26 May / 2014

Light rail in Deakin

There was a time when a light rail line ran from behind the Deakin shops to all the main centres of Canberra.

At the end of World War I, construction of Canberra accelerated. A network of narrow-gauge railways was built to link the Yarralumla Brickworks to the main building sites and to the mainline railway terminus at Kingston.

This map (on display at the Canberra Railway Museum at Kingston) shows that the main brickworks rail line followed a line that would become Adelaide Avenue to just past Hopetoun Circuit before heading more northward to the Brickworks.

Another line branched south with a loop through Deakin, then back to Yarralumla and around Kintore Crescent to the brickworks.

This Deakin light rail branch was to serve the excavation of valuable white clay in the area of the Deakin Anticline geological site that now lies behind the Deakin shops, between the Soccer Club and The Grange retirement village.

Steam engines pulled the trains, bringing coal, the Deakin clay, and other materials to the Brickworks, then taking finished bricks, tiles and pipes back along Adelaide Avenue, round State Circle, and on to buildng sites at the Hotel Canberra, Old Parliament House, other Parkes buildings including the old Post Office, Kingston, and across the Molonglo valley to Civic.

These construction railways were all pulled up as the initial construction phase of Canberra ended.


Click the map to see full size

The main railway was also extended from Kingston to Bunda Street/Garema Place in Civic, passing through Campbell and Reid, and planned to run up through Braddon as far as Haig Park.

Proponents of light rail and public transport may wish many of these lines had somehow been preserved.