Adamstown Railway Station Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Adamstown Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Adamstown Railway Station Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: 10 Park Avenue, Adamstown, NSW 2289
Local govt. area: Newcastle


North: the property boundary;South: the property boundary at Park Avenue; East: a line formed by the western edge of the level crossingWest: a line formed by the eastern edge of the shelter on Platform 2.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
10 Park AvenueAdamstownNewcastle  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Adamstown Railway Station has local heritage significance. The opening of the railway station in 1887 was a significant factor in the rapid subdivision and development of the township, which up until that time had been somewhat isolated from the major city of Newcastle. The Adamstown signal box is significant on historic and technical grounds and for its association with the Great Northern Railway and is evocative of many signal boxes designed in the Post-War Functionalist style. The site has technical significance at a local level because both the signal box and footbridge are examples of well documented types of railway structures of this period but with unusual design variations.
Date significance updated: 01 Sep 08
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: New South Wales Department of Railways
Builder/Maker: New South Wales Department of Railways
Physical description: Signal Box, type O (1939)
Footbridge (1952)
Platform 1
Platform 1 Building (c.1980)
Platform 2
Platform 2 Shelter

Adamstown Railway Station is a small suburban station in the outer suburbs of Newcastle. The station group is comprised of a footbridge, signal box, two platforms, a station building and shelter. The station forms a significant precinct in the town, with a level crossing located at the northern end of the station adjacent to the signal box. The station has witnessed the removal of a number of former lines and this is reflected in the large amount of open space that surrounds the site and the large scale of the footbridge.

External: Adamstown Signal Box is a Type O two-storey structure clad on all sides with fibro cement sheeting with horizontal banding and is located at the eastern end of Platform 1 adjacent to the level crossing at St James Road. Three pane sliding windows extend around the upper floor of the building on three sides. Entry to the building is at ground level, with an internal spiral stair leading to the upper floor. The building features a very shallow-pitched gable roof of corrugated cement sheeting with a distinctive semi circular 'vent ridge' that was a hallmark of this type of signal box design. The building is a member of the first significant variation to the O Type signal box design in which the brick basement was replaced by a mixture of fibro and concrete and the internal stairway was altered to a more conventional arrangement. The building sits on a concrete base of approximately 50cm height.

Interior: The interior of the building was not inspected (2009) but it is reported that no signalling equipment remains inside.

Adamstown Station footbridge was a steel structure originally of three bays with four sets of stairs running perpendicular to the bridge. It was altered in 2012 to a single bay with two sets of stairs. The bridge consists of cantilevers resting on platform trestles and supporting shallow beams over the railway tracks where headroom over rolling stock has evidently been an issue of concern, for it appears that the sections spanning the railway tracks have been raised crudely at a later date to accommodate taller rolling stock. The bridge is unique in that although being of steel construction, it features timber handrails with chain wire fencing. The footbridge has no roof covering. Stairs are of precast concrete panels.

Platform 1 is a standard concrete faced platform. Straight side platform. Steel rail post and concrete panel cast in situ.

Platform 1 contains a small brick station building with a flat roof cantilevered to create an awning, which has been variously described as the 'Quasi-Modulor' style of station buildings. The building dates from c.1980.

Platform 2 is a standard concrete faced platform. Convex island platform. Steel rail post and concrete panel cast in situ.

A small steel framed shelter with cantilevered awning exists on Platform 2. Walls are of steel mesh, and an access ramp to the raised concrete floor has recently been installed.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Signal Box - Poor Condition
The exterior of the signal box appears to be in good condition and has been regularly painted. It sits in relatively well maintained grounds. The signal box has been leased to the "Our Town Model H.O. Club" for the past 10 years. Although the interior was unable to be inspected, it is reported that when the club took over the lease all signalling equipment had been removed and the club installed new timber floors, wall lining and cupboards etc.

