Metropolitan Goods railway line, Sydney

Metropolitan Goods railway line, Sydney

The Metropolitan Goods Railway Line is a network of goods (or "freight") railway lines in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia.


The line starts at Port Botany in Sydney's south east and runs in a westerly direction, joining the Bankstown passenger railway line at Sydenham and running beside the Bankstown Line to the suburb of Campsie, where it branches off to the north west to serve the Enfield marshalling yards. From the yards, connections are provided to the passenger lines at Flemington to the north and Sefton to the west. There is also a branch from Dulwich Hill which heads north through Lewisham, passing beneath the Main Suburban Railway before heading north through Lilyfield to the Glebe Island port and Rozelle Goods yard.

A further branch of the line from Lilyfield passes through Glebe then swings north to loop through the former industrial suburb of Pyrmont, before passing beside Darling Harbourcite web| | title=Rozelle- Darling Harbour Goods line | url=| accessdate=21 April | accessyear=2007] . Here, it served the former large Darling Harbour Goods yard. ["The Direct and Scenic Routes to Darling Harbour" Oakes, John Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, June;July, 1999 pp203-225;265-271] It then passes south beside the former Ultimo Power Station and tram depot both of which are now part of the Powerhouse Museum. The line from the Museum connects with the lines south from Central station through a tunnel under Railway Square.cite web |url= |title=Powerhouse Museum Sidings |publisher=Neety's Trainpage] This is the oldest railway tunnel in New South Wales and is still in occasional use to transfer locomotives to and from the Museum.Cite web |title=History of Rail Transport in Glebe |publisher=The Glebe Society Inc |url=]

The Darling Harbour section was closed and has since been converted into the Metro Light Rail. The line was electrified from a connection to the Illawarra line at Marrickville to the Rozelle goods yard / Flemington / Sefton, although no electrified freight trains now run in New South Wales.


From the time when the "Sydney Railway Company" was formed in 1848, it had been the intention of the company to build a freight terminal at Darling Harbour. To this end, a railway line was constructed between the Sydney Railway Station (the predecessor to Central Railway Station and Darling Harbour, which opened on 26 September, 1855.Forsyth, J.H. (ed.) (1988-93), Stations & Tracks; Vol. 1: "Main Suburban & Branches -- Illawarra & Branches". State Rail Authority of New South Wales: Sydney, p. 97.] Initial traffic was spoil for the construction of the Main Suburban Line (now the Inner West Line) between Sydney and Parramatta, then for the carriage of departmental coke for steam engines, and a small amount of timber from 1860. Initial reports of the traffic on the line suggested that freight revenue amounted to only £20 a year, and there was only 60 tonnes of coke carriage a week.

Other problems beset the line in the 1860s. Darling Harbour had begun to silt up by 1863, and the 3d. charge per person, each way on the nearby Pyrmont Bridge (at that time privately-owned) was a turnoff to traders looking to use the railway for the transport of their goods. Other factors combined to offset these problems: a plan to convey goods by horse tram to Circular Quay turned out to be a failure; traffic in hay, straw and chaff was transferred to the Darling Harbour yards in 1878; and by 1881, the main goods terminal in Sydney had become overcrowded, leading to directions that traffic for Sydney was to be directed to Darling Harbour. The Pyrmont Bridge was later purchased by the New South Wales Government for £48,600. By 1891, all outwards goods traffic was also being dispatched from Darling Harbour.Forsyth, J.H. (ed.) (1988-93), Stations & Tracks; Vol. 1: "Main Suburban & Branches -- Illawarra & Branches". State Rail Authority of New South Wales: Sydney, p. 98.]

By 1908, goods traffic on the line to Darling Harbour and the neighbouring suburban lines had become excessive, with 592 wagons arriving each day and 512 being dispatched. It was decided to construct separate goods lines from Sefton to Darling Harbour via Enfield, Dulwich Hill and Rozelle, with extensions to Botany and the State Abattoirs at Homebush Bay. The initial scheme, approved by the Parliamentary Committee on Public Works, approved the initial line from Dulwich Hill to Darling Harbour. To avoid an opening rail bridge alongside the existing Glebe Island Bridge, a circuitous route was built around Rozelle Bay through the suburb of Pyrmont. The proposal, which included two tunnels under Pyrmont and Glebe, was approved on November 23, 1914, and the line opened on 23 January, 1922.Bozier, Rolfe, " [ "New South Wales Railways: Rozelle-Darling Harbour Goods Line"] ". Accessed 18 May, 2007.]

An additional Goods Yard was established at Cooks River in 1947 ["Cooks River Goods Yard" Singleton, C.C. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin May, 1949 p11] . This yard connects with the Port Botany line to the east of the Princes Highway overbridge.

With widespread use as a freight line throughout the early 20th century, the use of containers and the decentralisation of freight terminals in Sydney to places such as Port Botany and Chullora, Darling Harbour traffic was reduced considerably, ceasing altogether on October 26, 1984. The branch continued to run intermittent goods traffic, including a weekly wheat train to the Edwin Davey Flour Mill near Wentworth Park), but this ceased on 22 January, 1996, and the Darling Harbour loop closed.


In August 2004, the Australian Rail Track Corporation and Rail Corporation New South Wales entered into an agreement for ARTC to lease the Metropolitan Freight Networkcite web| work=ARTC | title=Interface Definition Survey | url= | accessdate=21 April | accessyear=2007] , specified as being the dedicated freight lines within the rail corridors:
*Sefton Park to Chullora
*Flemington South to Belmore
*Belmore to Marrickville (shared passenger and freight corridor - separate tracks)
*Marrickville to Botany and Dulwich Hill to Rozelle.

The ARTC is proposing to construct the Southern Sydney Freight Line to extend the freight network from Sefton to Macarthur.

The section between Dulwich Hill and Rozelle sees only irregular freight service now - the sole survivor being the cereals delivered to the flour mill at Summer Hill. Rozelle goods yard is overgrown and has been used intermittently for the storage of disused railway wagons and passenger cars. After unrealised plans to run suburban trains in the 1980s, [ Harbour, D. "Rail Loop Revival for Waterfront". The Glebe, 2 August 1989.] the section from Lilyfield through Glebe, Pyrmont and Ultimo has been converted into the Metro Light Rail line to Central stationcite web| work=Metro Light Rail | title=Metro Light Rail Fact Sheet | url= | accessdate=21 April | accessyear=2007] . There has also been a proposal to extend the light rail to Summer Hill utilising the Dulwich Hill to Rozelle branch which is due to close soon. [cite web|url=|title=Light rail proposed for western Sydney|accessdate= 17 October|accessyear=2007|work=Australian Broadcasting Corporation]

Passenger stations

The goods lines once had a number of passenger stations along them, to service workers at local industries and railway facilities:
*Delec Platform
*Hope Street Platform
*Enfield Loco Platform
*Enfield South Platform

ee also

* Railways in Sydney
* CityRail
* Rail transport in New South Wales


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