Work has commenced on stage one of The Goods Line Project, a railway that is being transformed into an urban park that connects Sydney’s Central Station to Darling Harbour.
Located in inner Sydney, the project includes a pedestrian and cycle network that goes from Railway Square plaza at the southern end of Central Sydney to Darling Harbour, creating a new urban hub and connecting more than 80,000 students, residents and visitors to the harbour’s recreational and pedestrian precinct.
The project will renovate a 500-metre stretch of disused industrial railway track between Central’s Devonshire Street pedestrian tunnel, via Ultimo Road’s heritage railway bridge to the Powerhouse Museum. The former rail line, which has been blocked off since 1854, was once used to transport wool and wheat.
The new corridor is being compared to the internationally renowned High Line in New York City, a public park and walkway constructed on a historic freight train line elevated above the streets of Manhattan’s lower west side. Its objective is to create a great new public space for pop-up events, invigorating the area by bringing new activity into the precinct.
Situated four metres above the existing railway, the project will feature a number of elevated platforms which can be used for different public activities, including entertainment, recreation, sports and study. In addition, it will connect arts, education and cultural buildings along Sydney’s Cultural Ribbon.
The Goods Line’s design, created by ASPECT Studios and Choi Ropiha Fighera (CHROFI) for the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, aims to capture and re-interpret the original heritage corridor.
The construction is divided into two stages – North and South – with work starting last month on the Northern section. That stretch is approximately 250 metres long and extends from the Ultimo Rail underbridge to the Powerhouse Museum, running parallel to Harris Street.
The next stage will be to redesign The Goods Line South, which runs from the Ultimo Road underbridge through to Railway Square. That stage will also feature recreational spaces and a community garden scheme. In total, the northern and the southern sections will be approximately 500 metres long.
The stretch includes many of Sydney’s key cultural and educational institutions located along its edges, including the Powerhouse Museum, The ABC, TAFE – Sydney Institute, the City of Sydney Council, Infrastructure NSW and the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).
The project aims to create a new, bustling environment, adding urban greenery, UTS study pods, pop-up bars, cafes, performance stages, free WIFI and electronic screens, offering plenty of opportunities for spaces to be used from a moonlight cinema to fashion shows.
Work on The Goods Line Northern section is expected to be completed in November 2014 to coincide with the opening of UTS' Frank Gehry-designed Dr Chau Chak Wing Business School. The construction of the southern section of the line will not start until early next year.