Move Canberra station to Fyshwick, says business group

Ian Bushnell 5 November 2019 84
Canberra Railway Station

Canberra Railway Station at Kingston: Moving it would free up the land for development in East Lake. Photos: File.

The ACT Government should again consider moving the Canberra railway station in Kingston to Ipswich Street in Fyshwick, according to a local business group.

The move is included in the Fyshwick Business Association’s Budget submission, which also calls for a land swap that would see a proposed recycling centre, expanded metal recycling plant and associated rail freight terminal in Ipswich Street relocate to Hume.

This would open up the possibility of moving the rail passenger terminal in Kingston to the Ipswich Street site, freeing up an enormous parcel of land for a new development in Kingston as part of the East Lake housing proposal, the association says.

Association president Rob Evans says the Government had first considered the idea some years ago as part of the East Lake Renewal draft plan, and the association believed it was a great idea.

“The Ipswich Street block is ready-made for it,” Mr Evans said. “It makes a lot of sense to have the airport, rail and buses connected in such a central place as Fyshwick, where you can go to anywhere in Canberra at a whim in any direction.”

Moving Canberra Railway Station from Kingston was first mooted by then Planning Minister Andrew Barr in 2007 when he unveiled the East Lake Renewal draft plan.

It provided for options to relocate the railway from Kingston to possible sites near the Monaro Highway, or Newcastle Street west near what is now the Canberra Outlet Centre, or Newcastle Street east.

According to the East Lake draft report, moving the railway station would enable the development of a large parcel of land now occupied by railway yards in Kingston to be integrated within the urban fabric of East Lake. A corridor for future light rail would be retained.

Mr Evans said the association had consulted with a number of highly prominent people in town planning before deciding to put it back on the table for the ACT Government to consider.

He said the windfall from the sale and development of the Kingston station land would more than cover the cost of developing a new station in Fyshwick.

He said that with the current controversy over the waste proposals it would be a win for all parties if they were moved to Hume, which was also in need of investment.

The association believes waste facilities have no place in a ‘modern and evolving’ Fyshwick but Hume is the ideal location.

“We believe that there is a strong argument for the logical, alternative solution of relocating the waste handling/transfer facilities to appropriately zoned greenfield locations in the industrial suburb of Hume (adjacent to or near the rail facility),” the submission says.

“Of course, this would necessitate some improved infrastructure within the Hume precinct to accommodate the new facilities – this would be required here in Fyshwick anyway, although we believe that any such work could be undertaken more efficiently and economically in Hume.”

It says the idea is consistent with the ACT Government’s own strategic policy objectives of creating a resource recycling centre of innovation at Hume.

“It is good policy and ought to be consistently implemented,” the association says.

Rob Evans

Rob Evans presenting at Fyshwick Business Council Meeting.

It says a land swap for 16 Ipswich Street, where the recycling plant and rail is proposed, would be a clear and tangible commitment to that policy.

The association argues that waste collection contractors already travel to Mugga Lane/Hume, and the move would keep those trucks out of Fyshwick.

Hume also has room for the recycling industry to grow while any expansion in Fyshwick would come at the expense of existing high-value businesses.

Concentrating waste and recycling facilities in Hume would also minimise the potential impacts on the inner south Canberra community in Narrabundah, Kingston and Griffith.

Mr Evans said the Territory had a large number of sites available in Hume that are directly adjacent to the old rail line on the NSW/ACT border.

“The FBA believes that it would be preferable to reactivate this line and explore a range of additional economic development opportunities that rail freight could generate to this location given the myriad transport and logistical operations already in Hume,” he said.

Adam Perry’s Access Recycling is part of the Capital Recycling Solutions (CRS) consortium planning to develop a waste processing facility on Ipswich street and a recently approved rail freight terminal.

Access also wants to upgrade its metal recycling facility next door in Lithgow Street.

The recycling proposals have been the catalyst for the establishment of the Fyshwick Business Association which sees the light industrial precinct as home to a more gentrified business community that is incompatible with a waste transfer and recycling industry.

The issue is complicated by separate development applications for operations that the association believes will eventually be related.

The planning authority is still assessing CRS’s environmental impact statement for what it says will be a state-of-the-art recycling plant and transfer station that will help solve the ACT’s waste problem, and the Access plan to modernise its facility.

