Canberra railway station

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Station statistics
Address Burke Crescent, Kingston
Australian Capital Territory
Coordinates 35°19′09″S 149°08′57″E / 35.319187°S 149.149232°E / -35.319187; 149.149232Coordinates: 35°19′09″S 149°08′57″E / 35.319187°S 149.149232°E / -35.319187; 149.149232
Elevation 565 metres (1,854 ft)
Line(s) Canberra branch line
Connections Bus
Distance 329.610 km (204.810 mi) from Central
Structure type Ground
Platforms 1 side platform
Tracks 3
Other information
Accessible Handicapped/disabled access
Station code CBR
Owned by RailCorp
Operator NSW TrainLink
Preceding station   NSW TrainLink   Following station
Terminus NSW TrainLink Southern
Canberra Xplorer
towards Sydney
The front entrance to the station
1210 on the plinth outside the station it occupied from January 1962 until September 1984

Canberra railway station is located in Kingston, Australian Capital Territory. The station is the terminus for NSW TrainLink rail services from Sydney and interchange point for NSW TrainLink coach services to Cootamundra, Bombala and Eden,[1] and the V/Line coach service to Bairnsdale, Victoria.[2] It is the only railway station in the ACT.

In March 1913 work began on a new 8.5 kilometres (5.3 mi) rail link from the capital to Queanbeyan on the Goulburn to Bombala branch line. The line was constructed, managed and operated by the New South Wales Public Works Department on behalf of the Federal Government.[3] It came under the control of the Commonwealth Railways in 1927.[4]

The station building opened on 21 April 1924. From 1927 when Federal Parliament moved to Canberra, the rail passenger service was upgraded with the introduction of a Canberra portion to the Cooma Mail overnight train to Sydney that connected with Melbourne sleeper trains at Goulburn.[3] A daylight service from Sydney was also introduced.

A new passenger terminal building was constructed in 1966. Canberra station, along with the line to Queanbeyan, was owned and staffed by Australian National until May 1985 when it was transferred to the NSW State Rail Authority which operated all the services on the line.[5]

Steam locomotive 1210 that had hauled the first train into Canberra in May 1914 was displayed on a plinth outside the station from January 1962 until September 1984, when it was moved to the Canberra Railway Museum and returned to service in 1988.[3][6]

Platforms and services[edit]

Kingston to Civic Railway[edit]

Canberra Station in 1929

Walter Burley Griffin's original Canberra plan included a railway to come to Canberra City, with stations on the north, east and south.

Work started in December 1920. The railway cost £A5370 and opened on 15 June 1921. It branched off from the Queanbeyan to Canberra line at the Power House siding near Cunningham Street, heading north on a raised embankment through the Causeway, and across the Molonglo River. The bridges over Jerrabomberra Creek and Molonglo River were of low temporary standard. A siding was provided to the north of the river at Russell for the workers camp that was there. The line curved to the north west in Reid, behind St Johns Church and the TAFE. A platform for the railway was built in what is now Garema Place. Finally a line continued to the north to Eloura Street in Braddon where there was a marshalling yard.

The track was owned and maintained by the Commonwealth Railways with trains operated by the New South Wales Government Railways.

In July 1922 a flood on the Molonglo River washed away the legs on the trestle bridge, leaving the bridge deck suspended by the rails and sagging into the water. The bridge was never reconstructed and the rails were removed in 1940.

Brickworks tramway[edit]

A narrow gauge 1,067-millimetre line was built in 1923 from the Yarralumla brickworks to Old Parliament house. This passed along Adelaide Avenue, and round the north of State Circle. A branch went to the Hotel Canberra. The line continued to the Power House in Kingston. The brickworks tramway was extended to Civic. It crossed the Molonglo on a bridge near Scotts Crossing. The older 4-foot-8½-inch-wide (1.435 m) track was reduced to the 3 12 feet (1.1 m) by shifting one rail. The tramway terminated at the Civic Centre Station. The tramway was dismantled on 9 May 1927 as a cleanup for the opening of parliament house.[3]

Railways planned but never built[edit]

The building of a railway between Canberra and Yass was specified in the Seat of Government Acceptance Act 1909, and plans were made to extend the existing Canberra line to Yass in 1924 and 1934. The proposal was last considered by the government in 1971, but was not considered to be economically justified.[3]

During World War I plans were drawn up for a railway to the Tuggeranong Arsenal. The route ran from the Queanbeyan line via Macarthur, Fadden, Erindale, Wanniassa and Oxley to a station in north east Greenway. There was also to be a hospital near the Kambah Wool Shed, a small-arms factory near Pine Island, and a civic centre. The line was not constructed.

A plan was also drawn for a Canberra to Jervis Bay line in 1914, to connect Canberra with what was to be its port. Little was heard of this project after 1921.[3]


  1. ^ Southern timetable NSW TrainLink 20 October 2013
  2. ^ Capital Link V/Line 27 January 2014
  3. ^ a b c d e f Stokes, HJW (1984). Railways of the Canberra and Monaro Districts. Canberra: Australian Railway Historical Society, ACT Division. 
  4. ^ "Federal Parliament: Developing Federal Capital". The Argus. 1927-09-19. Retrieved 2014-03-07. 
  5. ^ "Canberra Line Handover" Railway Digest May 1985 page 136
  6. ^ "ARHS Canberra" Railway Digest November 1984 page 381

Further reading[edit]