|Physical description: ||See the Conservation Management Plan prepared by Government Architect's Office, June 2013 for detailed inventory sheets of each precinct.
SYDNEY TERMINAL PRECINCT
Main Station Building (1901-1906)
Main Concourse (1906)
Platforms 1-15 (1906)
Underground tunnels and services (1906)
CENTRAL ELECTRIC PRECINCT
Elizabeth St and Eddy Avenue Entrance (1926)
Suburban Platforms 16-23 (1926-32)
Eastern Suburbs Railway (ESR) Platforms 24 and 25 (1979)
Devonshire Street Tunnel (c.1906, 1979)
Disused Tunnels and Platforms (1979)
SYDNEY YARDS PRECINCT
Yard and Modern Structures
Flyover Junctions (1932)
WESTERN YARDS PRECINCT
Parcel Dock (1906)
Rail Sidings and Yard (1906)
Former Parcels Office
PRINCE ALFRED SIDINGS PRECINCT
Former Workshop Office Buildings (c.1870)
Prince Alfred Substation (1926)
Hay Street Underbridge (1923)
Campbell Street Underbridge (1923)
Eddy Avenue Underbridge (1923)
Cleveland Street Overbridge (1891)
SYDNEY TERMINAL PRECINCT
MAIN STATION BUILDING (1901-1906)
The Main Station Building (Sydney Terminal) is a landmark Federation Free Classical building with highly detailed sandstone façade, colonnades, columns and arcades on the exterior, with the use of bricks, decorative steel, iron and sandstone for the internal spaces providing fine visual transitions between the public spaces. The building comprises a sandstone colonnade and porte cochere, which originally provided an undercover area for passengers transferring to and from trams and is now used for the Metro Light Rail. The terminus itself forms a U shaped block fronting Eddy Avenue, Pitt Street and the electric city rail lines to the east. The Pitt Street frontage is a long sandstone arched colonnade containing shops and offices, driveway entry into the loading docks of the station and a vehicle entry ramp driveway to the main passenger pick up and set down entrance to the station. The central section (facing Eddy Avenue) of five stories, including Eddy Avenue shop fronts and colonnade, tramway entrance and three stories of offices. This is flanked by two four storey wings. The interiors feature marble and terrazzo stairs, decorative balustrades and banisters, and stained and etched glass panels. Offices in the main building have been recently refurbished and are of modern design and fit out.
Sydney Terminal is a high level, main line rail terminal. It’s elevated siting permits the use of the topography to gain road access to more than one level enabling the development of an extensive subterranean luggage network and separation of differing modes of transport. The commanding position of the terminus with large areas of open space sloping away from the building continues the public domain of Railway Square whilst maintaining a clear vista of the terminus from the square. The terminus creates a formal edge to Railway Square.
Above the northwest corner is the Central Railway Station Clock tower which reaches 85.6 metres above street level. The clock has four faces, each 4.77 metres in diameter, with minute hands 2.1 metres long. The tower is essentially hollow to the clock level with a staircase of 272 steps giving access.
MAIN CONCOURSE (1906)
The main assembly concourse is the centre of the terminus, around which all of the ancillary functions, such as refreshment rooms, waiting rooms and the booking hall were arranged. This concourse is accessed from both the east and west decks. The concourse has a high domed ceiling with exposed curved truss supports with aluminium and fibreglass roof sheeting, while the concourse is tiled with terrazzo tiles. The truss supports also hold a large station clock. The concourse is an open plan area, with new information booth and ticket facilities (c2000) located approximately in the middle.
The northern side wall of the concourse is of brick and sandstone with arched openings to shops and offices and two pedestrian arch walkways to the light rail station and Eddy Avenue access. The concourse also contains a heritage centre in the converted main booking office with decorative ceilings, railway offices, a number of cafes and small fast food restaurants, a newsagent and a bar area. These are located in the former refreshment rooms and retain the moulded ceilings and carved mural of Australian historic and railway scenes around the top panel of the walls. A small inlaid clock is positioned above the north door inside the refreshment rooms. The Station Managers office is located close to the entrance to the platforms in the southeast corner of the concourse.
