Friday, 3 June 2016

Hamilton: Newcastle's historic railway station

Hamilton Railway Station lies 164 km north of Sydney's Central Station, and following the closure of Newcastle Railway Station in December 2014 remains the only station still in operation on the Newcastle Line. Beyond Hamilton, a new transport interchange is scheduled to open across the road from the former Wickham Railway Station in 2017, but until then, it seems Hamilton Railway Station is enjoying a flurry of activity with each arriving train. With buses waiting to cart passengers into the heart of the city, its a case of all change for Newcastle.

East of Hamilton Station in May 2016, work is well underway on the new Wickham Transport Interchange.

During a visit to Newcastle in May 2016, the area immediately east of Hamilton Station was a hive of activity due to the construction of the new station interchange at Wickham. Arriving trains would disappear beneath the Pacific Highway overpass from platform 2 to wait until their scheduled departure time drew near, before reappearing on platform 1 to form the next service to Sydney or the Hunter Valley. On cue, one of the diesel powered Hunter Railcar sets arrives at Hamilton. Having only been recently repainted into the NSW TrainLink livery, these 2 car trains operate local Hunter Valley services between Newcastle, umm, try Hamilton, and either Dungog or Scone.

I shot this Hunter Railcar set looking resplendent in its new NSW TrainLink livery in May 2016. 

The decision to close Newcastle Railway Station and truncate the line in Newcastle West brought a strong feeling of resentment from local travelers. However, the new transport interchange promises an open state-of-the-art plaza constructed of steel and glass which will provide an interchange with buses and a brand-new light rail system connecting with downtown Newcastle. I for one am glad that they decided to leave Hamilton Station just the way it is. For it truly is a historic railway station.

Hamilton Railway Station as viewed from the Beaumont St crossing in May 2016.

Hamilton Railway Station first opened in 1872, and the station building on platform 1 dates back to 1875. Situated on busy Beaumont Street, the station is watched over by the Hamilton Junction Signal Box and the Beaumont Street level crossing. The 1897 Victorian style signal box is today one of the oldest surviving mechanical signal boxes in Australia. An overhead pedestrian walkway connects the two platforms, while ramps provide for street level access for wheelchairs and the elderly.

Hamilton Junction Signal Box overlooks the junction of the Central Coast and Hunter Lines.

Hamilton really is an attractive little railway station, and its brightly painted brickwork makes the station buildings an integral part of the Beaumont Street landscape. It goes without saying that the next time I visit Newcastle, it will be to ride aboard the new light rail to the shores of Nobbys Beach, and wander the modernness of the new Wickham Station. But for one sunny winter's morning in 2016, Hamilton Railway Station enveloped me in the charm of a bygone era. As for my favourite image I photographed of Hamilton Station? It is forever immortalized in the pages of my latest book, 30 Years Chasing Trains.

100 pages. Full colour print & eBook version available exclusively through

See also; Newcastle: The historic beach city

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