Central railway station, Sydney

Central Railway Station (also known as Sydney Terminal) is the largest railway station in Sydney. It is located on the southern end of the Sydney CBD. It services almost all of the lines on the CityRail network, and is the major terminus for interurban and interstate rail services. Central Station houses the operations of New South Wales Railways and is located at the southern edge of the Sydney Central Business District. Central sits beside Railway Square and is officially located in Haymarket. Central is the station closest to the University of Technology Sydney at Broadway.


There have been three stations on the current site. 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), which was known at the time as Redfern, had Devonshire Street as its 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 was known as Redfern. 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, a convent, a female refuge, a police barracks, a parsonage and a Benevolent Society. The remains exhumed from the cemetery were re-interred at a number of other Sydney cemeteries including Rookwood Cemetery and Waverley Cemetery. The new 15-platform station was opened on 4 August 1906 and included the previous Mortuary Station designed to transport funerals to Rookwood Cemetery. The 1906 building is still in use as the main Sydney train terminal.

The last train departed platform 5 of the old Sydney 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 train that arrived in Sydney at 5:50am on 5 August 1906 went straight into the new station. 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 St Tunnel. Sydney station has expanded since 1906 in an easterly direction. A 75-metre clock tower in the Free Classical style was added at the north-western corner of the station, opened in 3 March 1921.

A riot begun by discontented troops took place at the station in 1916. During the "Battle of Central", one man died and several were injured. The only evidence remaining is a small bullet-hole in the marble by the entrance to platform 1.

Central Station celebrated its 100 years of service anniversary on 5 August 2006.

Station configuration

In attempting to describe Sydney's Central Station as it stands currently, it is probably better to think of the station as two separate, but adjacent, railway stations. In the days of steam, the station was regarded as being divided into "steam" and "electric" parts.

The western ("steam") half of Central Station, which is known as Sydney Terminal comprises 15 terminal platforms and was opened in 1906. This section is dominated by a large vaulted roof over the concourse and elaborate masonry composed primarily of sandstone, the most common rock in the Sydney region. This western section is popularly known as the country platforms, even though only four platforms are commonly used for long-distance trains. Most of the 15 platforms are used for terminating CityRail's intercity services..

To the west of Platform 1, there was previously a siding leading to two dock platforms for use of mail trains. This siding has been cut back to serve a car loading ramp for the Indian Pacific. The space where the mail sidings were is now a Youth Hostel. The hostel rooms are modelled on old train carriages.

The eastern ("suburban" or "electric") part of Central Station, formerly known as 'Central Electric', consists of 12 through platforms, four of which are underground. These platforms are used by suburban CityRail services, and by a limited number of through 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.

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

Service and platforms

Central Station currently serves all suburban lines except for the Cumberland Line, and all intercity lines except for the Hunter Line. All long-distance rural and interstate passenger trains operated by the State-owned CountryLink and the famous Indian Pacific, the twice-weekly train between Sydney and Perth, Western Australia, terminate at Central.

The platforms at Sydney's Central Station are numbered from 1 to 27, with 1 being the westernmost platform and 27 being one of the easternmost. The services which generally use each platform are listed below.

Platforms 1-3:

Platforms 4 - 15:

Platform 16:

  • North Shore Line - all stations and limited stops services to Lindfield, Gordon, Hornsby and Berowra. Peak hour intercity services to Wyong via the North Shore line.

Platform 17:

Platform 18:

  • Northern Line - all stations and limited stops services to Eastwood and Hornsby via Strathfield.
  • Western Line - all stations and limited stops services to Blacktown, Riverstone, Richmond, Penrith and Emu Plains.
  • Blue Mountains Line - peak hour intercity services to Springwood.

Platform 19:

  • Inner West Line - all stations and limited stops services to Ashfield, Cabramatta and Liverpool via Regent's Park.
  • South Line - all stations and limited stops services to Glenfield and Campbelltown via Lidcombe.

Platform 20:

Platform 21:

Platform 22:

  • Bankstown Line - all stations services to Bankstown, Lidcombe and Liverpool via Sydenham.
  • Airport & East Hills Line - peak hour express services to Campbelltown and Macarthur via Sydenham and East Hills.

Platform 23:

  • Airport & East Hills Line - all stations and limited stops services to Kingsgrove, East Hills, Glenfield, Campbelltown and Macarthur via the Airport.

Platform 24 (underground):

Platform 25 (underground):

Platforms 26 & 27 (underground):

  • Located directly above Platforms 24 and 25, these platforms have never been used by rail traffic. They were formerly used as archival storage, but are now empty. There was a concept in the early 1990s to use them for the proposed Very Fast Train to Melbourne which did not come to fruition, they may however be used for the proposed Redfern to Chatswood Rail Link.

Light rail

Central station is also the location for the Central light rail station, the eastern terminus of the Metro Light Rail line in Sydney, which runs for 7.2km between the station and the terminus, Lilyfield light rail stop. It is the only station on the light rail line at present where transfer to CityRail services is possible.