The southern side of the concourse is open to the platforms and is fringed with a decorative iron lattice work grille on top of iron columns.
PLATFORMS 1-15 (1906)
Sydney Terminal now contains seven double platforms and one single platform, each with an awning, servicing a total of 15 tracks. Platforms 1-3 are for country and interstate services, while the remainder are for inter-urban services. The platforms run perpendicular to the main station concourse and all are dead end with the buffer stop.
Platforms 1-15 are brick with tiled surface, and corbelled coping of brick and tile.
Platforms 1-3 were extended in 1962, and are covered with relatively recent awnings (c1990s) supported with steel columns. Platforms 4-15 are covered with gabled ended awnings (c1920s) with exposed steel lattice trusses supported with hardwood timber columns.
Platforms 1-10 have a centre run-round track which was for locomotive-hauled trains. It enabled the locomotive to uncouple from its train and either depart or re-couple on the other end to pull the train to the next destination. These centre lines are now used for storage of electric rail car sets in off-peak times. There are long timber-framed awnings over some of the platforms (incorporating Howe trusses). Timber was used in lieu of steel because of the high cost of importing steel at the time of the awnings' construction.
The only locomotive-hauled trains now using Sydney Terminal are the Indian Pacific and special trains which usually use Platform 1. Platform 1 has always been the main out-of-Sydney station with the longest platform. Platforms 1, 2 and 3 were lengthened to their present lengths in 1962 (covering the skylights to the Devonshire Street subway) for diesel hauled trains.
To the west of the southern end of Platform 1 is the Inwards Parcel Office. This was the loading dock for parcels and mail which was loaded via a tunnel from the post office. This was converted for use as a backpacker hostel in 2000. The eastern external wall of this building forms the edge of the platform area.
UNDERGROUND TUNNELS AND SERVICES (1906)
The subterranean levels are criss-crossed with service and pedestrian tunnels that provide access to platforms above, offices, maintenance depots, kitchens and loading docks. Some of these were upgraded and lined for pedestrian usage for the 2000 Sydney Olympics; others remain as service tunnels with services and lines exposed. The design of the station to allow separate pedestrian, train, tram and vehicle movements, as well as the extensive underground system of tunnels and subways to transport luggage, mail and other items without interference in the public space is all part of the complex design of the station to ensure smooth and safe operation.
CENTRAL ELECTRIC PRECINCT
The Central electric system runs near to the eastern boundary of the entire site.
ELIZABETH ST AND EDDY AVENUE ENTRANCE (1926)
There are two major pedestrian entrances to the Central Electric Precinct: one at Elizabeth Street and one at the top of the Eddy Avenue ramp. Both are constructed of Maroubra sandstone with classical detailing.
SUBURBAN PLATFORMS 16-23 (1926-32)
At the northern end of the precinct, six tracks leave the underground tunnels near Goulburn Street and pass over Hay and Campbell Streets and Eddy Avenue where they enter the platform area. The four platforms allow eight trains to use the station, four trains in each direction. The platforms are covered with gabled awnings from the 1920s supported with steel columns and with exposed steel trusses. Platforms 16-23 are brick with tile surface and corbelled tile coping.
EASTERN SUBURBS RAILWAY (ESR) PLATFORMS 24 AND 25 (1979)
The ESR occupies Platforms 24 and 25. They comprise an island platform accessed via two banks of two escalators (original) or stairs. The platforms are open at each end with the platform office located in the centre area. The platform is tiled with small white tiles with concrete columns tiled in dark green. Elements of platform tiling and signage are original. Platforms are reinforced concrete cast in situ with concrete cantilever coping.
DEVONSHIRE STREET TUNNEL (c.1906, 1979)
Access to the southern end of the station is via the Devonshire Street tunnel, a long pedestrian tunnel which extends between George Street and Elizabeth Street. The tunnel is tiled with digital print murals of railway history and scenes on panels along its length. The Elizabeth Street entrance includes a ticket booking office, ticketing machines, newsagent and take away food outlets.
