, Carlingford, Cumberland, Inner West, Olympic Park and South||Blue|
|3||Hornsby||North Shore, Northern, Western, Central Coast and Blue Mountains||Black|
The following table consists of trains that were in the CItyRail fleet which were withdrawn prior to CityRail's demise:
|Standard suburban carriage stock||1925-1992||Also known as Red Rattlers. Several preserved & one operational.|
|Tulloch suburban carriage stock||1940-1992||Also known as Red Rattlers. Several preserved.|
|Sputnik suburban carriage stock||1957-1993||Known as Red Rattlers or Sputniks. Several preserved.|
|900/800 class railcar||1951-1994||Several preserved|
|U set||1958-1996||Also known as U-Boats. Several preserved & operational.|
|Tulloch double deck carriage stock||1964-2004||Operated with single and double-deck power cars. Several preserved.|
|620/720 class railcar||1961-2007||Several preserved & one operational.|
For most of the brand's life CityRail's ticketing system was the Automated Fare Collection System (AFC). Dating from 1992, it was based on magnetic stripe technology and was interoperable with the Sydney Buses and Sydney Ferries systems. In later years the network was incorporated into the MyZone ticketing system, which retained the AFC technology but extended the validity of multi-modal tickets to private buses and light rail.
Unlike the ticketing systems of other cities in Australia, most of CityRail's ticket prices were calculated on the distance travelled, and were proven to be the most expensive tickets of any major city public transport system.
According to the 2003 Parry Report, "The interaction of metropolitan, suburban, intercity and freight lines and services has resulted in an overly complex system. This complexity has contributed in part to the organisation being widely criticised for poor reliability and safety. CityRail was also enormously expensive. RailCorp required a government subsidy of close to $1.8 billion a year, approximately 5% of the state budget and more than three times what it collects in fares. "There is an overwhelming sense," the report concluded, "that CityRail does not promote a real commitment to quality, customer focus and a service culture."
On-time running improved after new timetables were introduced in 2005 and 2006. The newly introduced timetable increased station dwell and journey times. In April 2008, 99.6% of all services ran, and 92.6% of these services arrived within five minutes of their scheduled arrival time. However a 2007 report by Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railway Corporation found that Sydney's train system reliability levels lagged behind international benchmarks.
In October 2012, a report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers found CityRail performed poorly compared to many metro services from 27 other major world cities. Sydney was ranked as the fourth-worst public train system, beating only Los Angeles, São Paulo and Johannesburg for operation efficiency and coverage, while being proven to have the most expensive tickets of any major city public transport system.
The following table lists patronage figures for the network during the corresponding financial year. Australia's financial years start on 1 July and end on 30 June. Expansions and contractions of the network and major events that affected the number of journeys made are included as notes.
CityRail operated eleven suburban lines, four intercity services, one regional service, and five connecting bus services, plus a late night bus service across metropolitan Sydney.
|Line colour and name||Between|
|Airport & East Hills line||City Circle and Macarthur via either Sydenham (peak) or Airport|
|Bankstown line||City Circle and Liverpool or Lidcombe, via Bankstown|
|Carlingford line||Clyde and Carlingford, with limited services to Lidcombe and Central (i)|
|Cumberland line||Blacktown and Campbelltown|
|Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra line||Bondi Junction and Waterfall or Cronulla|
|Inner West line||City Circle and Bankstown or Liverpool (peak), via Regents Park|
|Northern line||Epping and Hornsby via Strathfield, Central and Macquarie Park|
|North Shore line||Central and Berowra via Gordon|
|Olympic Park line||Lidcombe and Olympic Park. Some services operated between Central (i) and Olympic Park, particularly during special events|
|South line||City Circle and Campbelltown, via Granville|
|Western line||Central and Emu Plains or Richmond via Parramatta|
:*In peak hour on the North Shore line, some outer-suburban services run to Gosford and Wyong, and some Western Line services extended to Springwood.
:*Inbound Inner West and South services generally travelled around the City Circle in the clockwise direction. Inbound Airport and East Hills and Bankstown services generally travelled around the City Circle in the anti-clockwise direction.
|Line colour and name||Between|
|Blue Mountains line||Central and Lithgow a b|
|Newcastle line||Central and Newcastle|
|South Coast line||Central c and Bomaderry or Port Kembla|
|Southern Highlands line||Campbelltown d and Moss Vale, with less frequent services to Goulburn|
|Line colour and name||Between|
|Hunter line||Newcastle and Telarah, with less frequent services to Dungog or Scone|
CityRail operated several bus routes along corridors where the railway line has been closed to passengers or as a supplement to rail services. These bus services appeared in CityRail timetables and accepted CityRail tickets, but were operated by private sector bus companies contracted by CityRail. Two were CountryLink services that carried CityRail passengers.
|Line colour and name||Between||Bus contractor|
|Blue Mountains line||Lithgow to Bathurst via Mount Lambie (r)||Australia Wide Coaches|
|Newcastle line||Fassifern to Toronto via Blackalls Park||Hunter Valley Buses|
|South Coast line||Wollongong to Moss Vale/Bundanoon via Robertson (r)||Roadcoach|
|Southern Highlands line||Moss Vale to Goulburn via Marulan||Roadcoach|
|Southern Highlands line||Picton to Bowral via Thirlmere on weekdays only||Picton Coaches|
To provide a passenger service between midnight and 05:00 while leaving the tracks clear of trains for maintenance work, parallel bus services were established in 1989. NightRide services operated typically at hourly intervals (some routes depart more frequently on weekends). NightRide services were run by private bus operators, and identified by route numbers beginning with "N". All valid CityRail tickets for a destination (apart from single tickets) were accepted on NightRide services.
