Central railway station, Sydney

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Sydney Central
Underground, Above ground, Ground level
Central railway station Sydney 2017.jpg
Central Station viewed from the western forecourt in 2017
Location Eddy Avenue, Haymarket, Sydney, New South Wales
Coordinates 33°52′57″S 151°12′24″E / 33.88250°S 151.20667°E / -33.88250; 151.20667Coordinates: 33°52′57″S 151°12′24″E / 33.88250°S 151.20667°E / -33.88250; 151.20667
Elevation 20 metres (67 ft)
Owned by RailCorp
Operated by Sydney Trains
Platforms 27
  • 15 terminating
  • 10 through
  • 2 unused
Tracks 30
Connections Bus
Light rail
Structure type
  • Ground: 15
  • Elevated: 8
  • Underground: 4 (2 in use, 2 never used)
Disabled access Yes
Other information
Website Sydney Trains
Opened 5 August 1906 (1906-08-05)
Electrified Yes
Passengers (2013) 11.35 million
Preceding station   Sydney Trains   Following station
towards Epping or Emu Plains or Richmond
North Shore, Northern & Western Line
towards Hornsby or Berowra
T2 Inner West & Leppington Line
through to City Circle
either Museum or Town Hall
towards Lidcombe or Liverpool
Bankstown Line
towards Waterfall or Cronulla
Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line
towards Olympic Park
Olympic Park Line
(occasional services only)
towards Macarthur
T8 Airport & South Line
through to City Circle
either Museum or Town Hall
towards Macarthur
Preceding station   NSW TrainLink   Following station
Terminus Blue Mountains Line
towards Bathurst
Terminus Central Coast & Newcastle Line
Terminus South Coast Line
Terminus Southern Highlands Line
(peak hour services)
towards Goulburn
towards Grafton, Casino or Brisbane
NSW TrainLink North Coast Terminus
towards Moree or Armidale
NSW TrainLink North Western
towards Broken Hill or Dubbo
NSW TrainLink Western
NSW TrainLink Southern
Preceding station   Sydney Metro   Following station
towards Chatswood
City and Southwest
towards Bankstown
Preceding station   Great Southern Railway   Following station
towards East Perth
Indian Pacific Terminus
Central Railway Station
Central station syd1.jpg
Eddy Avenue façade and coach terminus in 2009
Central railway station, Sydney is located in Sydney
Central railway station, Sydney
Location in Greater Metropolitan Sydney
General information
Status Complete
Type Railway station terminus
Architectural style Federation Free Classical
Address Eddy Avenue, Haymarket, Sydney, New South Wales
Country Australia
Coordinates 33°52′57″S 151°12′24″E / 33.88250°S 151.20667°E / -33.88250; 151.20667
Construction started 1901
Completed 1906 (1906)
Opened 5 August 1906 (1906-08-05)
Inaugurated 4 August 1906 (1906-08-04)
Renovated January 1979, 1915 (1915-1921-1979)
Client New South Wales Railways
Owner Government of New South Wales
Tip 85.6 metres (281 ft) AHD
Technical details
Design and construction
Architect Walter Liberty Vernon (1901-06)
Architecture firm New South Wales Government Architect
Developer Government of New South Wales
Engineer Henry Deane (Engineer in Chief of the New South Wales Government Railways)
Services engineer Dr John Bradfield (rail engineering)
Other designers Fairfax & Roberts (clock tower)
Main contractor NSW Department of Public Works
Official name Central Railway Station, Eddy Av, Haymarket, NSW, Australia
Type Historic
Designated 21 March 1978
Reference no. 2196
Official name Central Railway Station
Type Built
Criteria a., b., c., d., e., f., g.
Designated 2009
Part of Central Railway Station and Sydney Terminal Group
Reference no. SRA s.170 Register

The Central railway station is a railway station located at the southern end of the central business district in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Often abbreviated as Central or Central station, the station is the largest and busiest railway station in New South Wales. It services almost all of the lines on the Sydney Trains network, and is the major terminus for NSW TrainLink services. Actual patronage was 11.35 million passenger movements in 2013.