DISUSED TUNNELS AND PLATFORMS (1979)
Above the ESR platforms are two disused or 'ghost' platforms which were constructed as part of the ESR project but never completed. These platforms are bare concrete and include tunnel openings and areas for installation of office space or equipment. They are not open to the public.
SYDNEY YARDS PRECINCT
YARD AND MODERN STRUCTURES
The Sydney Yard Precinct is located south of the Devonshire Street tunnel extending to the Cleveland Street Bridge and between the Central electric precinct and the Western Yard precinct. The track layout to platforms 1-15 has remained virtually unchanged since it was originally laid out in 1906.
Major items from the Sydney Yard's period as a steam locomotive-hauled train yard have been removed. These items included the eastern carriage shed, coal stages and engine docks at the head of each platform. Ash pits and water columns that were part of the yard have also been removed.
There is only one "yard controller" remaining within the Sydney Yard Precinct. It is a small two storey brick building located at the southern end of the yard approximately 100 metres from the southern end of Platform 8/9, close to the junction of the former Darling Harbour Goods line. The building, which dates from the c1960s, was not inspected internally during this study (2009). Previously, at least two signal boxes would have been located in the yard at any one time, but these have been removed due to the mechanical interlocking system being computerised and pneumatically operated.
The yard buildings have been altered significantly since the eastern carriage shed was demolished. This large shed divided the central yard from the central electric lines. The land where the shed once stood is vacant and the only remaining structures adding to this division of the yard are the cleaners amenities, a four wing (the two centre wings were extended to the west post 1943) two storey gabled office building with iron roof and timber double hung sash windows and the former timetable office, a two storey c1960s brick office now used as the Train Crew Superintendent Office and its associated garden. These buildings were not inspected internally for this study.
The rail yard connects to the passenger platforms of Sydney Terminal which are as originally designed and built, with the infrastructure for steam locomotives having been removed (these being water columns between each track near the buffers).
The status of the communications tunnel under the yard (c.1906) is unconfirmed.
FLYOVER JUNCTIONS (1932)
The flyover junctions are two levels of railway tracks between Cleveland Street and Central electric station. The city-bound (Up) tracks are on the top level and the outbound (Down) tracks are on the lower level. By a system of carefully located brick piers and supporting steel beams, the upper-level city-bound trains can change tracks across the full width of this elevated railway, moving transversely (sideways) west to east and vice versa using cross-overs. A similar arrangement on the lower (ground) level enables outbound trains to do likewise, independently of train movements above. The structure supporting the upper level is of simple construction: a series of brick piers carrying simply supported steel beams or girders, some encased in concrete, others with jack arches between, so as to form a ballasted running deck for the Up trains. The Down trains run on an excavated bed and weave their way through the brick piers.
WESTERN YARD PRECINCT
PARCEL DOCK (1906)
The Parcel Dock is physically connected with the main station complex and has four platforms. The use of rail transportation for parcel delivery has declined considerably. These platform sidings are still in use for temporary portable offices mounted on rail flat cars. The sidings closest to platform 1 are used for the loading of automobiles for the Indian Pacific.
RAIL SIDINGS AND YARD (1906)
The Western Rail Yard precinct is an area that is west of the No. 1 main line extending to the Regent Street boundary, Devonshire Street subway and Cleveland Street Bridge. The track layout of this yard has remained virtually unchanged since 1906.
The rail sidings that take up the bulk of the land area were known as the Botany Road yards. These siding lines are still in service but are seldom used. A branch line cuts through the precinct providing access to the Darling Harbour Goods Yard. The underpass and overbridge date from 1855 and are subject to a separate listing (No. 4801079).