Footbridge - Moderate Condition

Platform 1 - Good condition

Platform 1 Building - Good Condition

Platform 2 - Good condition

Platform 2 Shelter - Good Condition
Date condition updated:14 May 09
Modifications and dates: 1982: Footbridge raised.
1983: Signal box closed.
c1984: Major upgrading, including total replacement of the original station buildings and platforms. The down relief line was also removed.
2012: Footbridge modified through removal of two outermost bays and two staircases.
Current use: Railway Station


Historical notes: Adamstown was originally a speculative residential venture to provide housing for the miners of neighbouring Hamilton. The title Adamstown was first mentioned in September 1868. In the 1870's Adamstown was isolated from the rest of Newcastle and the neighbouring villages of Lambton, Hamilton and Merewether. Newcastle, while only seven kilometres away, was an arduous journey through the dense bush and scrub, which surrounded the little township. There was no water or sewerage and generally unhygienic conditions prevailed, especially after rain. Residents of the area relied upon tanks and wells for drinking water and water had to be carried from Newcastle during periods of dry weather. Like most of the early settlements in Newcastle, Adamstown's early industries revolved around coal mining. Miners worked in either the neighbouring Borehole Mine (Hamilton), or the Waratah Mine. There were also a number of brickyards and potteries in Adamstown due to the excellent clay soils in the area. Adamstown was gazetted as a Municipality in 1885. The first council was elected in March 1886 with council chambers being completed in 1892. In 1938 Adamstown merged with other municipal councils and Newcastle council to form the City of Greater Newcastle (Suters Architects Snell, 1993).

The Main Northern line between Sydney and Newcastle was constructed in two distinct stages and in the earliest years, was worked as two separate railway systems. The line between Sydney (actually the junction at Strathfield) and the Hawkesbury River was opened on 5 April 1887, with the terminus being on the southern bank of the Hawkesbury River. The line between Newcastle and the northern bank of the Hawkesbury River (near present day Wondabyne) was opened in January 1888. The line was completed through between Sydney and Newcastle with the opening of the massive bridge over the Hawkesbury River in 1889. Adamstown is presently located on the Northern line a few kilometres south of Newcastle.

On 15 January 1888, the 82km section (52 mile) between Woodville Junction and Gosford was opened for traffic, an essential link in the planned railway between Sydney and Newcastle. [Woodville Junction is the rail junction between the line to Newcastle Station and the Main Northern line to Maitland]. Adamstown station was opened at the time of opening of the Woodville Junction-Gosford section on 15 January 1888. The line was originally constructed as ‘single line’ but within two years, duplication had been completed as far south as Teralba and this included Adamstown. Side platforms were provided on each of the Up side, and Down side of the main line and timber station buildings were built on each platform.

In the late 1880s, a number of collieries were constructed on land to the south-east of Adamstown and accordingly, in 1891, a railway line was completed to one of these collieries (Burwood No.3), thus forming a railway junction at Adamstown.

Apart from being a junction station, Adamstown is also located at the southern end of the extensive Broadmeadow railway yards and in previous years, a large signal box (Adamstown Signal Box) controlled the entry and departure of trains to, and from, the southern end of the railway yards.

Adamstown remained as a railway junction for approximately 100 years, after which time, the line from Adamstown to Redhead and Belmont was closed. In order to allow slow moving freight trains to approach the congested Broadmeadow railway yards from Sydney, without affecting the following faster passenger trains, a relief line was constructed, junctioning with the main line south of Adamstown station, passing around the rear of the Down platform, thus forming an island platform on the Down side of the main line. By the 1960s, Adamstown comprised an island platform and buildings (on the down side of the line), a side platform and buildings on the Up side of the line, a signal box (c.1939) and level crossing at the Newcastle-end of the platforms with appropriate junction arrangements for the Belmont line.

Electrification of the main line between Gosford and Newcastle was opened in May 1984, an extension of the Sydney-Gosford electrification which had been completed in 1960. The new electrification project involved new or rebuilt platforms, station buildings, footbridges, overbridges and underbridges, line side buildings, sidings and a myriad of structures in that section in order to permit the operation of the wider electric passenger rollingstock and electric locomotives. Accordingly, major upgrading was undertaken at Adamstown, and that included total replacement of the original station buildings and platforms. The existing signal box was also made redundant and closed in 1983, replaced by a centrally located signal control centre, located near Broadmeadow station. The signal box remains in situ at the Newcastle-end of the platforms.

