Canberra railway station

Last updated

Not to be confused with Canberra MRT station.
Eastbound view in July 2007, with the station's former CountryLink signage visible
LocationBurke Crescent, Kingston, Australian Capital Territory
Coordinates 35°19′09″S149°08′57″E / 35.319187°S 149.149232°E / -35.319187; 149.149232
Owned by RailCorp
Operated by NSW TrainLink
Line(s) Canberra
Distance329.61 kilometres from Central
Structure typeGround
Disabled accessYes
Other information
Station codeCBR
Opened21 April 1924
Rebuilt26 October 1966
Preceding station  NSW TrainLink  Following station
Terminus NSW TrainLink Southern
Canberra Xplorer
towards  Sydney

Canberra railway station is located on the Bombala railway line in the Australian Capital Territory, Australia. It is located in the Canberra suburb of Kingston.

Bombala railway line

The Bombala railway line is a partially closed branch railway line in the south of New South Wales, Australia. It branches off the Main South line at Joppa Junction, south of Goulburn, and was opened in stages to Tarago, Bungendore, Queanbeyan, Michelago, Cooma, Nimmitabel and Bombala.

Australian Capital Territory Federal territory of Australia, containing the capital city, Canberra

The Australian Capital Territory is a federal territory of Australia, located in the south-east of the country and enclaved within the state of New South Wales. It contains Canberra, the capital city of Australia.

Canberra capital city of Australia

Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of 410,301, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory, 280 km (170 mi) south-west of Sydney, and 660 km (410 mi) north-east of Melbourne. A resident of Canberra is known as a Canberran. Although Canberra is the capital and seat of government, many federal government ministries have secondary seats in state capital cities, as do the Governor-General and the Prime Minister.



Station front in August 2009 Canberra Railway Station.jpg
Station front in August 2009
1210 on the plinth outside the station it occupied from January 1962 until September 1984 Canberra 1210.jpg
1210 on the plinth outside the station it occupied from January 1962 until September 1984

In March 1913, work began on a new 8.5 kilometre rail link from the capital to Queanbeyan on the Bombala line. The line was constructed, managed, and operated by the New South Wales Public Works Department on behalf of the Government of Australia. [1] It came under the control of the Commonwealth Railways in 1927. [2] [3]

Queanbeyan railway station

Queanbeyan railway station is a heritage-listed railway station located on the Bombala line in New South Wales, Australia. It serves the town of Queanbeyan.

Government of Australia federal democratic administrative authority of Australia

The Government of Australia is the government of the Commonwealth of Australia, a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. It is also commonly referred to as the Australian Government, the Commonwealth Government, Her Majesty's Government, or the Federal Government.

Commonwealth Railways Australian railway (1912–1975)

The Commonwealth Railways were established in 1917 by the Government of Australia with the Commonwealth Railways Act to administer the Trans-Australia and Port Augusta to Darwin railways. It was absorbed into Australian National in 1975.

The station building opened on 21 April 1924. From 1927 when the Federal Parliament moved to Canberra, the rail passenger service was upgraded with the introduction of a Canberra portion to the Cooma Mail overnight train to Sydney that connected with Melbourne sleeper trains at Goulburn. [1] A daylight service from Sydney was also introduced.

The Cooma Mail was an Australian passenger train that operated from May 1889 until May 1986 between Sydney and Cooma.

Melbourne City in Victoria, Australia

Melbourne is the capital and most populous city of the Australian state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Its name refers to an urban agglomeration of 9,992.5 km2 (3,858.1 sq mi), comprising a metropolitan area with 31 municipalities, and is also the common name for its city centre. The city occupies much of the coastline of Port Phillip bay and spreads into the hinterlands towards the Dandenong and Macedon ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley. It has a population of approximately 4.9 million, and its inhabitants are referred to as "Melburnians".

Sleeping car railway passenger car with private sleeping berths

The sleeping car or sleeper is a railway passenger car that can accommodate all its passengers in beds of one kind or another, primarily for the purpose of making nighttime travel more restful. George Pullman was the American inventor of the sleeper car.

A new passenger terminal building was opened by the Minister for Transport & Shipping, Gordon Freeth on 26 October 1966. [1] [4] [5] Canberra station, along with the line to Queanbeyan, was owned and staffed by the Commonwealth Railways and later Australian National although services were always operated by the New South Wales Government Railways and its successors. Despite numerous attempts to transfer the loss making line to the Government of New South Wales, it remained in Federal Government hands until May 1985 when it was transferred to the State Rail Authority. [6] [7] [8]

Gordon Freeth Australian politician

Sir Gordon Freeth, KBE was an Australian politician and diplomat. He served in the House of Representatives from 1949 to 1969, including as a minister in the Coalition governments from 1958 to 1969. He later served as Ambassador to Japan from 1970 to 1973 and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from 1977 to 1980.

