There are two choices when travelling by train from the city of Newcastle to Sydney. There is the slow train, a journey of 2 hours 30, and there is the very slow train, 3 hours. We’ve had promises of a Very Fast Train but that seems to be a promise reserved for election years only and once the election is over all promises are forgotten.
Still, there is a lot to enjoy on the 160 kilometre journey. The route the train takes is mainly through native bush with frequent stops at tiny stations. The grey-green bush can look very uninspiring but if you look closely there is always something of interest to see. On Friday from the train I saw the deep red flowers of Gymea Lilies just starting to open. These native flowers grow on tall, thick stems up to six metres high from a cluster of sword-shaped leaves. There were also a few low-growing wattles still covered in yellow flowers. In one area part of the bush had been cleared beneath a row of electricity pylons. I counted sixteen kangaroos busily eating the new grass shoots. It gives you an idea of the speed of the train when you get to count that many kangaroos. They must have been used to trains as none of them lifted their heads or stopped eating to investigate the noise.
The most scenic part of the train journey is from Gosford to Brooklyn where the railway line is closest to the coast. Gosford is the main town between Newcastle and Sydney and many people who live here commute the 70+ kilometres to Sydney. Much of the city is set around a wide bay and you get a good view of the town as the train line skirts the bay on the way to Brooklyn. The train crosses the Hawkesbury River bridge with water on both sides. The river flows out to the Pacific Ocean at Palm Beach, just a few kilometres to the right of the picture. It is the famous beach where the TV series ‘Home and Away’ is filmed. The little settlement of Brooklyn is most famous for its oysters and its marina. I’d like to take one of the Hawkesbury river cruises from there one day. The train does not often stop at Hawkesbury River, the station for Brooklyn. I think the stop may be ‘on request’.
From Brooklyn the train enters a series of tunnels carved out of the sandstone from which the Sydney basin is formed. In places the cliffs drop down to the Hawkesbury river. These would be interesting seen from a boat, I think.
Once the train reaches Hornsby it is in the outer suburbs of Sydney and buildings and houses close in on the train line. The train slows as it joins the steady stream of train traffic to Central Station, Sydney’s main railway station.
The Newcastle-Sydney train is scenic and slow. For scenic and fast (30 minutes) I want to try the sea-plane