Canberra railway station


Eastbound view in July 2007
Location Burke Crescent, Kingston
Coordinates 35°19′09″S 149°08′57″E / 35.319187°S 149.149232°E / -35.319187; 149.149232
Owned by RailCorp
Operated by NSW TrainLink
Line(s) Bombala
Distance 329.61 kilometres from Central
Platforms 1
Tracks 3
Connections Bus
Structure type Ground
Disabled access Yes
Other information
Station code CBR
Opened 21 April 1924
Rebuilt 26 October 1966

Southern Highlands line

Preceding station   NSW TrainLink   Following station
TerminusNSW TrainLink Southern
Canberra Xplorer
towards Sydney

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


Station front in August 2009
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 Federal Government.[1] It came under the control of the Commonwealth Railways in 1927.[2]

The station building opened on 21 April 1924. From 1927 when 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.

A new passenger terminal building opened by the Minister for Transport & Shipping, Gordon Freeth on 26 October 1966.[1][3] Canberra station, along with the line to Queanbeyan, was owned and staffed by Australian National until May 1985 when it was transferred to the State Rail Authority which operated all the services on the line.[4]

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][5]


Canberra is the terminus for NSW TrainLink Xplorer services from Sydney. It is also served by NSW TrainLink road coach services to Cootamundra, Bombala and Eden.[6] V/Line coach service to Bairnsdale also operates via the station.[7]

Platform Line Stopping pattern Notes
1 services to Sydney Central

Kingston to Civic Railway

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]


  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. "20 Years Ago" Railway Digest October 1986 page 323
  4. "Canberra Line Handover" Railway Digest May 1985 page 136
  5. "ARHS Canberra" Railway Digest November 1984 page 381
  6. "Southern timetable" (PDF). NSW Trainlink. 20 October 2013 [Updated 30 June 2014].
  7. Capital Link V/Line 21 June 2015

Further reading

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