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The Goods Line, Sydney’s New Urban Walkway

The Goods Line is a partly elevated urban walkway from Sydney Central Station to Darling Harbour that follows the route of the once bustling but long neglected railway line.

After completion of a $15 million transformation, The Goods Line re-opened to the public on Sunday 30 August 2015 as a walkway, linear park and open space.

 
 

Characteristics:
– Distance: 500 metres
– Time: 0.5 hours
– Difficulty: very easy
– Kid friendly: yes
– Suitable for running: yes

Highlights:
– Learn about Sydney’s industrial history
– Excellent photo opportunities
– Unique architecture
– Visit Powerhouse Museum
– Visit Darling Harbour

Getting to The Goods Line

The walking trail starts right at the end of the Devonshire Street Tunnel at Central Station so it’s best to get there by train.

Exit Central station at South Concourse where the Devonshire Street Tunnel starts. Walk through the tunnel all the way to Railway Square where you need to continue into the second part of the tunnel. This will then soon flow into The Goods Line where you’ll see the old train track and also a yellow UTS sign.

The image on the left shows the South Concourse exit at Central Station from where you can go into the Devonshire Street Tunnel. The second image shows the signage at the first exit of the tunnel. This is where you need to keep going straight into the second part of the tunnel.

Getting to The Goods Line

Alternatively, if you’re not arriving via Central Station, you can also walk to the Railway Square entrance to Central Station, go down the escalators, and you’ll end up at the end of the tunnel.

If you’re driving (not recommended), parking is available at several car parks in and around Darling Harbour and Chinatown.

History of The Goods Line

The Goods Line was once part of a busy freight rail system that started operation in the middle of the 19th century. This rail line ran from Dulwich Hill to Sydney Central, via big rail yards at Rozelle and Darling Harbour. The rail line was mainly used to transport wool, meat and wheat into the area.

The last official train left Darling Harbour on the Goods Line in 1984. In the following years, the line was occasionally used by steam locomotives to transport goods between the Powerhouse Museum and Darling Harbour. Some parts of the old line have also been re-used for the Sydney Light Railway.

The goods line with table tennis tables

The Goods Line was once a sober industrial area, but with the redevelopment, including various educational, cultural and media institutions, it is now a vibrant urban hub that offers a very pleasant atmosphere.

The pedestrian walkway, park and public space includes bike paths, table tennis tables, study pods, outdoor work spaces, playgrounds and a extra large, bright yellow communal table. Parts of the old train track have been preserved which you can clearly see as you walk along the Goods Line.

The goods line train track

Parts of old train track still visible

The Goods Line Project is very similar to the popular New York High Line, an urban renewal development that turned a section of an historic Manhattan freight line into a public park and walkway.

 
 

The Walk

The Goods Line officially starts right at the end of the Devonshire Street pedestrian tunnel (follow signs for South Concourse and UTS) under Sydney Central Station and George Street, and runs all the way to the Powerhouse Museum site in Darling Harbour. The Goods Line runs parallel to Harris Street, through the heart of Ultimo.

The Goods Line: Dr Chau Chak Wing building

Dr Chau Chak Wing building

The Goods Line is a shared pedestrian and cycle path, and travels past important educational, cultural and media institutions, such as Sydney TAFE, the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the ABC and the Powerhouse Museum.

One of the most eye catching buildings is UTS’s Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, designed by Canadian American architect Frank Gehry, which has a very unique architecture. An estimated 320,000 custom designed bricks were used to construct this innovative building that looks like a squashed brown paper bag.

The Goods Line interlocking machine

Interlocking machine from the former Ultimo Street signal box

Halfway the walk, you will cross The Ultimo Road railway underbridge, the oldest iron bridge in Australia, built in 1879. It now has a big neon-lit “The Goods Line” sign attached to it that looks great at night.

The Ultimo Street signal box and interlocking machine were still in full operation up until the early 1980’s. It’s amazing to see how much has changed in such a relatively short amount of time.

The Goods Line Ultimo Road railway underbridge

Ultimo Road railway underbridge – photo credit: powerhousemuseum.com

At the end of the walk, you can continue your Sydney adventure in the Powerhouse museum, a fun and educational destination where you can explore the interactive side of science, technology and science.

You can also spend the rest of the day in much-loved Darling Harbour with its many cafe’s, restaurants, playgrounds and regular events being held.

The goods line: powerhouse museum

Powerhouse Museum

 
 
 

Summary

The Goods Line is a very welcome, green addition to an already beautiful city that will be very popular with local office workers, students and tourists. With a length of only 0.5 km, the Goods Line is a short stroll, but it’s the perfect way to cross the city from Central Station to vibrant Darling Harbour.

it is also a great place to enjoy a quiet and green little oasis, away from the busy city streets while still being close to everything.

The Goods Line Map

At Central Station, follow the Devonshire Street pedestrian tunnel towards Railway Square, which will flow into The Goods Line.

