NSW High-Speed Rail Plan (Routes, Speed & Journey Times)

NSW High Speed Rail Potential Route
NSW High Speed Rail Potential Route - Source: NSW Government

Last Updated on October 14, 2019

The NSW Government has progressed in making a high-speed rail system a reality with there vision being announced where we may see a ~200km/h rail service initially launched with a >250km/h high-speed VFT train service launched in the long term which will begin in the Sydney region where it will then go to the biggest regional centre’s across the state and even to the ACT.

The vision has outlined several major stops for the service which will begin in Sydney, here is a breakdown of each proposed route

Northern Corridor Route:

  • Sydney
  • Central Coast
  • Newcastle
  • Taree
  • Port Macquarie

Southern Inland Corridor Route:

  • Sydney
  • Goulburn
  • Canberra

Southern Coastal Corridor Route:

  • Sydney
  • Wollongong
  • Nowra

Western Corridor Route:

  • Sydney
  • Lithgow
  • Bathurst
  • ~Orange
  • ~Parkes

If undertaken, this project will change the entire economic and spatial landscape of the New South Wales state. It will give people a chance to live in true lifestyle locations whilst still being able to commute to a inner-city occupation. It can also give businesses a chance to setup in various locations or relocate their head offices as these centre’s become a lot more accessible

Here are some amazing stats on the rail vision for NSW:

Top Speed (Short-Term):At least 200 km/h
Top Speed (Medium to Long-Term):At least 250 km/h
Potential Time Savings:75% on Current Times
Potential Number of Stations:12 Major Station Cities Earmarked

As you can see by the above table, journey times are the biggest benefit of this massive infrastructure vision. Here is a outline of the potential journey times if the development were to go ahead as stated on the NSW Government’s official website, here is a breakdown of what could be on the horizen:

JourneyCurrent TimeHigh-Speed Rail
Time >250km/h
Sydney to Gosford1 Hour 19 Minutes30 Minutes
Sydney to Wollongong1 Hour 25 Minutes30 Minutes
Sydney to Goulburn 2 Hours 31 Minutes30 Minutes
Sydney to Newcastle 2 Hours 35 Minutes45 Minutes
Sydney to Nowra 2 Hours 39 Minutes45 Minutes
Sydney to Canberra4 Hours 7 Minutes1 Hour

Whilst NSW Fast Rail project is set the completely change the landscape of the state, there are more important prioritised rail projects according to the government has recently announced via SMH that the Sydney Metro West & Sydney Metro Greater West are currently more vital transport projects in New South Wales at the present time of writing & have priority to be fast tracked.

NSW High Speed Rail Rolling Stock Trains Render
NSW Fast Rail Rolling Stock Render – Source: NSW Government

Whilst the first step would be to simply optimise the current rail which is in place now, where the longer term vision is to design and create a completely new set of tracks with new rolling stock.

NSW High Speed Rail FAQs

Has the NSW High-Speed Train Project been Confirmed?

No, it is still currently a vision of the NSW Government as of October 2019

Will there be more stations or destinations added along the key routes?

It is unclear whether there will be further routes or cities added to the network at this stage

What will be the top speed of New High-Speed Trains?

It is expected in the short term that the trains will reach a top speed of <200km/h, however, in the long term once a dedicated line is built then this is expected to go up to >250km/h

What impact will the Fast Trains have on Journey Times?

In the long term, the very fast high speed rail in NSW reaching over 250km/h may cut journey times up to 75%

This is an excising time for the residents of both the Sydney region and regional NSW, we will keep you updated here at Build Sydney on the progress of this transport vision.


  1. I wonder what effect it will have on housing prices. Will houses further away but near a high speed train go up significantly? Or inner city prices go down as there’s more options for people who work in the CBD?

  2. This is a brilliant idea and would truly transform NSW. I think they should consider a service to Albury as well – or at least a fast train like VLine in Victoria (16km/hr) and to Canberra where they can then take the bullet train to Sydney.

  3. During the late 1980 and early 1990 the Hastings 2000 steering committee (Cassegrain and the CSIRO) funded to the tune of $10m (1990$) by Cassegrain, Chaired by Dr Keith Boadman, worked-shopped what was required to place Australia as the Worlds most efficient economy. An important part of the exercise was transport infrastructure. The workshops were transparent and participants included Corporate Australia, representatives of Government instrumentalists, Unions (Bill Kelty), Federal State and Local Government politicians. academia and Scientist. The VFT consortium under the chairmanship of Dr Paul Wild had just agreed to re-direct their than proposed 1st stage from Sydney – Melbourne to Sydney- Brisbane when Paul Keating refused their prior request for accelerated tax concession (Syd-Melbourne). But that was not of concern to the H2000 committee because we had developed a formula that could not have been refused had the H2000 project not been the victim of skulduggery and continued.
    The most economical advantage of a East Cost VFT was seen by the H2000 committee as principle replacing “AIR” transport for passengers not “ROAD” as inferred by your proposal. But we believed the VFT should be 350km/hr not 250km/hr. The constraint, using than known rail technology, was a 15km radius. However for freight we could not beat shallow draft very fast coastal ships/barges (~3,000ton ~50 knots) They would not require Capital Ports. A multitude of locations where identified where relatively inexpensive “safe harbours” could be constructed.

    The transport infrastructure paper comparing the economic costs between the EU and the USA published 14 June 2006 is prima facia evidence that “RAIL” between Australia’s Eastern Capital and regional city should be more competitive than “ROAD” and significantly more competitive than “AIR” for both passenger and freight. Water is by far the most efficient mode of freight transport.


    Average EUR costs / passenger km (P 57 Figure 7-4). EU25 EU15 (western) Eastern Europe USA
    ROAD 0.25 0.27 0.08 0.175
    RAIL 0.14 0.155 0.04 0.11
    AIR (p33 figure 5-1). N/A 0.75 0.82 0.44

    Average EUR costs / ton km (P 57 Figure 7-5). EU25 EU15 (western) Eastern Europe USA
    ROAD 0.14 0.15 0.075 0.225
    RAIL 0.14 0.155 0.04 0.01
    WATER 0.01 0.01 N/A 0.005
    AIR (P32 Table 5-9) 0.75 0.75 0.84 0.47

    Appreciate acknowledgement.