Cairns railway station
Station front in January 2013
|Location||Bunda Street, Cairns|
|Owned by||Queensland Rail|
|Distance||1679.83 kilometres from Central|
|Rebuilt||7 May 1996|
Cairns railway station is the terminus of the North Coast line from Brisbane. It serves the city of Cairns. The station has two platforms. It is integrated with the Cairns Central Shopping Centre, with the platforms being built underneath parking areas.
The original station was built in 1891, as part of the opening of the first stage of the railway to Atherton Tableland, extended over many years to many branches, serving timber, mining, pastoral and tobacco resources. The station building was two-storey timber, with ornate verandahs: typical of tropical architecture of the era. The 1897 Mulgrave Shire Tramway headed south, was extended, then was absorbed into the North Coast Railway, connecting Brisbane to Cairns via many coastal towns which had hitherto been ports for railways to the hinterland. That route was completed in 1924, and Cairns became a major tourist destination; the line was known as the Sunshine Route; new stock was built in the 1930s for the main train, now named Sunshine Express. After years of WWII and postwar austerity, QR embarked on improvements in the early 1950s. New airconditioned trains were added on key routes: the Brisbane - Cairns one was named Sunlander. Cairns station was rebuilt in 1955: two storey cream brick of modern design. As the first modern station, and serving a major destination, it featured prominently in publicity material. Unlike other main stations on the line, it didn't gain a full dining room or bar, just a snackbar kiosk. As well as the Brisbane trains, it served regional and commuter trains south and inland: mainly railmotors of three vintages, plus some mixed trains.  These were withdrawn progressively. The extensive yards and loco facilities opposite the station were closed and dismantled to release the site for redevelopment. Surviving freight and servicing facilities were relocated to be adjacent to the cargo port. The tracks to the south were relocated out of street running and via the port too. The current station was opened by the Minister for Transport Vaughan Johnson on 7 May 1996, on the side of the site opposite the August 1955 station. It was built as part of the Cairns Central Shopping Centre.