Central station occupies a large city block separating Haymarket, Surry Hills, and the central business district, bounded by Railway Square and Pitt Street in the west, Eddy Avenue in the north, Elizabeth Street in the east and the Devonshire Street Tunnel in the south.


Central station was built on land previously occupied by the Devonshire Street Cemetery.
Laying the foundation stone for Central Station in 1903
A milk bar inside Central station, circa 1947
1906 Central station Indicator Board on display at the Powerhouse Museum
Eastward view of the Grand Concourse in 2017

There have been three terminal stations in Sydney. The original Sydney station was opened on 26 September 1855 in an area known as Cleveland Fields. This station (one wooden platform in a corrugated iron shed), called Sydney Terminal, had Devonshire Street as its northern boundary.[3] It was frequently but unofficially called Redfern station,[5] while at that time the present Redfern station was officially called Eveleigh.[6] It should be noted that these first and second Sydney Terminals were never actually located in Redfern, being to the north of Cleveland Street which is Redfern's northern boundary.

When this station became inadequate for the traffic it carried, a new station was built in 1874 on the same site and also called Sydney Terminal. This was a brick building with two platforms. It grew to 14 platforms before it was replaced by the present-day station to the north of Devonshire Street. The new station was built on a site previously occupied by the Devonshire Street Cemetery,[7] a convent, a female refuge, a police barracks, a parsonage, and a Benevolent Society. The remains exhumed from the cemetery were re-interred at several other Sydney cemeteries including Rookwood and Waverley cemeteries. Bodies were moved to Botany by steam tram motors and flat cars.[3]

The present station was officially opened on 4 August 1906 and opening for passengers on 5 August 1906.[8] The new station included the previous Mortuary railway station used to transport funeral parties to Rookwood Cemetery.[2] The last train departed platform 5 of the 1874 station at midnight. During the remainder of that night, the passenger concourse was demolished and the line extended through the old station into the new station. The Western Mail arrived at 05:50 on 5 August 1906 at the new station.[9] Devonshire Street, which separated the two stations, became a pedestrian underpass to allow people to cross the railway line and is now known by many as the Devonshire Street Tunnel.[3]

An 85.6-metre-tall (281 ft)[3] clock tower in the Free Classical style was added at the north-western corner of the station, opening on 3 March 1921. The clock was designed by Richard Lamb and Alfred Fairfax, the co-founders of Fairfax & Roberts. Central station was designed by the Government Architect, Walter Liberty Vernon. As it was being built, it was reported that "Everything in connection with the new station appears to have been designed on a grand scale, from the great elevated approaches down to the system of handling luggage underground."[10] It is listed on the NSW State Heritage Register[1][2] and the now defunct Register of the National Estate.[11]

A riot, dubbed the Battle of Central Station, took place in 1916. Soldiers rebelling against camp conditions had raided hotels in Liverpool and travelled to the city by commandeered trains. Upon arrival at Central station, the rioters set about destroying the station facilities, and fire was exchanged between rampaging rioters and military police. One rioter was shot dead and several were injured. The only remaining evidence of the gun battle is a small bullet-hole in the marble by the entrance to platform 1.[12] This incident had a direct influence on the introduction of 6 o'clock closing of hotels in 1916, which lasted in New South Wales until 1955.[3]

Station configuration[edit]

The station opened on 5 August 1906 with 11 platforms, but was soon expanded to 15, and by 1913 had 19.[13] This section is dominated by a large vaulted roof over the concourse and elaborate masonry, primarily Sydney sandstone.

