Waverton

This delightful station, situated within Sydney's northern suburbs, must surely rate as one of the city's most prized railway sites. It still oozes character from a bygone era: platform canopies with intricate timber valances, a classic "high level" booking office straddling the tracks, and an adjacent single-track branch line. All combine to give this station a traditional air, even though most of these structures are replicas from a much later time.

The story begins with what became known as the "North Shore Line". This was a single-track railway, 10-miles 69-chains in length, running from Hornsby (about 12-miles north of Sydney as the crow flies) to St Leonards. In July 1887, the New South Wales Government accepted a tender of 112,756 from contractor Mr Pritchard to build the line, this being the lowest cost bid received by Parliament (ref: Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, 9th July 1887). The first sod was ceremonially turned at noon on Wednesday 10th August 1887 at Gore Hill, St Leonards, by Miss Annie Thomasine Parkes, daughter of Sir Henry Parkes. This was in the company of about 500 guests and marked the formal start of construction. As an aside, Sir Henry Parkes is today considered to be the Founding Father of the Federation of Australia.

The North Shore Line opened to traffic on 1st January 1890 without ceremony; the public would have been totally unaware, save for an article in the morning's newspaper. A criticism of the railway from the outset was that it terminated at its southern end some 2.5 miles from the ferries at Milsons Point, so truly in the middle of nowhere. The situation was to be remedied, at least in part, by the passing of the "Milson's Point Extension Railway Bill", which received its second reading in November 1890. This is dealt with in greater detail in the Lavender Bay Railway section, but in brief, the purpose of this scheme was to extend the North Shore Line from St Leonards to Milson's Point, on the edge of Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), where an interchange with the city's ferry services could be made.

Construction of the Milson's Point Extension Railway formally commenced in May 1891. The line was officially commissioned on Saturday 29th April 1893, although contemporary sources suggest regular services commenced on the following Monday. Unlike the earlier Hornsby to St Leonards line, the Milson's Point Extension was a double-track railway from the outset, some 2 miles 65-chains long, descending to the northern shore where it terminated 4-foot 6-inches above sea level. The line had started at St Leonards at 234-foot 9-inches above sea level and required a number of curves to get it down to the shore, averaging a grade of 1 in 50.

Bay Road station, as it was originally known, opened with the line and comprised two platforms either side of the double-track, each 375-feet long by 12-feet wide. On both sides, structures of tongue-and-groove timber construction, complete with pitched roofs and downward-sloping canopies (which lacked valances), were in evidence. Whilst these structures no longer survive, today's replica canopies at the northern ends of the platforms still faithfully reflect their outline. The main station building was erected across the tracks at the northern end of the site, facing onto Bay Road. This, too, was of tongue-and-groove timber construction, keeping weight down, and demonstrated a corrugated pitched roof with gabled ends, sash-style windows, and a facade canopy with ornate iron patterning. The structure was linked to the platforms by staircases on either side. Timber main buildings straddling the tracks was a common feature incorporated to many of Sydney's suburban stations, several of which still exist today. This arrangement was adopted so that tickets could be bought at a single entrance, which had direct links to all platforms. Mr R. S. Smyth was was noted as Bay Road's Station Master in 1897 (ref: Australian Town and Country Journal, 29th May 1897).

On the eastern side of the station was a goods yard. This was equipped with a single siding, which was southward-facing. It was served for 335-feet of its length by a platform, which in reality was the rear edge of that which ran beside the southbound line. A road leading down to the siding was made from Bays Road.

About 100-yards north of the station, a 165-yard-long tunnel was bored, this of which was brick-lined and had fascias in the English Bond Brick style. It was this tunnel which was, for the most part, responsible for a cost overrun on the Milson's Point Extension Railway by 120,000, for a cutting was originally planned at this stage of the line.

Growth of traffic on the North Shore Line, particularly after the opening of the Milson's Point Extension, saw doubling of the route arranged by the Railway Commissioners in August 1899. This would affect 3¾-miles of line from St Leonards (the northern limit of the existing double-track section from Milson's Point) to Lindfield, the latter 1¾-miles north of Chatswood. The St Leonards to Lindfield Railway Bill was submitted to Parliament, which detailed the proposed alterations to stations and the permanent way.


19th March 2015

 

Waverton: 19th March 2015

The splendid high-level booking office, of tongue-and-groove timber cosntruction, dates from a 1993 restoration scheme, which aimed to return the station to its 1893 state as part of the North Shore Line's 100th Anniversary celebrations. Note the ornate patterning of the canopy. David Glasspool


19th March 2015

 

Waverton: 19th March 2015

A northward view shows the ''high-level'' booking office straddling the tracks at the far end. All platform canopies sport splendid spiked timber valances, which were installed in 1993. Behind the white railings on the left is the electrified siding used by stock to reverse onto the Lavendey Bay Line. David Glasspool


19th March 2015

 

Waverton: 19th March 2015

Beyond the bridge, the southern portal of the 165-yard-long Waverton Tunnel can be seen. On the right can be seen the lift shaft of the southbound platform, designed in sympathy with the main station structures. David Glasspool


 

Next >>

 


Return to the Kent Rail Homepage or alternatively, check for Updates.

Website & Copyright information - Links - Contact the Webmaster


 

All content is copyright David Glasspool unless otherwise stated