The yard was designed for locomotive-hauled trains. As this technology has gone out of use except for the Indian Pacific and special trains the yard has little present functional use. With locomotive-hauled trains the train was marshalled for running in one direction. It has the locomotive at the head of the train and a brake van near the rear. This meant that after a journey, trains had to be remarshalled before commencing their journey out of Sydney Station. (Today's trains with driving positions at both ends of the train do not require this process.) As the station originally handled locomotive-hauled passenger trains for suburban, country and interstate services this activity was considerable. Most of the steam loco facilities and trackwork has been removed. The decline in shunting and the removal of coal and water storage has seen a reduction in the level of activity and associated infrastructure in the yard.
The former West Carriage Shed was demolished c1999-2000 to make way for new office buildings and an associated plaza. It had been the last remaining carriage shed at Central Station. A number of other buildings and structures associated with the Western Yard were demolished at this time, including an elevated water tank and water column, a series of brick sheds and offices and amenities blocks. These are covered in detail in Rod Howard Heritage Consultants Pty Ltd report on the redevelopment of Henry Deane Park undertaken for Australand in February 1998.
Although it has progressed through various configurations, the landscape has maintained the same ground level since 1856 with its final layout being enlarged in 1906 by the removal of some houses and the realignment of Regent Street to its present format.
PRINCE ALFRED SIDINGS PRECINCT
The Prince Alfred sidings are on the eastern perimeter of the site, making up the boundary with Prince Alfred Park. Prior to the construction of the electric lines the yard was a goods yard containing produce and goods sheds as well as the first carriage shed. The sidings area is now largely used for car parking. The tunnel portal for the airport line is located in the southern section of this sidings area. With the construction of the airport line saw the demolition of most of the remaining workshops in this area.
A number of mature trees are growing on the boundary, the largest being a Moreton Bay fig which is at least 80 years old.
FORMER WORKSHOP OFFICE BUILDINGS (c.1870)
Only the former District Engineer's Office, restored and used as offices and Former Draughtsman's Office, vacant and boarded up, remain in the sidings area. A retaining wall forms the boundary with Prince Alfred Park. The retaining wall has been incorporated into the rear wall of the blacksmiths workshops.
PRINCE ALFRED SUBSTATION (1926)
The electric substation and switching house is part of the 1926 electrification works and is linked with the substation at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The substation is a three storey brick building with steel framed windows (the eastern façade windows now bricked in), it has reinforced concrete floors with rendered brick walls and steel stairways. All original machinery was reported removed prior to 1988. The substation includes air compressors for the operation of pneumatic points within the yard and the City Circle lines. The switching house is a similar design, being brick of two storeys with flat roof with a gantry walkway along its eastern façade allowing access to office space. Neither was inspected internally as part of this study.
HAY STREET UNDERBRIDGE (1923)
The Hay Street Underbridge is a stone and reinforced concrete single span, barrel, elliptical arch of clear span 24.86 metres (81.5 feet). Designed by engineering staff, Way and Works Branch, NSWGR and built by Metropolitan Railway Construction Branch in 1923.
CAMPBELL STREET UNDERBRIDGE (1923)
The Campbell Street Underbridge is a single stone and reinforced-concrete span, barrel, elliptical arch of clear span 15.25 m (50 feet) built in 1923 as part of the city underground system.
EDDY AVE UNDERBRIDGE (1923)
A wide reinforced concrete beam and slab bridge in which the parallel ribs have their soffits curved to simulate arches but there is no arch construction or action, it is purely an architectural treatment. There are three main spans of 13.9 m (45.5 feet). The central span was originally used by trams turning to and from Elizabeth Street, flanked by one-way roads then footway spans of 4 metres (13 feet). Designed by engineering staff, Way and Works Branch, NSWGR and built by Metropolitan Railway Construction Branch in 1923.
Eddy Ave Steel tram underbridge is a riveted-steel plate girder underbridge with decorative iron balustrades. The underbridge is set on stone piers and is approached from the north by a ramp through Belmore Park.
CLEVELAND STREET OVERBRIDGE (1891)
Defining the southern limits of the Central Station precinct is the Cleveland Street Overbridge. The structure is a six span overbridge comprised of: Spans 1 - 4 are 8.8m span brick arches; Span 5 is an 8.8m brick and jack arch; Span 6 is a 15.2m jack arch. All original spans have been extended with PSC girders. The bridge is excluded from the listing.
