Ashfield Railway Station Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Ashfield Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Ashfield Railway Station Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Brown Street, Ashfield, NSW 2131
Local govt. area: Ashfield


North: Property boundary in alignment with Station Street South: Property boundary to Brown Street (excluding the carpark and including the Signal Box)East: The edge of Ashfield Signal Box, and a line across the tracksWest: 5 metres past outer edge of the Bland Street Underbridge
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Brown StreetAshfieldAshfield  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Ashfield Railway Station has local significance as a station which was established during the first phase of NSW railway construction in the 1850s. The site is significant as one of the four original intermediate stations on the first railway line in NSW between Sydney and Parramatta. Though the station has been upgraded resulting in the loss of some historical station components, and the addition of modern structures, the remaining collection of railways structures dating from the 1890s quadruplication and the 1920s sextuplication of the line demonstrate the expansion of the railways in the late 19th century and early 20th century and the growth of the local area during the early 20th century.

The 1920s former parcels office and pedestrian subway on Brown Street and the retaining walls along Brown Street and Station Street contribute to the streetscape of the area. The extant 1920s signal box contributes to the understanding of the requirements for safe working and railway signalling required at this time. However, as it is no longer operational with all signalling equipment removed and has been altered substantially, its ability to demonstrate its previous function has been reduced. The extant Bland Street underbridge which is largely intact is associated with the 1891 quadruplication and is one of the largest brick arch bridges to have been built during the late 19th century.
Date significance updated: 07 Jul 09
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: Perway Branch staff, New South Wales Government Railways
Builder/Maker: Day Labour
Construction years: 1891-1892
Physical description: BUILDINGS
Former Parcels Office, Brown Street (1919)
Platform building, Platform 5 (c.2000)
Overhead Station Building, (c. 2000)
Signal Box, (1927)

Platform 1/2, (1892), Platform 3/4, (1892), Platform 5, (1927)
Canopies, (c. 2000)
Pedestrian Subway, Brown Street (1918)
Underbridge (Bland Street), (1891)
Retaining walls: Station Street (1892); Brown Street (1918)


Ashfield Railway Station is accessed from Brown Street and Station Street. It has one wayside and two island platforms, an original building on Brown Street, original retaining walls along Brown and Station Streets, a modern overhead station building and a signal box. The station has commercial activity on either side.

External: Rectangular Federation Style building with stretcher bond brickwork, half-gabled roof and cantilevered awnings only on the side of Brown Street. The awnings are supported by decorative concrete corbels and standard steel double bowed brackets. The awnings, with curtain board fascia, are integrated with the gable roof of the building and are both made of corrugated steel. The roof has original timber finials. The building is accessible at street level from Brown Street and via a ramp leading down from Platform 5.

Most of the door and window openings are original and feature segmental brick arches. The windows have bull nosed brick sills and the door openings have brick on edge and cement thresholds. The building has timber framed, double hung windows and pivot hung fanlights. The double hung windows have glazed glass bottom sashes and four paned top sashes fitted with coloured glass. The pivot hung fanlights have four paned sashes fitted with coloured, or plain, wire enmeshed safety glass. Aluminium safety grills have been fitted to the outer side of the fanlight windows. The door opening onto Brown Street is a panelled timber door, with pivot hung fanlights that have four paned sashes fitted with coloured glass. The door leading down from the platform is a single leaf, flush panel, blockboard door with blockboard surrounds to its side and to the fanlight area.

Internal: The building has retained its original configuration and is a single, continuous space. It serves as a store. Original timber board ceiling, a ceiling rose and cast iron ventilators have been retained.

External: The modern platform building is a single room structure made of galvanised metal panels and a flat roof. This building serves as a control room. It has sliding and fixed aluminium windows fitted with safety wire mesh and a flush panel blockboard door with an aluminium framed fixed glass window.

Internal: The interiors of the building are painted and are very basic.