Mr Perry argues the Access proposal is consistent with the area, which is surrounded by other industrial sites.

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84 Responses to Move Canberra station to Fyshwick, says business group
jwinston jwinston 7:21 am 25 Sep 21

To kickstart the economy again, create more jobs and clear the roads of most of the trucks the federal government should get the nations rail system working again now!

Pat Gagel Pat Gagel 9:24 pm 24 Sep 21

Even when announced in 1963, the current station was reported as ‘temporary’. The long term station was earmarked for Pialligo, which aligns with the 1965 survey for the Yass line through the Majura Valley.

NSW Railways have always begrudgingly provided a service to Canberra. Can’t wait until the day when we run our own ‘regional’ service and the down is measured from Canberra rather than Sydney. I live in hope….. Let’s end Australia’s biggest cul-de-sac.

Happy to supply the 1963 article, although it is readily accessible via Trove.

Pat Gagel Pat Gagel 9:19 pm 24 Sep 21

There is still the ‘Government Siding’ between Yallorn and Whyalla Streets in Fyshwick. Question is, since self government, who owns it? Is it still Federal or now ACT Government owned?

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 9:00 pm 07 Nov 19

Ipswich Street, or something close to it, could work – as has already been noted, the idea of moving the station eastward has been floating around for some time, for obvious revenue/re-development reasons.

A terminus in Civic is a fantasy, the logistics would be a nightmare – that option evaporated many decades ago.

Aldith Graves Aldith Graves 2:26 am 07 Nov 19

Part of the problem with the train for travellers with concessions is that the public transport (buses) don’t run to the station in time for the early train to Goulburn & Sydney so people catch buses to Sydney instead.

Relocating the station to somewhere more remote would make it even less attractive.

Janae Strange Janae Strange 10:37 pm 06 Nov 19

Move it to the airport or Majura & have an interchange to the city. That would be doable from the Queanbeyan station & give other public transport options from Queanbeyan.

Bella Morgan Bella Morgan 10:24 pm 06 Nov 19

Forget it. It should stay where it is

Barbara Belmonte Barbara Belmonte 8:05 pm 06 Nov 19

Just a couple of questions (I'm totally out of touch) - is the railway timetable efficient and reliable enough to invest in any redevelopment?? Do many people actually catch a train?? and where do they travel to??

    Kate Cuthbert Kate Cuthbert 8:41 pm 06 Nov 19

    Barbara Belmonte id assume people catch it to sydney? Not sure though.

    Barbara Belmonte Barbara Belmonte 8:43 pm 06 Nov 19

    Kate - No, I don't know either. Would be interesting to know how many people actually catch the train to Sydney on a regular basis.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 10:24 pm 06 Nov 19

    I caught the train a few days ago in the evening from Sydney. I don't think this is the most popular daily train time; I was told that the midday train in the most popular. Still, the evening train had lots of passengers. Every time I use it it seems popular. Much better than the bus to Sydney, which I last used a couple of weeks ago.

    Jon Belmonte Jon Belmonte 11:43 pm 06 Nov 19

    Chris MacDonald

    Buses to Sydney central station from Canberra, cheaper and faster then the train. More regular also

    Brenda Hodgson Brenda Hodgson 6:22 am 07 Nov 19

    Julie Macklin I would love to catch the train to Sydney but I live in Gungahlin,so it costs a lot to catch a taxi there,no other way of getting there that early in the morning.

    I wish the railway was closer.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:15 am 07 Nov 19

    Jon Belmonte I agree with what Chris wrote, "the buses have less space, no opportunity to walk around, tiny loo and no buffet car. I prefer the train." The buses are not always quicker than the train. I have been in a bus caught in Sydney traffic, and the trip was five or more hours. I agree the bus trip can be cheaper, and until I qualified for a Senior's discount, this was the ONLY reason I would take the bus over the train, because for all other reasons, but price, the train is better. The only reason now that I would catch the bus (and did recently) is that if I needed to get to the Sydney International Airport, and it avoids mucking around with the Sydney 400 bus to avoid the fee to use the train station at the airport. Also now, unless I get a special with the bus, as in that recent trip $15 to the International Airport, the train is also cheaper for me, being $28.

Michael Drew Michael Drew 6:56 pm 06 Nov 19

Going to Fyshwick will cater for a certain type of clientele.

