Canberra railway station

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.

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
Coordinates35°19′09″S 149°08′57″E
Owned byRailCorp
Operated byNSW TrainLink
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
TerminusNSW TrainLink Southern
Canberra Xplorer
towards Sydney


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]

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.

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]

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 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]

Platform Line Stopping pattern Notes
1 services to Sydney Central

Kingston to Civic Railway

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. 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. 19 September 1927. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  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". NSW Trainlink. 7 September 2019.
  12. Melbourne to Canberra timetable V/Line 27 August 2017

Further reading

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