John Street Square 

Located within the inner Sydney suburbs upon a 7.9-mile-long light rail route, part of which opened in 1997 and commences at the city's Central Station, this is a site of some architectural note. Comprising two platforms upon a curve, which serve a double-track standard gauge (4-foot 8.5 inches) line, John Street Square sits within a deep rock cutting and is one of five light rail stations in the Pyrmont area of Sydney. Mostly sheltered from the elements by the overhang of an apartment complex, the station is flanked at either end by bridges of a distinctly traditional flavour, suggesting the environs are of much older vintage than it would initially seem.

The origins of the site can be traced back to 1916 when, on 29th May of that year, a double-track goods-only line opened between Wardell Road (today known as "Dulwich Hill", nearly 5-miles west of Central Station and on the Bankstown Line) and Rozelle Bay. The line was 4-miles 61-chains long and formed part of a freight-only network in Sydney, which became known as the "Metropolitan Goods Lines". The general increase in rail traffic during the late 19th and early 20th centuries made it increasingly difficult to accommodate freight services amongst a busy passenger timetable, particularly during the peak hours. The solution devised was the creation of a series of new lines in the metropolis, dedicated to goods traffic and with links to the major trunk lines, which enabled the majority of these trains to be taken off heavy passenger routes.

In January 1922, a 2½-mile-long eastward extension of the 1916 line was opened from Rozelle Bay to Darling Island, in the suburb of Pyrmont. At the latter, a connection was made with a maze of freight lines around Darling Harbour, where a series of warehouses and wharves had been established along the waterside. It was here that much of the country's export trade such as coal, wheat, and wool, was handled, in addition to being a landing and distribution point for imported goods. The harbour had been rail connected from the east since the 1850s, when a goods line from a point near the present Central Station was opened. The commissioning of the line from Rozelle Bay in 1922 created a freight loop through the suburbs.

Indeed, the extension to Darling Island required two tunnels, the first of which was an 815-yard-long bore underneath the Glebe area, an inner suburb of Sydney that was already heavily built up by this time. The second tunnel was that of John Street, 135-yards-long, situated about 1650 track yards north east of the Glebe bore, on the Pyrmont peninsula. Immediately east of this tunnel, upon the course of the 1922 line, is where today's John Street Square station resides.


14th March 2015

 

John Street Square: 14th March 2015

A north easterly view shows that the tracks here are well-spaced to accommodate the concrete supports of an apartment complex. David Glasspool


14th March 2015

 

John Street Square: 14th March 2015

A view looking south west shows the 135-yard-long John Street Tunnel curving round, complete with English Bond Brick fascia. David Glasspool


14th March 2015

 

John Street Square: 14th March 2015

A second south westward view just about includes, on the right, the lift from the Central Station-bound platform, up to the apartment complex. David Glasspool


 

Next: The History Continues >>

 


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