CityRail also operated several Intercity services that terminate at Central station (though some services operated in the metro-style portions of the system in the peak hours). These lines stretched over 200 kilometres from Sydney, as far north as Newcastle, as far west as Bathurst, as far south-west as Goulburn and as far south as Kiama and Port Kembla. Southern Highlands trains required a connection at Campbelltown as they ran into the city during peak hours only.
Regional services operated from the terminus station at Newcastle, with local electric services to the Central Coast and diesel services to Telarah with some extending to Dungog and Scone. Diesel services also operated on the Illawarra line between Kiama and Bomaderry.
The hub of the CityRail system was Central station, where most lines started and ended. Trains coming from the Airport & East Hills Line and Bankstown Line, after travelling anti-clockwise on the City Circle sometimes terminated upon arrival at Central and proceeded to the Macdonaldtown Turnback. However, most trains continued on and become respective outward bound Inner West trains and South Line trains. The reverse applied for trains coming from the Inner West and South Lines, which, if not terminating, became outward bound trains on the Airport & East Hills and Bankstown lines respectively. In the same manner, all trains from the Western Line or Northern line became North Shore line trains once they reach Central.
As well as the Intercity services mentioned above, local services also ran in the Newcastle local area during off-peak times, as part of the Central Coast & Newcastle Line. Local services also ran on the South Coast Line in the Wollongong local area, usually between Thirroul and Port Kembla.
Many CityRail stations were equipped with electronic passenger destination indicator boards. These provided information on the current time, next three available services, time due to arrival, destination route and the number of train carriages available.
Due to the many differing types of stations that CityRail serves, their screens varied in form. In station where trains arrived at a higher frequency, 2 or more vertical LED screens were used on each platform to display the destination and arrival time whereas in low frequency areas 1 or 2 dual horizontal LED screens with a larger font were used. Manual destination indicator boards were still used at some lower patron stations. In regional areas, a station relied on digital voice announcement for information on services. CBSM (Custom Built Sheet Metal) was responsible for the manufacture of many indicator board encasings.
The quality of the rail system was a matter of considerable political sensitivity. The performance of the State Rail Authority and RailCorp were questioned in regards to safety, training, a politically motivated focus on punctuality, management and workplace culture, with strong criticism from Justice Peter McInerny in his inquiries into the accidents at Glenbrook and Waterfall. Transport is the third largest area of public expenditure in NSW, after health and education. A newspaper distributed to commuters, mX, and the Sydney Morning Herald's "campaign for Sydney" kept transport at the top of the agenda ahead of the 2007 state election. In his 2003 interim report to the NSW Government, Tom Parry was highly critical of CityRail. "It is hard to believe that taxpayers or the state are getting the best possible value from the large amounts of money being spent each year," he wrote.
The safety of the CityRail network was called into question by two fatal accidents. The second Glenbrook train disaster in 1999 killed seven people. In 2003, the Waterfall train disaster killed seven. Inquiries were conducted into both accidents. Official findings into the latter accident also blamed an "underdeveloped safety culture." There has been criticism of the way CityRail managed safety issues that arose, resulting in what the NSW Ministry of Transport called "a reactive approach to risk management."
CityRail has launched public information campaigns regarding railway trespassing, prams and strollers, and falling between the platform and the train.
Crime committed on railway property has decreased by 32.9% since 2002, which RailCorp attributes to the deployment of some 600 Transit Officers across the network. All stations, including those that are remote or unstaffed, have emergency "help points" to put passengers in immediate contact with authorities should an incident occur. All stations are covered by closed-circuit television surveillance. However, a large amount of graffiti is still evident on some trains and the depots.
In recent years, concerns over terrorism have played a role in the management of the network. CityRail and other public transport providers participate in an ongoing public terrorism awareness campaign, If you see something, say something, adapted from a similar campaign in New York.
In 2008, overloading of trains was found by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to be a significant cause of delays. A survey undertaken by RailCorp in September 2011 revealed that 6 of the 13 lines had a maximum load that exceeded 135% (of the seated capacity) during the peak morning commute.
One result of CityRail's increasing problems was a sharp rise in public complaints and attacks against staff, with a Boston Consulting Group report claiming staff were actively hiding from irate customers wishing to complain about the service. The highly negative public perception of transit officers acting as ticket inspection officers and charging significant on-the-spot fines has also led to the organisation introducing anti-spitting fines and signage requesting commuters not abuse staff.
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