The light rail stop is located in an outside concourse area of Central station, located near to the main waiting area and departure hall. (This area was originally designed for trams, and was used by such until 1958, after which the service was withdrawn. It was known as "Railway Colonnade" in the original tramway system.) It allows easy transfer from train services to Chinatown, the Darling Harbour precinct, Pyrmont and some of the inner western suburbs. A TramLink card was made available by Metro Transport and Cityrail to facilitate these transfers through the purchase of one ticket on both systems.

Bus & coach services

Many major bus services depart from adjacent Eddy Avenue, Chalmers Street or from Railway Square on George Street, accessible through the Devonshire Street Tunnel, which crosses directly under the rail station from the suburban lines. Long-distance road coaches also terminate in Sydney at Central Station on Eddy Avenue. Public bus services also depart from Chalmers Street, such as replacement services for CityRail trains due to track work, or free shuttle services to special events, like rugby or cricket.

Students that alight from Central station to travel to the University of New South Wales board buses at Stand D on Eddy Avenue to go to the university, and arrive on the station side of Eddy Avenue on the return trip at Central. Express Buses (Route 891) to the University of New South Wales arrive approximately every 2 minutes during morning peak hours, with decreasing frequency in off peak hours.

Bus Services

Beyond the railway station is the Sydney Buses Central station (Eddy Avenue) and Railway Square (George Street) terminus. A large number of Sydney Buses services originate from this stop. They are:

Railway Square (George Street)

Stand A (Eastern Suburbs Services):

  • 305 - to Mascot - (O`Riordan Street near Baxter Road).
  • 311 - to Circular Quay - (Young Street Set Down).
  • 372 - to Coogee - (Arden Street near Dolphin Street).
  • 378 - to Bronte Beach - (Bronte Beach Terminus).
  • 393 - to Little Bay - (Anzac Parade near Little Bay Road).
  • 395 - to Maroubra Beach - (Maroubra Beach Set Down Only).

Stand B(Northern Beaches Services):

  • E86 - to Church Point - (Mccarrs Creek Terminus).
  • E87 - to Newport - (Seaview Avenue near Robertson Road).
  • L88 - to Avalon - (Carreel Head Road near Burrawong Road).
  • E88 - to Avalon - (Barrenjoey Road near Careel Head Road).
  • E89 - to Avalon - (Barrenjoey Road near Avalon Pde).
  • L90 - to Palm Beach - (Ocean Pl near Ocean Road).

Stand C (Inner West Services):

Stand D (South West Services):

  • 412 - to Campsie - (South Parade).
  • 413 - to Campsie - (Beamish Street near North Parade).
  • 431 - to Glebe Point - (Federal Road Terminus).
  • 432 - to Birchgrove - (Grove Street Terminus).
  • 433 - to Balmain - (Darling Street near Curtis Road).
  • 434 - to Balmain - (Darling Street near Curtis Road).
  • 435 - to Leichhardt - (Derbyshire Road near Leichhardt Bus Depot).
  • 436 - to Chiswick - (Blackwall Point Rd & Bortfield Dr).
  • 437 - to Five Dock - (First Ave & Great North Road).
  • 438 - to Abbotsford - (Great North Road & The Terrace).
  • L38 - to Abbotsford (Great North Road & The Terrace).
  • 440 - to Rozelle - (Terry Street near Victoria Road).
  • L40 - to Rozelle - (Terry Street near Victoria Road).
  • 461 - to Burwood - (Railway Parade near Burwood Plaza).

Central Station (Eddy Avenue)

Stand A:

Stand C:

  • 339 - to Clovelly - (Clovelly Road Terminus).
  • 372 - to Coogee - (Arden Street near Dolphin Street).
  • 374 - to Coogee - (Arden Street near Dolphin Street).
  • 376 - to Maroubra Beach - (Maroubra Beach Set Down Only).
  • 391 - to Port Botany - (Port Botany Terminus); to La Perouse (Anzac Parade Terminus).
  • 393 - to Little Bay - (Anzac Parade near Little Bay Road).
  • 395 - to Maroubra Beach - (Maroubra Beach Set Down Only).

Stand D:

  • 309 - to Port Botany - (Port Botany Terminus).
  • 310 - to Eastgardens - (Westfields Lower Level Set Down).
  • 891 - to Randwick - (High Street near Botany Street).
  • 892 - to Randwick - (High Street near Botany Street).

Devonshire Street pedestrian tunnel

After the new Central Station terminal was built in 1906, Devonshire Street, which used to lie to the north of the old Central Railway Station, became an underpass. The underpass allows pedestrian traffic to access the eastern "suburban" trains section of the station from Railway Square and Elizabeth Street. This allows passengers to easily access bus routes operating from these streets. The tunnel itself runs perpendicular to the train platforms above.

Image gallery

Neighbouring stations

Country services


City services



See also

External links

Further reading


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