NSW Rural Passenger Rail Network

NSW Rural Passenger Rail Network at Maximum Extent

NSW Rural Passenger Rail Network at Maximum Extent

Today, rural rail passenger services in New South Wales are a mere shadow of its former self. This map presents the NSW rural rail passenger network at its maximum extent. The stations and lines that no longer provide passenger service (or have been disused completely) are greyed out. As can be clearly seen, the vast majority of the network is no longer in use for passenger service – with many of the lines being completely of out of use.

Click on the image above to view a larger zoomable version of the map.

Data used to compile this map: “Map of the New South Wales Railways 1933” and NSWrail.net

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  1. One of the reasons that the rural railway map of NSW is but a shadow of it’s former self is that they didn’t keep pace with the changing times. Many were built very cheaply to what the railways termed “pioneer track” with lightly laid lines, earth or ash ballast and no fencing allowing livestock to roam on the railway. Most of these lines took a twisting steeply graded route. Speeds were very slow.
    As road transport improved along with the roads these lines became more and more unprofitable. The governments just didn’t want to know or care about the rural communities that were served by these lines.
    There was no drive to straighten out alignments and build proper quality railways so that with higher speeds these lines could compete with road transport. When a major expense occurred like a bridge replacement it was just easier and cheaper to shut the lines and tell any freight customers to send their commodities by road.
    Rural NSW has always been second best to the city areas which always get the biggest bite of the treasury budget pie. The only time politicians care about rural NSW is when they want their votes and that’s only once every four years. The rest of the time they’re out of sight and out of mind and the same with the railways that used to serve those rural areas.
    Another reason that these lines failed is because of bureaucratic red tape. Companies found that they had to deal with many different government departments just to get their goods interstate whereas with the trucking companies they deal with one company what REALLY WANTS THEIR BUSINESS. The railways also suffered from government and union interference. The most profitable part of NSW railways was the freight side. City suburban and country rail passenger services had always run at a loss and were a small burden on the taxpayer. So the government sold the freight side of the business at a bargain basement price to private enterprise. They were then alarmed at the losses that were showing themselves on passenger services and so the need to prune the system began with rural lines bearing brunt of the cuts.

  2. Absolutely brilliant, thank you very much. Out of general curiosity, and bored with tv, I was looking for a map of all the old disused nsw lines when I discovered your map. All that it needs now is to have images linked to those stations/lines/trains and you would has the perfect historical records.
    Best regards

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