Exterior: The overhead station building is a modern building which accommodates the booking office, station manager’s room, and station staff areas to its south and a control room, public toilets, and retail outlets to its north. Access lifts are located throughout the building leading down to the platforms and to Brown Street and Station Street. The building also comprises of a concourse which looks out towards the eastern and western ends of the station through clear glass walls, which extend all along the length of the concourse. The wall overlooking the western end is made of a metal space frame, to which is attached an aluminium framed curtain wall. The east facing wall is an angled, glazed screen wall. The entire area is roofed by a steel space frame structure covered with corrugated steel sheeting.

Interior: The station concourse is divided into two parts by the stainless steel ticket barriers. The eastern end of the concourse is the public concourse and it serves the purpose of a footbridge connecting Brown Street and Station Street over the tracks. The western end is the paid concourse which is accessible through the ticket barriers and it leads down to the platforms via the stairs and lifts. All the structures located on the concourse are clad with aluminium panels externally and the ceiling of the concourse is made of aluminium sheet panels. The stairs leading down to the platforms are made of reinforced concrete slabs and columns with metal balustrades and handrails.

External: The building comprises of two levels, a rectangular base at the ground level, which is five bays long and is constructed of English bond brickwork, and a timber framed, fibre cement clad structure at the first floor level. The external walls of the base rise from a projecting brick plinth. The engaged piers which define the bays are in Flemish bond brickwork with cement moulded, brick on edge caps. The building has some original and a few new windows which have brick on edge sills, concrete lintels and security mesh fitted to the exterior. Door openings to the base of the building comprise of flush panel doors and a roller shutter. The first floor structure has typical chamfered corners and it sits on a precast concrete slab and is approximately three bays long in comparison to the base. It has balconies with steel tubular balustrading to its north, east and west faces and timber framed multi-paned sliding casement windows. The glass panes of some of the windows have been replaced with plywood painted to match the window frames and mullions. The signal box has a Dutch gable roof with terracotta tiles and overhanging eaves. Timber posts with timber brackets support the north-west and south-west corners of the roof.

Internal: The ground floor has painted, exposed brick perimeter walls and concrete floors. There are new I beams supporting the precast concrete slabs of the first floor. The first floor is accessed by a wrought iron spiral staircase. It has been refurbished and has plasterboard panelled ceilings and smooth, plaster finish walls. Interior walls have fibre cement sheet and batten cladding. Partition walls have been added to the eastern end of the first floor. Kitchenette facilities have been added to the north-east corner of the first floor. None of the original signalling equipment exists in the building.

Platform 1 (Up) and Platform 2 (Down) form an island platform arrangement. Neither of the platforms is used by Ashfield Railway Station although the tracks are used for suburban trains which do not stop at Ashfield. Platform 3 (Up) and Platform 4 (Up) form an island platform arrangement. Platform 5 (Down) is a wayside platform. All the platforms have in-situ concrete faces and asphalt surfaces.

CANOPIES (c2000)
The canopies on Platforms 1/2, 3/4 and 5 are butterfly or skillion roofed structures made of corrugated steel sheets resting on galvanised steel beams and galvanised steel and concrete columns. The canopies over the stairs leading down to the platforms from the station concourse comprise of central curved roof forms with skillion awnings and are constructed of the same materials as the canopies on the platforms.

The subway which runs under the tracks connects the station to Station Street to the north and Brown Street to the south. The roof of the subway is made of reinforced concrete slabs and steel girders. The walls of the subway have been used as panels to display public art and the photomontages depicting the local history of the area. Some parts of the walls are affected by graffiti.

The underbridge comprises of two original brick arches and recent steel girders to its north, resting on brick retaining walls. The span of the underbridge is 12.34 metres and it has brick parapets.

Landscape features include the brick retaining walls along Brown Street, Station Street and to the rear of Platform 5 adjoining the ramp leading down to the former parcels office.

