Slow regional passenger rail speeds along the Newcastle–Sydney and Wollongong– Sydney rail lines result in lengthy travel times that are generally longer than car travel.
Express services take 1 hour 28 minutes between Wollongong and Sydney, and 2 hours 37 minutes between Newcastle and Sydney.
This service level reduces accessibility to key destinations, and limits the connectivity and integration of the regions. It puts heavy reliance on private vehicle transportation along the corridors and limits opportunities to develop greater economic synergies between the three cities, which would beneﬁt productivity.
The current level of rail capacity and quality of service reflect a range of operational and infrastructure constraints, including winding alignments across the Hawkesbury River (Newcastle–Sydney) and the Illawarra Escarpment (Wollongong–Sydney).