Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts

Freight rail upgrades between Sydney and Newcastle – Epping to Thornleigh Third Track

Funding Program:Investment Road and Rail Program
Transport Mode:Rail
Expected Start/Finish:Mid 2013 - Mid 2016
Estimated Project Cost:$429,954,471
Australian Government Contribution:$375,000,000
Local Council/Shire:Hornsby Shire Council
Corridor:Sydney - Brisbane, Sydney Urban

Project Description

The Epping to Thornleigh Third Track Construction Project enabled the construction of a third track between Epping and Thornleigh for northbound freight trains travelling up the steep climb at this location.


The project enabled passenger trains to overtake freight trains on the steep climb between Epping and Thornleigh, removing a significant congestion point on the Main North Line. Other benefits included the diversion of freight from road to rail; improved efficiency flowing from improved reliability, reduced transit times and congestion; and improved productivity from rail operations.

Completion of Stage 1 of the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor Program has helped increase rail’s market share for the transport of freight, reduce the occurrence of road accidents, and reduce air pollution, greenhouse emissions and noise.


The Australian Government contributed $360,000,000 to the project with Transport for NSW funding the remainder of the costs.


Delivery Phase funding was approved in June 2012, enabling commencement of detailed design work.  Construction works for the Epping to Thornleigh Third Track commenced in November 2013, following environmental and planning approval for the project being granted in July 2013. The project was completed in June 2016.

Disclaimer: The material contained in this site is made available on the understanding that the Department is not thereby engaged in rendering professional advice for a particular purpose. Before relying on the material in any important matter, users should carefully evaluate the accuracy, completeness and relevance of the information for their purposes and should obtain appropriate professional advice relevant to their particular circumstances.

Project details last updated: 22/05/2018