Cab ride: Sydney to Newcastle.


Trainzing since 12-2003

This is a beautiful ride with parts that remind me a bit of the Murchison route as the line winds through the mountains and along the Hawkesbury River and Mullet Creek. In addition to the beautiful scenery, there's plenty of freight and passenger action to see as well.
Huh, I live about 500m from that ugly Newcastle Interchange thing. I only see it from the road, but from that side, it looks like a used car sales place.
Nice. I've never taken the train north from Sydney to Newcastle although I've driven the highway a few times in the last couple of years. I was particularly interested in the stretch between Hornsby and the Hawkesbury as the terrain is quite rugged and mostly unpopulated along that stretch. I was surprised by the tunnel (to nowhere) on the right around Cowan, I think. There is nothing to go to in that direction so I wondered if another route across the Hawkesbury was planned at some point.

I gather this is a recent video by the cloudy conditions and the amount of water lying around. Whenever I drove from Sydney to Newcastle it always seems to be raining!

I'm not impressed by the Newcastle Interchange. I saw this station in detail in another video one day on the stations by someone named Paul. I'll have to get the link for his YouTube channel which I subscribed to. Trainzer Red Hen posted a lot about the plan and how the residents were against the proposal, but the city did it anyway. I remember what was done by the developer who "convinced" the city planners to turn the downtown into a megamall with the under-utilized tram connecting the old station-mall back to the interchange station.


The area is very interesting indeed. After I watched the video, I did some sleuthing around on Google Maps. It appears that tunnel to the right was a second line that crossed over the Hawkesbury River to the other shore. Why the railway kept the curved line and removed the straight line is something I don't understand. Maybe the bridge was damaged by a boat or storm, so the bridge was removed. In the same area there appears to be another line that came into the station from the southwest that had followed the shore. I was able to follow that line a short distance but then it disappears into modern developments and shopping plazas.

I've done some severe storm chasing with Daniel Shaw on his livestream through this area. Those hills are quite steep with twisting roads in and around those hills and the terrain is really beautiful. He has stopped and taken photos along the way in various locations when the storms had petered out to rain showers.

Steep valleys and hills do indeed cause a lot more rain due to how they trap the moisture which explains why it always appears to rain there. In the Pacific Northwest, the Cascades and Sierras are wet on the western edge but create a desert on the eastern side. In Oregon for instance the Snake River area is bone dry and more like Idaho and Utah while the western side is wet from all the rain.
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Re: the abandoned tunnels/route across the Hawkesbury River - that is actually the remnants of the original rail bridge and tunnels across the river that had to be replaced in the 1930s. As I understand it the reason for the replacement was that the NSW Government Railways discovered to their horror that one of the bridge pylons had inadvertently been built on top of a giant boulder that was lying in the riverbed, and said boulder had started to wander with the vibrations of the trains running across the bridge, thus the entire structure was becoming increasingly unstable and in serious danger of collapsing.

So a replacement structure was built as quickly as possible, not an easy task in the middle of World War II, with wartime labour and material shortages, while the unstable original bridge was still kept in service out of sheer necesity (with trains restricted to running at greatly reduced speed and to a single track on the 'higher' side).

In any event the new bridge was completed without the original one collapsing, and the line was quickly rerouted across the new structure. Only the original tunnels at each end and the line of stone pylons that once supported the original bridge remain alongside the current bridge. So yeah, they weren't a planned line but an abandoned one.