Slugging travellers a surcharge entering or exiting CityRail trains on the Airport Link is appalling and we have devised a method to avoid this ridiculous charge. It does involve some walking however comparing the cost saving for the minimal amount of distance is worth considering.
How much is the surcharge?
Lets compare a train ticket fare from Newcastle to Sydney Airport International for a single journey adult.
Distance: 169 Kms
Now the same journey but departing the train 1 station before the airport, Newcastle to Wolli Creek
Distance: 168 Kms
Walk from Wolli Creek train station to Sydney Airport International
Distance: 1.2 kms (20 mins walk)
Cost saving: $12.60
The final kilometre cost an additional $12.60 for the convenience of arriving at the Domestic or International terminal. Convenient but hard to justify. Perhaps $2-3 dollars surcharge but 146% of the maximum full adult fare within the CityRail network only for 1 kilometre of travel is a complete rip off.
The solution is easy. Plan to arrive 30 minutes earlier and depart the train at Wolli Creek station. Walk over the bridge to Sydney Airport and pocket the savings. If going to the Domestic airport simple travel to Mascot station instead and walk to the airport. So easy. Departing the airport is the same exercise done in reverse.
Sure there are times when the convenience is easier to pay the surcharge, certainly if you can not spare 30 minutes lost in walking the final distance. However we make the effort every time travelling to Sydney and the saving certainly have added up for us.
Changing Trains at Central Station in Sydney
Usually we catch a train into Central Sydney then change to the Airport Link platform. We ride the train through the airport and exit at Wolli Creek on the other side of the airport. Stupid really we actually ride the train longer than we have to in order to avoid the surcharge.
The Walk From Wolli Creek Station to Sydney Airport
You should allow a full 30 minutes from Wolli Creek platform to be inside the airport terminal so you don’t have to worry about being late. Actual journey takes about 15-20 minutes. Follow the maps below. Only note is cross the bridge and do not climb up the side of the wall if you continue past the walking path. Simple go back and follow the walking path between the park and the water. Yes, I have climbed up the wall first time I made the walk.
Further Advice for Savy Traveller
Catch the train from Kotara train station Newcastle. The ticketing machine here is out of date and CityRail has not invested in a more comprehensive ticketing machine. The only ticket you can purchase to Wolli Creek is an intention to travel for $2.60. You are supposed to pay the balance of fare at Wolli Creek, however since there are no gates or exit terminals you simply walk straight out of the station. You will also have a legal ticket for travel if questioned by a train officer. Hence the maximum saving can be $18.60 (21.20-2.60). Note, once paper tickets are stopped and the new Opal card system is implemented this may no longer be possible. If you decide to depart at the Sydney Airport terminal you will have to pay the full balance $18.60 and the electronic gate will not open for you.