Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Circular Quay: Sydney Harbour's Railway Station

Circular Quay is where Sydney's train network meets the harbour. While Sydney Ferry services are busy docking at one of the many wharves below Circular Quay Railway Station, trains are constantly bringing a stream of sightseers and commuters to the 1956 built station that proudly overlooks Sydney Harbour.

Circular Quay Railway Station in Sydney as seen from the wharf, 2010.

Following the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932, work commenced in 1936 on linking Sydney's two underground railway lines from St James and Wynyard via an elevated station that would eventually form the City Circle Line. It was the grand vision of Sydney Harbour Bridge designer John Bradfield whose dream it was to see Sydney connected by a world-class railway system. Work on the project halted however following the outbreak of World War II, and sadly our mate Bradfield passed away in 1945, before seeing his dream of a City Circle Line come to completion. Stepping off the train at Circular Quay Station, you are instantly greeted by the sight of the Sydney Harbour. I can think of no other railway station in the world that offers a platform view of landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. For the price of a train fare, a trip to Circular Quay by train should be at the top of every visitors list when they come to Sydney. When you arrive however, take the time to admire the building's polished pink granite facade and see why Circular Quay Railway Station is one of Sydney's most overlooked landmarks.

A Manly Ferry about to depart from Sydney's Circular Quay, 2010.

From Circular Quay you can catch a Sydney Ferry to just about anywhere on Sydney Harbour. For residents of Sydney's Northern Beaches, catching a ferry to the city from Manly is a time honoured tradition. For visitors to Sydney, catching the Manly ferry is the cheapest way to get a harbour cruise. About $16 Australian will get you a return trip past Sydney Heads that gives you about 45 minutes each way to soak in all the sights of Sydney Harbour.

A Sydney double-deck train standing at Circular Quay Railway Station, 2010.

Circular Quay Railway Station was just one of the stations I visited on my Eastern Australian railway adventure. From Brisbane to Sydney and back on the XPT with a stopover in Coffs Harbour and a trip to Manly on the ferry, I saw the entire New South Wales North Coast by train in less than 48 hours. My window seat guide will show you how you can do this for under $440 Australian and turn your train trip into a real railway adventure of your own. If you love the TV show The Amazing Race, you can easily make a side trip to Sydney do-able when flying in or out of Brisbane.

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