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Metro North West Line

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The Metro North West Line is a metro rail line serving the north west suburbs in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The line is coloured teal on maps and informational material. It is the first line of the Sydney Metro network and is also Australia's first metro line. The line entered service on 26 May 2019.


The converted Macquarie University station
The newly built Norwest station

A railway line serving the car-dependant north west suburbs had been proposed for many years. The North West Rail Link was announced in the New South Wales Government's 1998 long-term transport plan Action for Transport 2010. Plans to construct the line were repeatedly announced but then cancelled. While most plans envisaged the line as a conventional railway using Sydney's standard double-deck trains, the line was eventually created as single-deck metro line. The project to construct the line, known as Sydney Metro Northwest, converted the Epping to Chatswood railway line to metro standards and extended it through the north west suburbs to Rouse Hill.

Sydney Metro Northwest opened on 26 May 2019. Services were branded as the Metro North West Line.[1] Trains were to run every five minutes during peak hours for first six weeks of operation, before expanding to run every four minutes; however, this change actually came into effect on 1 July.[2][3] Until late 2019, a replacement bus service will run every night from around 9.30pm between Sunday to Wednesday to allow additional works to be completed.[2][4][5] There were more than 1.8 million journeys on the line during the first month of operation. The government stated that 20,000 fewer cars had used the M2 motorway compared to the same time in 2018 and there had been up to a 20 percent fall in usage at key stations on the T1 Western Line. It attributed these changes to the opening of the metro.[6]

The eastern terminus of the line is at Chatswood. This means passengers travelling to the city are presently required to change to a T1 North Shore & Western Line or T9 Northern Line service to complete their journey. Sydney Metro City & Southwest is a project to construct a new tunnel to extend the metro line under Sydney Harbour, through the city and on to Sydenham. From there the metro will head west to Bankstown, taking over most of the Bankstown railway line. This extension is under construction and is due to open in 2024.

Line operation

As of December 2011, the New South Wales Government had not ruled out the possibility of contracting the operation and management of the North West Rail Link to private enterprise as part of a public-private partnership. Les Wielinga, the Director-General of Transport for NSW, stated "We are focused on the longer term rail options. It's got to work as a single network, the whole network, but we are looking at private sector involvement in those as well. And we've got an open mind.".[7]

In May 2013 it was announced that two consortia had been shortlisted to operate the line:[8]

  • Northwest Rapid Transit consisting of John Holland, Leighton Contractors, MTR Corporation, Plenary Group and UGL Rail
  • TransForm consisting of Bombardier Transportation, John Laing Investments, Macquarie Capital, McConnell Dowell, Serco and SNC-Lavalin Capital

The Northwest Rapid Transit consortium was awarded the contract in June 2014.[9] The operator itself is known as Metro Trains Sydney.[10][11]

Hurstville branch

Early plans for the City & Southwest project envisaged a second phase of the southern sector conversion of existing railway lines. This would see two of the four Illawarra railway line tracks between Sydenham and Hurstville converted to rapid transit and added to the Sydney Metro network. This would increase rail capacity between Hurstville and the city by 10 trains per hour. Though a precise construction timeframe was not provided, the plan was for all work being completed by 2031. The Hurstville conversion would add eight stations and 9km to the metro network.[12] Developing plans for this extension proved difficult, and the Sydney Morning Herald reported in February 2016 that the project may have been dropped.[13] It was absent from the New South Wales Government's 2018 Greater Sydney Services and Infrastructure Plan which set out potential transport projects to be built through to 2056.


North West Line stations
Name Opened** Interchanges*
Tallawong 26 May 2019 none
Rouse Hill 26 May 2019
Kellyville 26 May 2019
Bella Vista 26 May 2019
Norwest 26 May 2019
Hills Showground 26 May 2019
Castle Hill 26 May 2019
Cherrybrook 26 May 2019
Epping 26 May 2019
Macquarie University 26 May 2019 none
Macquarie Park 26 May 2019
North Ryde 26 May 2019
Chatswood 26 May 2019
City and Southwest extension
Crows Nest 2024 none
Victoria Cross 2024
Barangaroo 2024
Martin Place 2024
Pitt Street 2024 none
Central 2024
Waterloo 2024 none
Sydenham 2024
Marrickville 2024 none
Dulwich Hill 2024
Hurlstone Park 2024 none
Canterbury 2024
Campsie 2024
Belmore 2024
Lakemba 2024
Wiley Park 2024
Punchbowl 2024
Bankstown 2024

** As a metro station. * Most stations are served by connecting bus services. Some Sydney Trains stations may also be served by intercity trains at certain times.