Australian National Railways Commission transport company

The Australian National Railways Commission was an agency of the Government of Australia that was a railway operator between 1975 and 1998. It was known as Australian National Railways in its early years, before being rebranded as Australian National.

The New South Wales Government Railways (NSWGR) was the agency of the Government of New South Wales that administered rail transport in New South Wales, Australia, between 1855 and 1932.

Steam locomotive 1210 that had hauled the first train into Canberra in May 1914, was displayed on a plinth outside the station from January 1962 until September 1984, when it was moved to the Canberra Railway Museum and returned to service in 1988. [1] [9] [10]

Canberra Railway Museum Railway museum in Geijera Pl Kingston ACT Canberra

The Canberra Railway Museum, located at Kingston in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), was first owned by the ACT Division of the Australian Railway Historical Society (ARHS), which was incorporated in 1967 and liquidated in 2016. Since May 2018, Canberra Railway Museum has been the trading name of a not-for-profit company, Capital Region Heritage Rail Limited, established to run the museum, while ACT Heritage Rail Holdings Limited is the company responsible for safeguarding the heritage assets of the museum.


Canberra is the terminus for the New South Wales Xplorer service by NSW TrainLink from the Central railway station, Sydney. It is also served by NSW TrainLink road coach services to Cootamundra, Bombala and Eden. [11] V/Line coach service to Bairnsdale also operates via the station. [12]

New South Wales Xplorer class of Australian diesel multiple unit

The Xplorer is a diesel multiple unit train operated by NSW TrainLink on regional rail services in New South Wales, Australia from Sydney to Armidale, Moree, Broken Hill, Griffith and Canberra. The first Xplorers entered service in October 1993, and are mechanically identical to but feature a higher level of passenger amenity than the Endeavour railcars. All 23 carriages were built by ABB Transportation in Dandenong, Victoria.

NSW TrainLink is an Australian brand for the medium and long distance passenger rail and coach services in New South Wales. It operates services throughout New South Wales and into the neighbouring states and territories of Victoria, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. Train services are operated by the government's NSW Trains. Coach services are contracted to private operators. It is an agency of Transport for NSW.

Central railway station, Sydney railway station in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

The Central railway station is a heritage-listed railway station located at the southern end of the Sydney central business district in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. The station is the largest and busiest railway station in New South Wales and serves as a major transport interchange for NSW TrainLink inter-city rail services, Sydney Trains commuter rail services, Sydney light rail services, State Transit bus services, and private coach transport services. Often abbreviated as Central or Central station, the station is also known as Sydney Terminal and Central Railway Stations Group and Central Railway; Central Station; Underbridges. The property is owned by RailCorp, an agency of the Government of New South Wales. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999. It recorded 11.35 million passenger movements in 2013.

PlatformLineStopping patternNotes
1services to Sydney Central

Kingston to Civic Railway

Canberra station in 1929 Canberra Railway Station 1929.JPG
Canberra station in 1929

Walter Burley Griffin's original Canberra plan included a railway to come to Canberra City, with stations on the north, east and south.

Work started in December 1920, with the line opening on 15 June 1921. It branched off from the Queanbeyan to Canberra line at the Power House siding near Cunningham Street, heading north on a raised embankment through the Causeway, and across the Molonglo River. The bridges over Jerrabomberra Creek and Molonglo River were of low temporary standard. A siding was provided to the north of the river at Russell for the workers camp that was there. The line curved to the north west in Reid, behind St Johns Church and the TAFE. A platform for the railway was built in what is now Garema Place. Finally, a line continued to the north to Eloura Street in Braddon where there was a marshalling yard.

The track was owned and maintained by the Commonwealth Railways with trains operated by the New South Wales Government Railways.

In July 1922, a flood on the Molonglo River washed away the legs on the trestle bridge, leaving the bridge deck suspended by the rails and sagging into the water. The bridge was never reconstructed and the rails were removed in 1940.

