Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,103 pages of information and 233,633 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Sydney Railway

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1849 October 10th. Sydney Railway Company incorporated to build a railway from Sydney to Parramatta. Capital was raised, shares were sold, and a route was surveyed. Charles Cowper selected as the first manager.

1851 William Wallis appointed contractor for the line from Ashfield to Haslem's Creek.

1854 William Randle was contractor in Cleveland Paddock.

The original engineer appointed was Francis Webb Wentworth-Sheilds, an Irishman.

1850 December. Advert for a replacement for F. W. Sheilds as Engineer to the Company.[1]

Shields had persuaded the New South Wales legislature that all railways in the colony should be 5ft 3in gauge (in use in Ireland) and an Act on 27 July 1852 was passed.

After Sheilds resigned due to difficulties, a Scot named James Wallace was appointed. Wallace persuaded the legislature to repeal the previous act and replace it, on 4 August 1853, with one requiring a gauge of 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in - the current standard gauge. William Randle was the contractor.

1855 September. The property of the Sydney Railway Company was transferred to the government of New South Wales.

1855 September 26th. The line opened from Sydney to Parramatta Junction (near Granville Station), with stations at Newtown, Ashfield, Burwood and Homebush. The Sydney terminal station was on the south side of Devonshire Street, just south of the current Central Station. The details at that time were: 750,000 yards of excavation; 27 bridges and 50 culvets; one viaduct over Long Cove Creek; and the tunnel at Chippendale; 2 terminal stations; and 4 intermediate ones; besides workshops and other buildings. Four engines made by Robert Stephenson and Co with carriages from Wright and Co. Mention of William Wallace, Chief Engineer, and Joseph Brady, Resident Engineer.[2]

became part of New South Wales Government Railways

1892 The line was quadrupled to Flemington.

The line saw its most dramatic change in the period 1926-1927, when the section from Redfern to Homebush was expanded from 4 to 6 tracks by the addition of 2 tracks initially intended for non-electric express trains.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Sydney Morning herald 13th December 1850
  2. The Sydney Morning Herald 27th September 1855