The Down relief line which skirted the western side of the Down main platform (making it an island platform) was removed at the time of the electrification project.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Communication-Activities relating to the creation and conveyance of information Signalling and safe working-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements Building the railway network-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Impacts of railways on urban form-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Adamstown Railway Station has historical significance at a local level. The earliest station buildings were erected in 1890 and led to the subsequent subdivision and development of the town.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Adamstown Railway Station has a moderate degree of aesthetic significance associated with the signal box. The place has local heritage significance under this criterion. Adamstown signal box has significance as one of the first significant variations to the O Type signal box design, with the usual brick basement being replaced by fibro and concrete.

The place has some technical significance at a local level because both the signal box and footbridge are examples of well documented types of railway structures of this period but with unusual design variations and, in the case of the footbridge, subsequent modifications.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The place has special associations with the "Our Town Model H.O. Club".
SHR Criteria f)
The Adamstown signal box is considered historically rare as one of the first significant variations to the Type O signal box design in a metropolitan region, most surviving examples being in country locations.

The Adamstown footbridge is considered to be historically rare in that it is a steel framed footbridge which retains its timber handrails.
SHR Criteria g)
Adamstown signal box is a good representative example of an elevated fibro cement signal box.

Adamstown railway station footbridge was a good representative example of a steel framed three bay footbridge, subsequently modified with the removal of the two outermost bays.
Integrity/Intactness: Externally, the Adamstown signal box is highly intact. It is reported that no orginal signalling equipment remains internally. The footbridge has been modified though retains some basic form and structure.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

1. Conservation principles: Conserve cultural heritage significance and minimise impacts on heritage values and fabric in accordance with the ‘Australia ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance’. 2. Specialist advice: Seek advice from a qualified heritage specialist during all phases of a proposed project from feasibility, concept and option planning stage; detailed design; heritage approval and assessment; through to construction and finalisation. 3. Documentation: Prepare a Statement of Heritage Impact (SOHI) to assess, minimise and prevent heritage impacts as part of the assessment and approval phase of a project. Prepare a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) prior to proposing major works (such as new additions, change of use or proposed demolition) at all places of State significance and all complex sites of Local significance. 4. Maintenance and repair: Undertake annual inspections and proactive routine maintenance works to conserve heritage fabric in accordance with the ‘Minimum Standards of Maintenance & Repair’. 5. Movable heritage: Retain in situ and care for historic contents, fixtures, fittings, equipment and objects which contribute to cultural heritage significance. Return or reinstate missing features or relocated items where opportunities arise. 6. Aboriginal, archaeology and natural heritage: Consider all aspects of potential heritage significance as part of assessing and minimising potential impacts, including Aboriginal, archaeology and natural heritage. 7. Unidentified heritage items: Heritage inventory sheets do not describe or capture all contributory heritage items within an identified curtilage (such as minor buildings, structures, archaeology, landscape elements, movable heritage and significant interiors and finishes). Ensure heritage advice is sought on all proposed changes within a curtilage to conserve heritage significance. 8. Recording and register update: Record changes at heritage places through adequate project records and archival photography. Notify all changes to the Section 170 Heritage & Conservation Register administrator upon project completion.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register(Signal Box and Footbridge)    
Heritage studyAdamstown Railway Station; Signal Box    

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Rail Authority Heritage Register Study1999SRA589 (Footbridge) SRA82 (Signal Box)State Rail Authority  No
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 NSW Department of Commerce  Yes
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenC. C. Singleton The Short North. The Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin. Various issues.
WrittenJohn Forsyth Line Histories
WrittenRay Love2009Historical Research for RailCorp s170 Update
WrittenState Rail Authority of New South Wales1995How and Why of Station Names. Fourth Edition
WrittenSuters Architects Snell1993Newcastle City Wide Heritage Study

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 4800185

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