NSW Railway heritage listed sites contain significant collections of stored movable railway heritage, including furniture, signs, operational objects, ex-booking office and ticketing objects, paper records, clocks, memorabilia, indicator boards and artwork. Individually, these objects are important components of the history of each site. Together, they form a large and diverse collection of movable objects across the NSW rail network. Sydney Trains maintains a database of movable heritage. For up-to-date information on all movable heritage items at this site, contact the Sydney Trains heritage team.

Key items at this station include but are not limited to:

- timber rollover indicator boards– three-bay set and four-bay set
- two SRA wall-mounted signs
- 2x wall-mounted “Guards Reports” metal box
- framed list of artists as part of major public art installation

The station complex has low archaeological potential. The Brown Street subway originally had a ticketing office and stairs leading up to the platforms. However the stairs and office have been bricked up and it is unlikely that they would reveal any new evidence not available at other station sites.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The building is in moderate condition. There is some organic growth to the external eastern wall of the building and this has caused some degeneration of plaster to the interior of the building.

The building is in good condition.

The building with its concourse and different rooms is in good condition.

The signal box is in good condition. The windows at ground level have been affected by graffiti.

The platforms are in good condition.

The canopies are in good condition.

The subway is in moderate condition. It has been affected in parts by graffiti.

The underbridge is in moderate condition. There is organic growth and dampness to parts of the brick arches and retaining walls.

The Station Street brick retaining walls are in moderate condition as they have some organic growth. However parts of the Brown Street retaining walls are in a poor condition as structural cracks have developed along some portions of the walls. The retaining wall to the rear of Platform 5 is in moderate condition as it has developed some organic growth to its south face.
Date condition updated:24 Sep 08
Modifications and dates: 1892: Quadruplication and new Ashfield station, including platforms and buildings on Platforms 1/2, 3/4, eastern subway, retaining walls and steps from Station Street, ticket office on Brown Street, and Bland Street underbridge are constructed.
1918-1919: Upgrade of station, western subway (Brown Street subway), parcels office on Brown Street built.
1926-1927: Sextuplication, platform to north along Station Street demolished, construction of Platform 5, brick waiting shed on Brown Street, underground ticket office in eastern subway and signal box.
1941: Station alterations, construction of porter’s room at end of Platform 1-2.
1980s: Modifications to western subway, stairs to platforms and booking office bricked up.
1992: Signal box refurbished.
1993: 1890s building on Platform 3-4 demolished.
c.2000: Modern station building, canopies on platforms, lifts, eastern subway, 1890s building on Platform 1-2, 1940s porter’s room demolished.
Further information: Disused subway retains a number of former signs from previous railway entities which require further assessment.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: The main western line to Parramatta (Granville) was originally completed in 1855. The line opened on 26 September 1855 as a double track from Sydney to Newtown and a single track to Parramatta. The line was duplicated to near Granville in 1856. Between 1855 and 1926 the number of tracks along the Main Suburban railway corridor between Sydney and Homebush was increased from 1 to 6 in three stages. Ashfield was one of the original four intermediate stations opened in 1855.

The 1855 station featured two side timber platforms and a level crossing. This was replaced by a two-storey station building in 1875 with two brick side platforms. An iron footbridge was erected in 1879.

The lines were quadruplicated in 1892 resulting in the construction of new platforms and an eastern underground subway at Ashfield station.

The Bland Street underbridge was built as part of the 1892 quadruplication of the Main Suburban Line. The bridge was a significant railway project of the late colonial period and with a clear span of 12.34 m (40 feet) it was one of the largest brick arch bridges built during this period.

Upgrading in 1919 resulted in the construction of the western subway and the construction of a parcels office facing Brown Street. A further two lines were constructed in 1926 resulting in the demolition of the old Platform 3 and construction of a new Platform 5 with brick waiting shed on the Brown Street (south) side. A signal box was also constructed c.1926.

Alterations in 1941 included demolition of the 1875 building on Platform 1 and 2 and erection of a small mess room, and rebuilding of the Platform 3 and 4 structure to provide staff accommodation.

The station was largely rebuilt in c.2000 with only remnants of earlier structures remaining, including the subways, parcels office, large brick retaining walls and underbridge. The contribution, particularly of the retaining walls and street facades, to the streetscape of the area is high.

