Milsons Point

 

Situated on the northern approaches to one of the world's most famous landmarks, today's Milsons Point station is the third site to have carried that name. Opened in connection with Sydney Harbour Bridge, the station replaced an earlier terminus located on the water's edge at Lavender Bay, on the North Shore.

The line between Hornsby and St Leonards was formally commissioned, initially as a single-track, on 1st January 1890. This was followed by a double-track extension, 2-miles 65-chains (some sources suggest 78-chains) in length, descending to Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), which opened on 29th April 1893. Thus came into existence the very first Milson's Point station, which served as an interchange between trains and ferries, the latter of which monopolised traffic across the water between North and South Shores. Then, on 13th May 1915, a very short southward extension was opened to a Lavender Bay terminus station, when it was expected that a crossing over the water, known as the North Shore Bridge, would be authorised. Six weeks later, the Government decided that the bridge would not go ahead after all, so the previous Milson's Point station was reverted to (ref: Evening News, Sydney, 28th July 1924).

In December 1920, it was announced that construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge had been given the go-ahead by Government, at an estimated cost of 5,000,000. The implications for the railway were significant. As part of the bridge scheme, the North Shore Line was to be extended southwards from Bay Road (later known as "Waverton"), over the harbour, after which it would pass through a series of tunnel bores to new underground platforms at Wynyard and Town Hall, before finally reaching Central Station. A new station on the bridge's northern approaches would replace the existing terminus at the end of the Lavender Bay line, whilst an additional station (which became "North Sydney") would be opened between the former and Bay Road. Given the additional traffic a direct connection through to Central was expected to bring, the North Shore Line was also to be quadrupled between Bay Road and Chatswood.

Bridge construction finally commenced on 28th July 1923, this of which was followed by electrification from Hornsby to Milson's Point in August 1927. A second station by the name of Milson's Point had been completed on the night of 28th July 1924, again on the edge of Lavender Bay, a short distance from the previous terminus, to enable the site of the latter to be taken over by the contractor building the bridge (ref: The Border Watch, 19th January 1928).

Sydney Harbour Bridge was formally opened on 19th March 1932, new stations at Milson's Point and North Sydney coming into use at this time. The new Milson's Point station, the third to be given this title, was initially going to be called "Kirribilli", after the locality, but the decision was later taken to continue using the name of the original terminus (ref: The Sydney Morning Herald, 19th March 1932). The 1932 Milson's Point station comprised two identical island platforms, each served by two tracks. These, however, were separated by a 57-foot wide roadway: the island platform on the eastern side of the bridge's approaches served tram lines, which went as far as Wynyard in the south, whilst splitting out into a number of tentacles in North Sydney; the western island served the double-track of the extended North Shore Line. The two islands were protected by 230-foot-long hipped roof canopies, demonstrating riveted steel valances, and the concourses for both were located below track level, linked together by a tunnel under the road. The extension of the North Shore Line from the southern end of Waverton station, through to the then new site at Wynyard, covered a distance of 2 miles 33 chains.

On Tuesday 15th January 1957, the Transport Commissioner announced the early replacement of Sydney's trams by buses. The last tram ran over the Harbour Bridge from Wynyard to the North Shore on 29th June 1958; the last day of tram operation in the city in general was on 25th February 1961. The North Shore tram line closure saw the eastern island platform at Milson's Point become redundant, and its site and the course of the tram tracks over the bridge were soon converted into additional road lanes, these formally being opened on 2nd July 1959 (ref: The Australasian Engineer, July 1959). Drawings from around the time of the Harbour Bridge's conception suggest that all four railway tracks carried over the water were originally intended to meet at the platforms of North Sydney station.

Today, the remaining North Shore Line platform at Milsons Point remains largely faithful to its 1932 appearance. The original canopy design is still in existence, and the island platform continues to be accessed from stairs linked to a concourse which runs under the the Harbour Bridge's northern approaches. Of course, one change which has occurred is that of the name: the apostrophe has been dropped. Early correspondence, even that around the time of the Harbour Bridge's completion, referred to the station and area beside Lavender Bay as "Milson's Point", but today, the station's name signs omit the apostrophe. It is not quite clear when this alteration was made.

 


12th March 2014

 

Milsons Point: 12th March 2014

A northward view from the Harbour Bridge's eastern walkway shows the remaining island platform of 1932 origin, upon an elevated track bed. The two car lanes in the immediate foreground sit upon the site once occupied by the pair of tram tracks. David Glasspool


17th March 2015

 

Milsons Point: 17th March 2015

When did the apostrophe disappear? Correspondence around the time of the station's opening referred to it as ''Milson's Point''.  Not many stations worldwide have such a famous landmark on their approaches. David Glasspool


17th March 2015

 

Milsons Point: 17th March 2015

A ''Waratah'' Class double-decker unit has arrived with a Hornsby via Gordon service. The first of these eight-vehicle formations entered service on 1st July 2011. David Glasspool


 

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