As part of the construction of the electrified city railway in the 1920s, a new Central station was built. The existing station was cut back to 15 platforms with new platforms 16 to 23 built on the station's eastern side and a six-track bridge paralleling Elizabeth Street to Goulburn Street built to the north. South of the new platforms, a series of flying junctions were built. This involved the four southbound tracks passing beneath the northbound tracks with a series of diamond crossings allowing trains to cross lines without impeding trains traveling in the opposite direction.[13]

As part of the project, platforms 10 to 15 were electrified, with platforms 1 to 9 following in 1956.[13][14]

To the west of Platform 1 there was a siding leading to two dock platforms for use of mail trains, now cut back to serve a motorail loading ramp for the Indian Pacific. The space were where the mail sidings is now a Youth Hostels Association hostel named the Sydney Railway Square YHA. The hostel rooms are modelled on old train carriages.[15]

Carriage sheds to the south of Platform 15 were demolished in the 1986 as were the sheds to the west of Platform 1 in 1999.[16][17]

In February 1926, Platform 18 and 19 of the steam station were wired for electric trains with a demonstration run from Sydney to Hurstville. This wiring was transferred to Platforms 21 and 23 and Platforms 14 and 15 were wired for Bankstown electric train services commencing October 1926 and later worked into St James. As the Homebush electrification was completed, Platforms 17 and 18 were wired. Electric trains to Hornsby via the main line commenced on 21 January 1929. Trains to Hornsby used Platforms 16 and 18. Steam services to Parramatta and Liverpool were converted to electric in November 1929. Western electric trains began operating through to Wynyard from 28 February 1932.[18]

The eastern ("suburban") part of the station, consists of 10 through platforms, all aligned north-south, two of which are underground. These are used by suburban Sydney Trains services and by a limited number of NSW TrainLink intercity services during peak hours. The eight above-ground platforms were opened in 1926 as part of a large electrification and modernisation program aimed at improving Sydney's suburban railway services. Prince Alfred sidings, south of Platform 23, were used to stable electric trains until closed in August 1995 and later demolished to make way for the Airport line.[19]

The two underground platforms were built as part of the Eastern Suburbs Railway. Construction commenced in 1948 but the line was not finished until 1979. While the plans called for four platforms, two (for the Southern Suburbs line) were found to be not needed and are used for archival storage by the New South Wales Railways.

In 2017, construction is scheduled to commence on two underground platforms as part of the Sydney Metro City & Southwest. These will be built beneath platforms 13-15.[20]

Platforms and services[edit]

Platform 20 and 21 at Central Station in 2013

Central serves all Sydney suburban lines except for the Cumberland and Carlingford lines (except for a once-a-day service). All long-distance NSW TrainLink XPT and Xplorer services and the Great Southern Rail Indian Pacific terminate at Central. These generally use Platforms 1 to 3, although when the Indian Pacific is in the station occupying both Platforms 2 and 3, some NSW TrainLink regional services use Platforms 4 to 6.

The platforms are numbered from 1 to 25, with 1 being the westernmost platform and 25 being one of the easternmost. The services which generally use each platform are listed below.

Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink services:

Platform Line Stopping pattern Notes
1 to 3 services to Grafton, Casino & Brisbane Platforms 1 to 15 are terminal platforms[21]
services to Armidale & Moree [22]
services to Canberra, Griffith & Melbourne [23]
services to Dubbo & Broken Hill [24]
Indian Pacific services to Perth via Broken Hill & Adelaide [25]
4 to 15
services to Gosford, Wyong & Newcastle via Strathfield [26]
services to Springwood, Katoomba, Mount Victoria, Lithgow & Bathurst [27]
services to Kiama Weekdays only between Central and Bondi Junction[28]
evening peak services to Moss Vale & Goulburn [29]
special event services to Olympic Park [30]
services to Berowra via Gordon
services to Hornsby via Macquarie University or Gordon
evening peak services to Gosford, Wyong & Newcastle via Gordon [26]
services to the City Circle via Town Hall [32]
services to the City Circle via Town Hall [33]
services to Epping, Richmond & Emu Plains
late night weekend services to Hornsby via Strathfield
one weekday service to Springwood [27]
services to Homebush
services to Leppington & Campbelltown via Granville
limited evening peak services extend to Macarthur via Granville
services to the City Circle via Museum [33]
services to the City Circle via Museum [36]
evening peak services to Macarthur via Sydenham & East Hills [32]
services to Lidcombe & Liverpool via Bankstown [33]
services to Kingsgrove, Revesby, Campbelltown & Macarthur via the Airport [32]
services to Bondi Junction [37]
services to Bondi Junction [28]
services to Cronulla & Waterfall via Hurstville
one afternoon service extends to Helensburgh
services to Wollongong, Port Kembla, Dapto & Kiama [28]
26 & 27 Never completed[38] used only for archival document storage[39]
Never completed[38] used only for archival document storage[39]