Central Railway Station Group is a landmark feature on the southern boundary of the city and has a number of landscape features associated with it. As part of the development of between 1901 and 1906 of Central Railway Station, and due to its elevated position, a series of large sandstone retaining walls were constructed along Pitt Street and Elizabeth Street, which also acted to carry tram lines and the electric city underground line. The retaining walls act as visual boundaries to the main Station building and are important elements of the Station group design. The retaining walls enclose Belmore Park which lies directly north of Central Railway Station across Eddy Avenue. Belmore Park is a medium sized urban park, covering one city block, with pedestrian pathways, exotic and native plantings, large lawn areas and public shelters and a rotunda. It is often used for small festivals and public events. Although the Park is a separate element to Central Railway Station, its location in front of the Station acts as an important approach way to Central and is part of the wider landscape of the railway precinct.
On the western frontage is a small formal garden that sits adjacent to the vehicle ramp near Railway Square. Although this has been a larger more prominent feature of the station entrance in the past, it is currently a small lawn and garden space. The space is enclosed with a sandstone boundary fence with decorative iron palisade uprights and heavy iron link chain. Two sandstone columns are also set within the wall, one marking the southern entry to the garden, the other set in the middle of the western side of the low wall. The garden is divided by a curved bitumen path through the centre. To the east a number of mature trees are set along the boundary towards the northern end, while to the south the area is a lawn with a small formal garden planting with flowers. A small memorial to 'Donna' a hearing guide dog is located in the eastern section. This consists of a sandstone plinth with brass dogs head statue.
The following list is not exhaustive. Movable objects at Central Station include but are not limited to the following:
Signage throughout the station
Clocks throughout the station
490 Pitt Street – set of cast iron Avery weighing scales, NSW coast of arms, white timber picture frame/noticeboard, farmed watercolour “Graph Production Bureau”, framed watercolour commemorating the official opening of NSW/Vic standard gauge 12 April 1962, painted sign “Assistant Staff Superintendent”,
Auction room – Pirelli SRA wall-mounted flip clock, SRA NSW First Aid Box No 68X, two large maroon chub safes, timber-framed NSW TD etched mirror,
Mortuary Station – timber ladder with painted lettering “Return to SM Sydney”
PA Sidings – painted timber sign – “SRA Engineering Operations manager” (in storage)
Platform 1 (Offices) – green Ajax cast iron safe
Platform 1 (Lower corridor) – early wall signs, early set of timber plan drawers, marble fire surround,
Platform 1 (Catering) – Milner 212 cast iron safe, timber key cases and noticeboards, long moulded plastic outdoor bench near entrance
Platform 15 – long yellow mounded plastic outdoor bench, square concrete flower pot, three single blue mounded outdoor benches, several wall-mounted timber noticeboards throughout building, wall-mounted electric bundy clock, timber wall shelves, cast iron fitted sinks, early light fittings, switches and timber mounts, five timber benches, timber-framed wall-mounted SRA etched mirrors; two unframed SRA etched wall mirrors, timber mounted coat hooks, early electrical board, workshop equipment and associated equipment on ground floor, tall timber shelving cabinet on ground floor, ex-carriage vinyl seats used as benches, cleaners equipment in exterior basement and other items in storage,
Platform 15 – “SRA Office of the Train Crew Superintendent Sydney” sign, wall-mounted switches and bundy clock, early light fittings, switches and timber mounts.
ESR room 46 – wall-mounted “NSW Railway Employees” sign
Platform 22 – Timber-framed early line diagram for Central within staff office on platform
Sydney Terminus building, third floor - Train controllers desk (AA15), third floor and doors linking train controllers offices, (AD07)
PA Sidings - very large, wall-mounted paper train network map on the top floor displaying the metropolitan rail system and annotated with information on electrical substations; several wall-mounted SRA flip clocks and Timetic dial clocks.