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 Making Railway Journeys-
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-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Creating railway landscapes-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Ashfield Railway Station has historical significance at the local level as one of only four original intermediate stations on the first railway line in NSW between Sydney and Parramatta. The collection of railway structures dating from the 1890s quadruplicating and the 1920s sextuplication demonstrate the expansion of the railways in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The various additions and changes to the station complex during the early 1900s, namely the construction of the extant Brown Street subway and the extant former parcels office, demonstrate the increased use of the station and the growth of the local area during the early 20th century.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Ashfield Railway Station has aesthetic significance with its 1919 former parcels office, which is a Federation style building featuring a half-gable roof, coloured glass windows, extended awnings and prominent timber valences. The retaining walls along Brown Street and Station Street contribute to the streetscape of the area.

The extant signal box which dates from 1927 has local aesthetic significance as as an example of a typical style of signal box, namely its brickwork base, timber framed, fibre cement clad first floor structure and Dutch gable roof. The technical significance of the signal box has been diminished due to its inability to demonstrate its previous function, being non-operational and internally refurbished, with all signalling equipment removed.

The brick arch underbridge at Bland Street contributes to the aesthetic significance of the group as it is a recognisable landmark in the local area. It is technically significant as one of the largest brick arch bridges built in the late colonial period.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The place has the potential to contribute to the local community's sense of place, and can provide a connection to the local community's past.
SHR Criteria f)
The former parcels office on Brown Street has aesthetic rarity as it is amongst only a few early 20th century railway station buildings on the line that employs elements of Federation Style architecture, as opposed to the typical 20th century railways designs.
SHR Criteria g)
The signal box at Ashfield Railway Station is representative of elevated signal boxes of a common design in the 1920s, though its integrity has been reduced by the removal of its signally equipment.
Integrity/Intactness: Overall Ashfield Railway Station has low integrity as most of its original platform buildings and the eastern subway have been demolished. It has a few original structures in a relatively intact condition namely the retaining walls, the former parcels office, the Brown Street subway and the Bland Street underbridge. The construction of the modern overhead station building and canopies to all the platforms has altered the station layout and its historic form substantially thereby reducing its overall integrity.FORMER PARCELS OFFICE (on Brown Street)Externally the building has been altered in terms of its door and window openings but it still retains original fabric such as the original brickwork, standard double bowed steel brackets, decorative cement corbels, half gabled roof and timber finials. Internally significant original fabric such as cast iron timber board ceiling and a ceiling rose have been retained. SIGNAL BOXThe signal box has been altered internally and externally. New window and door openings have been created and original window and door opening have been modified. None of the former signalling equipment remains. PEDESTRIAN SUBWAY (BROWN STREET)The subway has been altered considerably as the ticketing office and stairs leading up to the platforms have been bricked in. However the subway retains some original fabric namely the reinforced concrete slabs and steel girders of the ceiling.UNDERBRIDGE (BLAND STREET) The underbridge has been altered in terms of the steel girders which were added to its north side. However it retains all of its original fabric namely the brick arches, retaining walls and parapets. BRICK RETAINING WALLSThe walls along Brown Street have been retained in their original condition, although some parts have been removed to accommodate the base of the modern overhead station building. Similarly changes have been made to the walls along Station Street as parts of the original wall has been removed to accommodate the base of the modern overhead station building and new brick walls have been built in continuation with the original walls.
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     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Rail Authority Heritage Register Study1999SRA105, SRA128/SRA564 (underbridge)State Rail Authority  No
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenIan Brady1994Ashfield Railway Station: A History of the Station Structures since 1892
WrittenJohn Forsyth2007New South Wales Railway Stations: an alphabetical arrangement of railway station and place names. 3rd. Edition
WrittenJohn Forsyth1960Historical Notes for the Main Suburban Railway
WrittenTony Prescott2009Historical Research for RailCorp's S170 Update Project

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: 4801105

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