All Saints church, Ainslie, Canberra. The building was originally at the former No. 1 Mortuary station at Rookwood Cemetery, Monday 12 January 2009.
Wallangarra railway station, Tuesday, 30 December 2014.
Australian Railway Station Oddities
30 December 2019
Australia has over 1100 railway stations. There is a wide diversity of locations, sizes, designs, individual features and names. This article presents a range of Australian railway station oddities: unusual features that may be of curiosity to readers.
Wondabyne, on the Central Coast line in New South Wales, is the only railway station in Australia that has no road access. It is located next to Mullet Creek, a tributary of the Hawkesbury River in New South Wales. The station is accessible by boat and is also an access point for bushwalkers.
Wynyard station in Sydney’s Central Business District has four platforms that service trains each day. The platforms are numbered 3, 4, 5 and 6. Passengers may wonder why there are no platforms numbered 1 and 2. From 1932, when the Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened, Wynyard station served trams as well as trains. The two tramway platforms were numbered 1 and 2. When the tram lines across the Sydney Harbour Bridge were closed in 1958 the Wynyard tram platforms were closed. They were later used as a car park for the Menzies Hotel. The platforms servicing trains have never been renumbered.
Lidcombe railway station in Sydney has a platform 0. The station already had four platforms when a new platform was opened in 1999 to service shuttle trains between Lidcombe and the new Olympic Park station. Rather than renumber the platforms, the new platform was numbered ‘0’.
Shellharbour Junction, on the South Coast line in New South Wales, has never been a junction station and is never likely to be. The station was opened in 2014 to serve a new housing development and to replace the former Dunmore station, located 1.7 km south.
Besides Shellharbour Junction, there are five other existing railway stations in Australia that have the word ‘junction’ in their name. Bondi Junction, on the Eastern Suburbs line in New South Wales, is the name of the Sydney suburb that was itself named after a tramway junction. Brunswick Junction, on the Bunbury line in Western Australia, is the junction for the line to Collie. Eagle Junction, on the Caboolture line in Queensland, is the junction for the lines to Pinkenba and Brisbane airport. Heathcote Junction, on the Seymour line in Victoria, was the junction for the former Heathcote line. Yass Junction, on the Main South line in New South Wales, was the junction for the former railway line to Yass Town.
Victor Harbor and Outer Harbor, both in South Australia, do not have a ‘u’ in the second word of their names despite ‘harbour’ being standard Australian spelling. Apparently an early Surveyor General of South Australia made a spelling error and all harbours in South Australia are spelled ‘harbor’. Nevertheless, the station name board at Victor Harbor has the spelling ‘Victor Harbour’.
There are four stations in Australia named Croydon that currently serve passenger trains. Croydon in New South Wales is on the Inner West line; Croydon in Queensland is one terminus of the Normanton–Croydon line; Croydon in South Australia is located on the Outer Harbor line; and Croydon in Victoria is on the Lilydale line.
There have been four stations in Australia named National Park, but none of them now serve trains. They were located in New South Wales (Royal National Park), South Australia (Belair National Park), Tasmania (Mount Field National Park) and Western Australia (John Forrest National Park). The New South Wales station was later renamed The Royal National Park and is now the terminus of the tram line operated by the Sydney Tramway Museum.
Olympic Park station in Sydney has four platforms and trains stopping at the station are served by platforms on both sides. During special events the doors are opened for passengers to alight before the doors on the other side are opened to enable other passengers to board.
Glasshouse Mountains railway station on the Sunshine Coast line in Queensland has two words in its name, although the local town and the mountains are named Glass House Mountains with three words in their names.
The currently open station in Australia with the longest name is Adelaide Parklands Terminal, which services Great Southern Railway passenger trains when they stop at Adelaide.
The currently open station in Australia with the shortest name is Ayr, located on the North Coast line in Queensland.
Australian railway stations have had a wide range of different names. Possibly the most unusual station name was Wait A While, which was located on the Narrandera to Tocumwal line in New South Wales. The station was open from 1898 to 1958.
Central station in Sydney has two platforms that are sometimes referred to as the ghost platforms. The platforms were built above platforms 24 and 25, were never completed, and have never been used by trains.
Wallangarra station, located on the New South Wales–Queensland border, has a number of unusual features. The station was opened on 14 February 1887 when the line was completed from Brisbane. On 16 January 1888 the line from Newcastle reached the border and Wallangarra became a break of gauge station where passengers and goods transferred between trains of different gauges: narrow gauge (1067 mm) in Queensland and standard gauge (1435 mm) in New South Wales. The station itself is on the state border. An island platform was built with Queensland trains using the western side and New South Wales trains using the eastern side. The awnings and station signs on the western side were built using designs of the Queensland Railways while those on the eastern side used the New South Wales Railways designs. Queensland has always referred to the station as Wallangarra, but when the standard gauge line was opened, the New South Wales railways named the station Jennings, after the town on the New South Wales side of the border. Thus, the station had two different names. New South Wales changed the name to Wallangarra soon afterwards, but changed the name between Jennings and Wallangarra several times before settling permanently on Wallangarra in 1904. The station no longer services regular trains, but contains a museum and has occasional visits by special trains operated by the Southern Downs Steam Railway.
All Saints Anglican church in the Canberra suburb of Ainslie was formerly a railway station building. The building was located in Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney and was opened with the railway line on 1 April 1867. Regular funeral trains conveyed coffins and mourners to the cemetery. Other stations were later opened in the cemetery. Eventually motor vehicles became the regular means of transport for funerals and the station was closed on 29 December 1948. Although the roof had been destroyed by fire, the stonework was purchased by the All Saints parish and transported to Canberra in 1957. The building was rebuilt and given a new roof before being opened as a church in 1958.
Forsyth, J, How & why of station names, 2nd ed., State Rail Authority of New South Wales, Sydney, 1982.
Railway station sign, Victor Harbour, South Australia, 25 September 2012.
Wondabyne station, New South Wales, 18 November 2017.