The skyline above Sydney’s busiest train station is being transformed as an 80 meter roof weighing 330 tonnes is being erected across nine platforms.

Designed by architects Woods Bagot and John McAslan + Partners in conjunction with principal contractor Laing O’Rourke, the roof over the northern Concourse at Central Station is almost two thirds complete after workers installed the steel girders – known affectionately as the ‘hockey sticks’ – and cassette roof sections.

Set to extend from the northern end of platform eight to the southern end of platform sixteen, the new roof measures 80 meters in length and 40 meters in width.

To enable natural sunlight to filter into the station, the roof will sit more than sixteen meters above the ground.

A critical aspect of the design involved an orientation which simplified wayfinding to all parts of the station from the grand concourse.

Design features, structural elements and materials were chosen to aid navigation and make passing across the station and through to new Sydney Metro platforms which are located 27 meters underground a more intuitive experience.

The form of the new roof has been derived from the vaulted profiles which are already a dominant feature of the existing heritage buildings.

Materials were selected to complement the heritage of the original station, built in 1906, with the same natural aluminium finish as the historic grand concourse to ensure that the roof will blend with the concourse as it ages.

Details about the roof include:

  • 58 cassette sections being installed, each weighing around five tonnes.
  • Largest cassettes are 16m long and 4.5m wide.
  • Eight girders being installed, each weighing 30 tonnes.
  • Longest girders are near the Station Master’s Office, measuring 21 metres long.
  • 21,000 square metres of existing canopy was demolished for the new roof.
  • Roof has perforated aluminium cladding panels, 21 distinctive diamond shape skylights, lighting and speakers.

The roof structure was manufactured and preassembled in the Hunter Valley town of Kurri Kurri before large sections were transported to Sydney in the middle of the night.

The new roof is part of a broader upgrade of Sydney’s Central Station, which in turn is part of the massive Sydney Metro City & Southwest project which is expected to revolutionise rail transport across metropolitan Sydney and deliver 31 metro stations along with 66 kilometres of standalone metro railway systems by the time the project is complete in 2024.

Aside from the roof,  the remake of Central Station will include to new underground Metro platforms along with a landmark Central Walk – a new underground pedestrian concourse to help customers connect between light rail, suburban and inter-city trains, the Metro and buses.

Excavation work to build the underground Metro platforms “box” has reached 18 metres below ground level and preparations are in place to break into the tunnel in the coming months, as workers head for the final depth of 30 metres.

Sections of the roof will be progressively installed over the Northern Concourse until the end of the year, with the Central Walk expected to be open to customers in 2022.


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