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When the railways ran all the way to Civic

By johnboy - 1 September 2009 33

Our Government is currently eyeing up tearing up the tracks and flogging off all the land along the lucrative and attractive rail corridor to Kingston. This is particularly ironic as a large part of the value of that land is the rail corridor.

But for a sense of perspective Aussielyn has sent in these historic photos from when the trains ran all the way to Civic.

The first is Railway Bridge destroyed by the 1922 flood of the Molonglo River – thanks to the National Library of Australia.

Here’s another look at that damage:


(Civic railway siding image thanks to ACT Rail Museum, Kingston. he Civic siding was left as an eyesore to be demolished, justifying inaction. NCDC Architects Board in the 1950s put the nail in the coffin of civic rail corridor because of hydraulics & finance.)

Aussielyn asked me to include the following to get everyone thinking:

    Yass Canberra Railway

      Check first schedule of the Seat of Government Acceptance Act 1909 still current.

      I don’t think it is superceded by the 1922 ACT, but I am no lawyer!

      “9. In the event of the Commonwealth constructing a railway within the Territory to its northern boundary, the State shall construct a railway from a point near Yass on the Great Southern Railway to join with the said railway,
      and the Commonwealth and the State shall grant to each other such reciprocal running rights as may be agreed upon, or as in default of agreement may be determined by arbitration, over such portions of that railway as are owned by each.”

What’s Your opinion?


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33 Responses to
When the railways ran all the way to Civic
damien haas 1:14 pm 01 Sep 09

Last time I caught the ‘train’ to melbourne i had to wait for the connecting bus from canberra to yass junction. you no longer wait in the jolimont centre, but on the street in east row. there is no shelter, seating or signs. you just have to sort of guess where the bus will arrive.

i cant think of any other national capital where this occurs.

i think it is probably impractical to bring a full blown heavy rail station ala the upgraded melbourne spencer st station, into civic now, but there is certainly an opportunity to connect a future light rail to the existing heavy rail infrastructure.

caf 12:33 pm 01 Sep 09

The Civic Platform was in present-day Garema Place (according to the captioned photo in the story, right about where the Chess Pit is). This is from the informative article Pandy linked to:

After crossing the Molonglo River, the line swung north-west in long easy curves which straightened out to run on a track somewhat to the south of today’s Amaroo Street, Reid, behind St. John’s Church and the site of the present TAFE College. Beyond that location, the line then passed to the north to a short platform located almost in the centre of what is now Garema Place. Beyond this point, the line branched into a short marshalling yard terminating near Eloura Street, Braddon.

I suspect the platform at present-day Mort St was that marshalling yard. Mort St itself was the route the line was supposed to take towards Yass.

Jerry Atric 9:06 am 01 Sep 09

The proposed railway, on a 1929 map and still there in 1946, leaves Civic on the eastern side of Northbourne ave and the heads out to Belconnen along the Barton Highway, turning south around Mt Rogers and then leaves the territory west of Hall and east of Gooramon Ponds.

Presumably the route was surveyed but there is no indication of it on the NSW side of the border.

Kids played on the remains of the Civic Railway platform in the forties, which was a pile of dirt behind Mort St

Granny 1:30 am 01 Sep 09

I think it would be wonderful to have the railway all the way to Civic again.

Pandy 12:28 am 01 Sep 09

History, maps, photos and more on the railways of the ACT and other engineering works!!

http://www.engineer.org.au/chapter02.html

moneypenny2612 8:32 pm 31 Aug 09

Out of curiosity, where was the civic railway siding located?

Somebody once told me they thought it was located at the top of what is now City Walk (ie, not far from the old Hotel Civic site).