Brickworks tramway

A narrow gauge 1,067-millimetre line was built in 1923 from the Yarralumla brickworks to Old Parliament House. This passed along Adelaide Avenue, and round the north of State Circle. A branch went to the Hotel Canberra. The line continued to the Power House in Kingston. The brickworks tramway was extended to Civic. It crossed the Molonglo River on a bridge near Scotts Crossing. The older 4-foot-8½-inch-wide (1.435 m) track was reduced to the 3 12 feet (1.1 m) by shifting one rail. The tramway terminated at Civic Centre station. The tramway was dismantled on 9 May 1927 as a cleanup for the opening of parliament house. [1]

Railways planned but never built

The building of a railway between Canberra and Yass was specified in the Seat of Government Acceptance Act 1909, and plans were made to extend the existing Canberra line to Yass in 1924 and 1934. The proposal was last considered by the government in 1971 but was not considered to be economically justified. [1]

During World War I plans were drawn up for a railway to the Tuggeranong Arsenal. The route ran from the Queanbeyan line via Macarthur, Fadden, Erindale, Wanniassa and Oxley to a station in north east Greenway. There was also to be a hospital near the Kambah Wool Shed, a small-arms factory near Pine Island, and a civic centre. The line was not constructed.

A plan was also drawn for a Canberra to Jervis Bay line in 1914, which would connect Canberra with what was to be its port. Little was heard of this project after 1921. [1]

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CountryLink was an Australian passenger rail and road operator operating in regional New South Wales, as well as to Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne. It was a subsidiary of RailCorp, a Government of New South Wales entity. CountryLink operated rail services using XPT and Xplorer rolling stock, with connecting coach services operated under contract by private operators.

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Oaks Estate is a township situated immediately on the northern side of the New South Wales - Australian Capital Territory border abutting the township of Queanbeyan in south-eastern New South Wales, Australia. The estate covers an area of approximately 40 hectares and is bound by the Molonglo River to the north, the Queanbeyan River to the east, 'The Oaks' to the west, and the Queanbeyan-Cooma railway to the south. Oaks Estate is located 12 kilometres from the centre of Canberra. The village is also noteworthy as the nucleus of Queanbeyan's industrial development during the second half of the 19th century. Oaks Estate takes its name from 'The Oaks', which was part of Duntroon, Robert Campbell's farming estate. This makes Oaks Estate one of only a few place names in the ACT with significant connections to early colonial times.

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The Captains Flat railway line was a country branch line in the Southern Tablelands region of New South Wales. The line branched off the Bombala line at Bungendore Junction, 5 km south of Bungendore and terminated 34 km further south at Captain's Flat.

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Public transport in Canberra is provided by bus, while rail, air, and long-distance coach services operate for travel beyond Canberra. A light rail network is also under construction.

Burbong railway station discontinued Australian railway station

Burbong is a former railway station which was located on the Bombala railway line, that leaves the main Sydney-Melbourne line at Joppa Junction. It served the Burbong and the surrounding area, which is part of the locality of Carwoola to the east of Queanbeyan in the Monaro Region of New South Wales, Australia.

Tarago railway station railway station in New South Wales, Australia

Tarago railway station is a heritate-listed railway station located on the Bombala line in New South Wales, Australia. It serves the town of Tarago. It was built in 1884 by G. & C. Horn. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.

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The Queanbeyan railway bridges over Queanbeyan and Molonglo Rivers are two heritage-listed railway bridges on the Bombala railway line at Queanbeyan-Palerang Region, New South Wales, Australia. They were built in 1926. The first bridge crosses the Queanbeyan River from Queanbeyan to Queanbeyan East at 35.3424°S 149.2317°E, while the second bridge (approx 8 kilometres to the east crosses the Molonglo River at Burbong at 35.3371°S 149.3191°E. The property is owned by RailCorp, an agency of the Government of New South Wales. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Stokes, HJW (1984). Railways of the Canberra and Monaro Districts. Canberra: Australian Railway Historical Society, ACT Division.
  2. "Federal Parliament: Developing Federal Capital". The Argus. 1927-09-19. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
  3. "Railways in the Australian Capital Territory" Australian Railway Historical Society November 1967 pages 244-252
  4. "New Railway Station at Canberra" Network September 1966 page 1
  5. "20 Years Ago" Railway Digest October 1986 page 323
  6. "Australian Capital Territory Railway" Railway Gazette 26 November 1954 page 603
  7. "Queanbeyan-Canberra Link" Railway Gazette 20 September 1957 page 328
  8. "Canberra Line Handover" Railway Digest May 1985 page 136
  9. "Australian ceremony" Railway Gazette 20 April 1962 page 446
  10. "ARHS Canberra" Railway Digest November 1984 page 381
  11. "Southern timetable" (PDF). NSW Trainlink. 30 September 2018.
  12. Melbourne to Canberra timetable V/Line 27 August 2017

Further reading