Indicator board[edit]

When opened, Central station had an indicator board with 22 vertical panels. It was replaced in June 1982 by computer screens with the original indicator board conserved by the Powerhouse Museum.[40] In June 2015, a new elevated 11-metre-long (36 ft) indicator board was installed on the main concourse on the same standstone base as the original board.[41]


Diagram of track layout at the suburban section of the station, there are seven grade separations in the Flying junctions, plus one unused one

Transport links[edit]

Light rail[edit]

A light rail vehicle at Central

Central is the eastern terminus of the Dulwich Hill Line that operates to Chinatown, Darling Harbour, Pyrmont and the inner western suburbs. The light rail stop is in an outside concourse area, near the main waiting area and departure hall. This area was originally designed for trams, and as such was used by trams until 1958, when the service was withdrawn. It was known as Railway Colonnade. Light rail services operate in a clockwise direction, whereas the trams operated in an anti-clockwise direction.

Construction of the CBD and South East Light Rail line from Circular Quay to Kingsford and Randwick via Central commenced in 2015.[42] Stops will be located at Rawson Place and on Chalmers Street.

Platform Line Stopping pattern Notes
  • All stops to Dulwich Hill
  • Morning services to John Street Square
  • Morning services to Convention
  • Evening services to John Street Square

Bus services[edit]

Many bus services depart from the adjacent Eddy Avenue or from the nearby Elizabeth Street or Railway Square.

Coach services[edit]

Long distance coaches depart from the western forecourt and Pitt Street:

Devonshire Street Tunnel[edit]