Josh Beveridge Josh Beveridge 5:54 pm 06 Nov 19

Yes move the station, move it to the Canberra Railway Musuem site and incorporate it into an upgraded commercial and heritage rail precinct with a link to the Light Rail on its way to the Airport.

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 5:57 pm 06 Nov 19

    Josh Beveridge to Fyshwick??? No stations in the world are in the industrial centre!!!! City centre....

    Josh Beveridge Josh Beveridge 8:16 pm 06 Nov 19

    Canberra Railway Musuem is in Geijera St Kingston....across the paddock near the station.

    Suzanne Tunks Suzanne Tunks 9:30 pm 06 Nov 19

    Margaret Freemantle Fyshwick has changed dramatically in the past few years and is home to a diverse and cosmopolitan range of businesses. It’s not the industrial area it was years ago. There are also large areas of land already earmarked for residential areas very close to where the prepared new terminal would be. It’s a good option 😊

Barrie Ridgway Barrie Ridgway 4:34 pm 06 Nov 19

and make it harder for the general public to use

Ian McTaggart Ian McTaggart 3:58 pm 06 Nov 19

For who's benefit?

Mal Elliott Mal Elliott 3:55 pm 06 Nov 19

Barr Ba will jump at this as it will mean more hovel dwellers to bill for rates.

I agree with JC that is should be pushed into Civic and connect with the tram set.

Marg Christensen Marg Christensen 3:27 pm 06 Nov 19

Taking the rail line underground at the ACT border would enable the ACT Government to generate a lot of income to defray some of the costs by selling the Railway corridor thru Fyshwick & Kingston.

Boweavil Kat Boweavil Kat 2:56 pm 06 Nov 19

No, just like every city in the world make the train station in the CBD

Julia Felton Julia Felton 2:52 pm 06 Nov 19

At a time people are being told to use public transport and not their cars why would you move the train station to somewhere like Fyshwick where it is harder to get buses to the station. Honestly the ACT Government needs to start looking after the residents of this town instead of their own pockets and corporations.

    James Adams James Adams 5:42 pm 06 Nov 19

    Julia Felton This is a business group’s idea, not the ACT Government’s.

    Julia Felton Julia Felton 6:18 pm 06 Nov 19

    James Adams regardless it is the government who makes the decision. It is about money not the public

Trevor Watson Trevor Watson 2:38 pm 06 Nov 19

This has been on the plans for years. The entire area including the Causeway housing estate. The real plan was to cut the rail service back to Queanbeyan to save the ACT the costs of having to pay for track maintenance,staff salaries etc. You are all to young to remember when the 9km of track from Qbn to Cbr was run by Commonwealth Railways. Paying for the snail rail has long been a thorn in the side of the ACT government.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 12:27 pm 07 Nov 19

    Care to show where in any ACT budget the supposed costs are borne by the ACT.

    Think you will find that in the mid 80's, presumably in the lead up to self government, the station and the line were wholly handed over to the SRA of NSW not the ACT.

    Trevor Watson Trevor Watson 1:26 pm 07 Nov 19

    Ashley Wright the SRA no longer exists. Countrylink run regional rail services in NSW. I dont have access to the ACT budget however I'll bet you a ticket to Sydney the ACT government are subsidising the ACT rail connection. I recall both Stanhope and Barr bleating about the impost on the ACT taxpayers.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 12:29 pm 10 Nov 19

    Trevor Watson of course SRA doesn’t exist I said the line was handed over to them in the 80’s. And BTW CountryLink doesn’t exist anymore either and i can assure you the ACT government doesn’t provide a cent to the running of the line. As I mentioned before self government the federal government handed that to NSW which is where it has remained. ACT gov has never had any financial interest in the station, line or service.

    Oh and if you have access to the internet you have access to the budget. It is published in full every year.

Jonathan Clarke Jonathan Clarke 2:34 pm 06 Nov 19

Should move back to Civic

Nell Feneck Nell Feneck 2:31 pm 06 Nov 19

Does andy pandy and his minions wanna build a high rise full of units on the prime site - ?

Victoria Clark-Matthews Victoria Clark-Matthews 1:58 pm 06 Nov 19

Not the right place too industrial and congested - keep the Station in Kingston!

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