Not sure whether that is accurate…

caf 3:55 pm 31 Aug 09

pptvb: That story is demonstrably false, because the railway bridge over the Molonglo was not rebuilt after it was destroyed in the 20s, and the Civic station remained, unconnected, for many years after this event. The pictures in this RiotACT story show this (note the caption on the picture of the overgrown Civic station says September 1939).

dr phil 3:53 pm 31 Aug 09

pptvb said :

I remember a story an old boss of mine told.
He came to Canberra in 1946, so saw the city grow up(?).
Apparently when the powers-that-be decided to close the Civic rail station they started to remove the track from the Kingston end.
Halfway to Civic someone discovered that there was still a train at the Civic station.
The track had to be re-laid so the train could be driven out.
Only in Canberra.

Not true, they left the train were it was and built the Dickson Tradies around it. lmfao NOT!

pptvb 3:26 pm 31 Aug 09

I remember a story an old boss of mine told.
He came to Canberra in 1946, so saw the city grow up(?).
Apparently when the powers-that-be decided to close the Civic rail station they started to remove the track from the Kingston end.
Halfway to Civic someone discovered that there was still a train at the Civic station.
The track had to be re-laid so the train could be driven out.
Only in Canberra.

aussielyn 2:32 pm 31 Aug 09

The quote was from Section 9 of the First Schedule – Seat of Government Acceptance ACT 1909 which I believe is still current law. The Seat of Government Acceptance ACT 1922 corrects errors but does not, I believe, repeal these words in the First Schedule.
The Commonwealth must build the railway north to the NSW border.
I stand to be contradicted by a competent legal opinion!

Skidbladnir 2:29 pm 31 Aug 09

As confusingly phrased as the Seat of Government Act 1909 and 1922 are, I don’t -think- the latter did anything but make an amendment to clause 5 of the First Schedule of the 1909 Act and then go on to define the shape of the bonus parts of the Territory that had been forgotten about.
NSW then changed Schedule 3 of their Surrender Act 1909 to achieve same.

So that 1909 law says Gungahlin should eventually see price rises, the minute the Commonwealth intends to take NSW up on their generous offer.

(For reference, this is the Map used to define the landlocked part of the Territory by the NSW Dept of Lands for the Seat of Government Surrender Act, the solid red part being the part surrendered. The red outlined part was a different proposal for the ACT to pick up an extra portion of land.)

(Extra history bonus points: the freehold farmers whose names you see on that map all got shafted thanks to Mr King O’Malley, who is responsible for the ACT’s leasehold stance, as he was anti-speculator.
Freeholding farmers received minimal compensation for their lands, as the valuations were all being done by Federal public servants and were told “accept the Departmental valuation or hire a Queens Counsel and appeal to the High Court”.
The educational film explaining how a common-man may choose to exercise his powers granted under Section 51(xxxi) of the Australian Constitution (The Castle), would not be released for another eighty-seven years.)

p1 1:15 pm 31 Aug 09

“9. In the event of the Commonwealth constructing a railway within the Territory to its northern boundary, the State shall construct a railway from a point near Yass on the Great Southern Railway to join with the said railway…

Does this mean that if we build a railway to the ACT/NSW border, NSW is obliged to build it the rest of the way to Yass?

PM 1:00 pm 31 Aug 09

It actually puts a lie to a claim by a recent Canberra Times editorial:

“Indeed, Walter Burley-Griffin envisioned the ACT would have its own light rail network, and that train services from Sydney would terminate in Civic. In the event, the Sydney
line made it only as far as Kingston…”

but it also states:

“Increased congestion on Australian roads, and the likelihood that oil prices will rise as world supplies begin to dwindle, make it inevitable that rail will assume greater
importance in future transport calculations. Just when that might occur is difficult to predict, but any ACT government must continue to ensure that rail corridors are quarantined from redevelopment for the day when a light rail system (or a combination bus-rail system such as Adelaide’s O-Bahn)…”

James-T-Kirk 12:40 pm 31 Aug 09

Surely this is not unusual – I am sure I have seen temporary IT systems in place for what feels like that long 🙂

seekay 10:23 am 31 Aug 09

This is the greatest story ever of public service efficiency.

The temporary rail line to the national capital washed away 87 years ago and….

No doubt someone somewhere is still waiting for the paperwork.

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