The Goods Line map

Google Map:

 
 
The Goods Line track

The Goods Line

 
Leave a comment below 10 comments
Richard Matthews - November 2, 2016

We enjoyed our stroll along the line today whilst visiting Sydney. It is certainly up to the standard of Manhattens skyline.

The only downside was we couldn’t find the beginning at central station and the red bus guy hadn’t heard of it! Some signage in and around george st st/ Pitt st say would be useful and of course the official Sydney map needs updating. We eventually found our way on at ultimate road so missed about 50% of the route

Still enjoying Sydney though.

Cheers

Reply
    Best Sydney Walks - November 2, 2016

    Thanks for letting us know, Richard. It’s true that the start of the Goods Line can be a bit of a challenge to work out. I should go back there and update the website accordingly. Thanks again!

    Reply
Andrew - December 17, 2016

Hi there,

I’m just wondering about wheelchair accessibility and The Goods Line. Where do you find the start of it? Continue on from Devonshire St Tunnel and under Railway Square?

Thanks for tips and advice.
Andrew

Reply
    Best Sydney Walks - December 18, 2016

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for bringing this up. I actually don’t know so I should go back there, find out more, and update the website accordingly.

    I did however find this link:
    http://everydaycaring.com.au/2015/09/01/the-goods-line-disability-access/

    I’m not sure how reliable it is but it says that the Goods Line disability access is delivered via a ramp to Paddy’s Market in Hay Street.

    Hope this helps!

    Reply
      Andrew - December 19, 2016

      Thanks for the info, I appreciate it. Think I will just go and check it myself too. The world’d be boring if it was flat 🙂

      Reply
Martine - December 25, 2016

Hi there, Just wondering if there are different access points to the walk and if it is open all the time?
Thanks

Reply
    Best Sydney Walks - December 25, 2016

    Hi Martine, yes you can start The Goods Line also from the other end at Powerhouse Museum via Harris Street. Another good access point is from Mary Ann St next to the Dr Chau Chak Wing building. You can also access via the Ultimo Road railway underbridge. Good luck!

    Reply
Ian Clark - February 6, 2017

Couldn’t find the Goods Line Walkway from Central Station end. No signage at all. Was trying to walk along it to Powerhouse Museum, as your webpage encourages. No one we asked who worked at Central Station admitted to having heard of it, except one who said it was near the YHA. But he neglected to say there were two YHA’s nearby (so we found out later), and the one we went to had no one behind the desk who’d heard if it.

Ended up packing on to the crowded light rail that everyone pointed out to us. The present set-up is not functional, and should be an emparrassment. Wasted 45 minutes for nothing. At the very least some (any!) simple basic signage, please. Previous comments indicate that this is by now an old complaint. Give someone a nudge or two in the ribs please.

Reply
    Best Sydney Walks - February 6, 2017

    Hi Ian,

    Sorry to hear you had troubles locating the starting point of The Goods Line. Please note though that this website is not responsible for any signage, this is ultimately the City of Sydney council’s responsibility. All we can do is write about these walks and encourage people to go outdoors. I would recommend you write to the council and urge them to install some proper signage because, like you said, at the moment this is seriously lacking. I don’t understand why though because there was a lot of hype around the opening of The Goods Line and now it seems they are hiding it from the public.

    To sort this matter out, I went back to the starting point of The Goods Line this afternoon. What was mentioned in this webpage is still correct: the walk starts at the end of the Devonshire Street Tunnel. But because there are literally no signs for The Goods Line, this can get very confusing indeed. I have added a more detailed “Getting There” section above which will hopefully be helpful should you go back there or for others in the future.

    In short: exit Central station at South Concourse where the Devonshire tunnel starts. Go into the tunnel and walk all the way to the end and keep going straight into the second part of the tunnel. This will then flow into The Goods Line. You’ll see the old train track and also a big yellow UTS sign. If you’re not arriving via Central Station, you can also walk to the Railway Square entrance to Central Station which is at the end of the tunnel.

    All the best.

    Reply
Fay - August 5, 2017

Our group had no trouble, though we met under the clock at Central Interstate Railway Concourse, a well known meeting spot in Sydney. We then walked out to the street level and veered left where we came to the steps leading down to the second part of the tunnel, whcih leads to the Goods Line, Nice coffee shop inside the Paper Bag Building and toilets, this is part of UTS and worth a vist. Lovely sculptures downstairs. We then walk past the Powerhouse Museum (Don’t follow the Darling Harbour sign) and go down past Wentworth Park Greyhound track, across parkland towards Fish Markets, more toilets, We then head around the foreshore at Pyrmont, past the Casino, you can get buses back from here to Central or continue and come out at the other side of Darling Harbour and catch a ferry to the Quay from there, You could follow the signs at Darling Harbour to the Goods line and go back past the other side of the Powerhouse Museum and back onto the Goods line.

Reply

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