After Central was built in 1906, the Devonshire Street Tunnel, to the north of the old station, became an underpass. The underpass allows pedestrians to access the eastern "suburban" section from Railway Square and Chalmers Street.[45] The tunnel connects to The Goods Line–a park and pedestrian pathway to Ultimo and Darling Harbour.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Central Railway Station". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. Retrieved 3 January 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c "Central Railway Station and Sydney Terminal Group". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. Retrieved 3 January 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Central Station - in-depth history". Sydney Trains. Government of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 10 August 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2017. 
  4. ^ "Central Railway Station, Eddy Av, Haymarket, NSW, Australia (Place ID 2196)". Australian Heritage Database. Department of the Environment. 21 March 1978. Retrieved 29 November 2017. 
  5. ^ "Central Railway Station, Sydney - Gallery - State Records NSW". State Records NSW - Digital Gallery. Retrieved 2017-04-13. 
  6. ^ "Atlas of the Suburbs of Sydney - Redfern 1886-1888". dictionaryofsydney.org. Retrieved 2017-04-13. 
  7. ^ "Sydney's Central Station - Now and Then Photos - Sydney". Weekend Notes. 
  8. ^ "The New Central Station". Sydney Morning Herald. Trove, National Library of Australia. 6 August 1906. p. 6. 
  9. ^ Preston, Ronald George (1980). 125 Years of the Sydney to Parramatta Railway. Burwood: The New South Wales Rail Transport Museum. p. 60. ISBN 0-909862-13-3. 
  10. ^ "New Railway Station. An imposing Building". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW: 1842 - 1954). NSW: Trove, National Library of Australia. 2 August 1906. p. 7. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  11. ^ Australian Heritage Commission (1981), The Heritage of Australia: the illustrated register of the National Estate, 2, South Melbourne: The Macmillan Company of Australia in association with the Australian Heritage Commission, p. 108, ISBN 978-0-333-33750-9 
  12. ^ Baker, Jordan (2 August 2006). "The secret life of us — tunnel vision exposed". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  13. ^ a b c "Sydney's Electric Trains from 1926 to 1960". Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin (761): 87, 94, 95 101. March 2001. 
  14. ^ Oakes, John (2002). Sydney's Central. Redfern: Australian Railway Historical Society. p. 53. ISBN 0 909650 56 X. 
  15. ^ "Sydney Railway Square YHA". YHA Australia. 
  16. ^ "Suburban Report". Railway Digest: 344. November 1986. 
  17. ^ "Newsline". Railway Digest: 12. April 1999. 
  18. ^ "Unknown". ARHS Bulletin. 56: 3. 1942. 
  19. ^ "CityRail's New Timetable". Railway Digest: 13. August 1995. 
  20. ^ Central Station Sydney Metro. Additionally, platform 15 has had tracks removed and is currently fenced off, being officially booked out of use.
  21. ^ "North Coast timetable" (PDF). NSW Trainlink. 20 October 2013 [Updated 6 April 2014]. 
  22. ^ "North Coast timetable" (PDF). NSW Trainlink. 20 October 2013 [Updated 6 April 2014]. 
  23. ^ "Southern timetable" (PDF). NSW Trainlink. 20 October 2013 [Updated 30 June 2014]. 
  24. ^ "Western timetable" (PDF). NSW Trainlink. 20 October 2013 [Updated 15 June 2013]. 
  25. ^ "Indian Pacific timetable". Great Southern Rail. 2 August 2015. 
  26. ^ a b "Central Coast & Newcastle line timetable" (PDF). NSW Trainlink. 5 January 2015. 
  27. ^ a b "Blue Mountains line timetable" (PDF). NSW Trainlink. 20 October 2013 [amended January 2015]. 
  28. ^ a b c "South Coast line timetable" (PDF). NSW Trainlink. 20 October 2013 [amended February 2015]. 
  29. ^ "Southern Highlands line timetable" (PDF). NSW Trainlink. 18 April 2015. 
  30. ^ "T7: Olympic Park line timetable" (PDF). Sydney Trains. 20 October 2013 [amended January 2015]. 
  31. ^ "T1: North Shore & Northern line timetable" (PDF). Sydney Trains. 20 October 2013 [amended February 2015]. 
  32. ^ a b c "T2: Airport line timetable" (PDF). Sydney Trains. 20 October 2013 [amended January 2015]. 
  33. ^ a b c "T3: Bankstown line timetable" (PDF). Sydney Trains. 20 October 2013 [amended January 2015]. 
  34. ^ "T1: Northern line timetable" (PDF). Sydney Trains. 20 October 2013 [amended February 2015]. 
  35. ^ "T1: Western line timetable" (PDF). Sydney Trains. 20 October 2013 [amended January 2015]. 
  36. ^ a b "T2: Inner West & South line timetable" (PDF). Sydney Trains. 13 December 2015. 
  37. ^ a b "T4: Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra line timetable" (PDF). Sydney Trains. 20 October 2013 [amended January 2015]. 
  38. ^ a b In search of platforms 26 and 27: Central station’s mysterious underground world Daily Telegraph 30 October 2014
  39. ^ a b David Johnson's Sydney Underground Photos
  40. ^ Central Station indicator board Powerhouse Museum
  41. ^ "Opal takes centre stage at Central". Transport for NSW. 29 June 2015. 
  42. ^ CBD & South East Light Rail Project Transport for New South Wales April 2013
  43. ^ Timetables Archived 30 March 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Firefly retrieved 5 April 2015.
  44. ^ Australian timetables Premier Transport Group
  45. ^ Tunnelling Through the Past Sydney Architecture

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]