Stage 1 operates with 6-car trains running on 4 minute headways. After the addition of the Stage 2 extension to Bankstown, the system will require at least 59 six-car trains to run every four minutes during peak periods. Station platforms are configured to allow for future use of 8-car trains and the signalling system designed to allow for 2 minute headways, both of which are planned to be introduced once sufficient patronage demands it. Eight-car trains have a design capacity of 1,539 passengers, and increasing the running frequency to ultimately 30 trains per hour (2 minute headway) would provide a maximum capacity of 46,170 passengers per hour per direction.[14]

Potential extensions

To Schofields

There were long term plans to extend the proposed heavy-rail North West Rail Link to meet the existing Richmond railway line near Vineyard.[15] However, the location of the alignments were never finalised and further investigation and studies would have been required. The design of the line was subsequently extended south west to Tallawong, making an extension to Vineyard impractical.

State government documents from May 2011 suggested an intention to eventually extend the line to meet the Richmond line near Schofields, two stations south of Vineyard.[16] A government report from June of that year suggested an extension of the North West Rail Link beyond Rouse Hill to meet the Richmond line at Schofields, Riverstone, or beyond.[17]

A scoping study into rail investment to service Western Sydney and the proposed Western Sydney Airport was announced by the New South Wales and Australian governments in November 2015.[18] The study's final report was released in March 2018 and included a proposal to extend the Sydney Metro Northwest from Tallawong to Schofields, where it would connect with a proposed "North-South Link" (now known as Sydney Metro Greater West) serving the airport and continuing on to Macarthur.[19] An announcement by the governing Liberal Party during the 2019 New South Wales election campaign suggested the route would instead form part of Sydney Metro Greater West, meaning the two metros would meet at Rouse Hill rather than Schofields.[20]

To Liverpool

The same scoping study that investigated the extension to Schofields also investigated an extension from Bankstown to Liverpool. The proposal was included in the study's final report, released in March 2018. The report suggested the extension was unlikely to be built for at least 20 years.[21]

During the 2019 New South Wales election campaign, the governing Liberal Party announced it would commence planning of this extension.[20]


  1. "Sydney Metro is open". Transport for NSW. Archived from the original on 26 May 2019. Retrieved 26 May 2019. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kontominas, Bellinda (5 May 2019). "'Game-changer': Sydney's new driverless train to open to the public on May 26". ABC News. 
  3. "Sydney Metro North West Timetable". Transport for NSW. 14 June 2019. Archived from the original on 18 June 2019. 
  4. "Sydney Metro to open in three weeks". Transport for NSW. 5 May 2019. 
  5. "North West Night Bus". Transport for NSW. Archived from the original on 5 May 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019. 
  6. "North West Metro marks one month as TBM prepares to go under the harbour". Transport for NSW. 26 June 2019. 
  7. Saulwick, Jacob (3 December 2011). "Private operators in the mix for north-west rail link". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  8. "Detention company could run new rail link". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2 May 2013. 
  9. "Major milestones reached on North West Rail Link as preferred operator selected". Transport for NSW. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  10. "Sydney Metro North West". MTR Corporation. Retrieved 8 April 2019. 
  11. "Fact Sheet: Metro North West Line operations". Transport for NSW. 5 May 2019. 
  12. Transport for NSW (June 2012). Sydney's rail future: modernising Sydney's trains. 
  13. O'Sullivan, Matt; Saulwick, Jacob (3 February 2016). "Plan to extend Sydney metro line south hits growing list of hurdles". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  14. "SYDNEY METRO CITY & SOUTHWEST | BUSINESS CASE SUMMARY". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  15. "Outcomes Report". 15 August 2008. North West Metro Stakeholder Engagement Briefing and Consultation Forum
  16. Rhys Haynes; Andrew Clennell (27 May 2011). "Let's go forth by North West rail". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  17. Haynes, Rhys (20 June 2011). "Plans to extend North West rail link". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  18. "Western Sydney Airport". Transport for NSW. Archived from the original on 2 March 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016. 
  19. "Western Sydney Rail Needs Scoping Study Outcomes Report". Australian Government and New South Wales Government. March 2018. p. 59. Retrieved 7 March 2018. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Expanding metro network to connect Sydney like never before". Liberal Party NSW. 14 March 2019. 
  21. "Western Sydney Rail Needs Scoping Study Outcomes Report". Australian Government and New South Wales Government. March 2018. p. 60. Retrieved 7 March 2018.