Cutaway views of Epping-Chatswood line stations

When I visited Sydney a few years ago, I paid a visit to their then-newest railway line – the Epping-Chatswood link. Running the entire way in tunnels between said stations, the line has three intermediate stations, all located deep underground: North Ryde, Macquarie Park, and Macquarie University. So how do passengers reach them?

Platform 5 at Epping station

At street level entrance are these modern looking glass clad structures.

Street level entrance to North Ryde station

Inside two separate flights of escalators head below ground.

Two flights of escalators from ground level to the underground concourse

Once reaching the bottom, the booking office and ticket machine can be found.

Booking office and ticket gates at North Ryde station

Once you head through the ticket gates, you are now above the platform itself.

Concourse level walkways above the platform at North Ryde station

Down below trains run either side of the island platform.

Passengers wait for an up train at Macquarie University station

A pair of escalators link it to the concourse, along with a lift for the mobility impaired.

Train arrives at North Ryde station

Finally, a set of stairs at the far end of the concourse provide an additional way to access the platforms.

Up train picks up passengers at North Ryde station

In all a very elegant design by architect Hassell.

Digging a bit deeper

In their piece on the 2010 Australia Architecture Awards, ArchitectureWeek magazine had the following to say on the project:

The Epping to Chatswood Rail Link expands the CityRail commuter rail line in the northern suburbs of Sydney. As part of the A$2.35 billion project, Hassell designed the three new intermediate stations, at Macquarie University, Macquarie Park, and North Ryde, each about 5,000 square meters (54,000 square feet) in size.

A curved glazed pavilion at the surface serves as the entry to each station. From there, travelers descend 25 meters (82 feet) by stair, elevator, and escalator to reach the passenger concourse.

The transparent louvered cladding of the pavilions directs controlled daylight to the concourse level below. With ticketing and amenities deep underground, a single employee can manage the station from a central location. The design also achieves efficiencies by ventilating public areas with train movement.

Below ground, the vaulted forms of the twin caverns reflect the self-stabilizing method of their construction in sandstone, with an asymmetrical cross-section that minimized costly excavation. The station’s simple organization facilitates wayfinding, with the continuous curve of the cavern soffit describing an intuitive route to the surface.

“The entire project presents a remarkable clarity,” commended the jury. “The lasting memory of the [project] is the clever movement through powerful contiguous space.”

They also included two diagrams – the first an axonometric cut away of Macquarie Park station. It shows how the paired escalator adits meet at concourse level, before leading into the walkway cantilevered above the island platform; as well as the ventilation structures and emergency exit found at each end of the platform.

Macquarie Park station - axonometric cut away diagram

The second diagram is a cross section, showing the relationship between concourse and platform, and the previously mentioned asymmetrical cavern at platform level.

Macquarie Park station - cross section diagram

Further reading

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14 Responses to “Cutaway views of Epping-Chatswood line stations”

  1. Sam says:

    How does the depth of these stations compare with the proposed stations of the Melbourne Metro Rail Project?

  2. beren scott says:

    Question though, at such an unbelievable price for 3 stations, is it profitable? What is the patronage like from those 3 stations? I used to live in North Ryde as a child.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      According to the ‘Compendium of Sydney Rail Travel Statistics, 8th Edition’, weekday patronage is as follows:

      – Macquarie University: 26th busiest in Sydney, with 8510 passengers a day
      – Macquarie Park: 66th place with 3510 passengers
      – North Ryde: 137th place with 1450 passengers

      Full stats are here:

      • Beren Scott says:

        I could justify a rail tunnel under a city, definitely, if you can stick 100% utilisation during peak hour. But, here’s the issue, we are talking about a suburban area out of the city, and perhaps gaining most of it’s traffic through the university, which in itself isn’t very productive. Could you imagine doing this without a university?

        Anyways, I asked about whether it was profitable, which is an entirely different issue.

        • Ian Woodcock says:

          But that’s the point – it serves a university, a major shopping centre and a developing commercial precinct. Plus, it provides added network connectivity to the system overall.

  3. Ian Woodcock says:

    It’s not so much the cost of those stations per se, but the relationship between the investment in connectivity overall and economic development of the area that has the new stations in it – one of the most important corridors in Sydney.

    • beren scott says:

      again i lived in north ryde, my mother and step dad rode the bus all the way into the city, so i know the area well, or did. the terrain is a major issue in sydney, melbourne doesnt have it as bad. getting rail transit in this area was always going to be a challenge. massive bottlenecks that made this massive spending necessary. but oh my gosh, how can you truly justify this spending? at what point do you just say to developers, somewhere else. i feel that sydney is trying to grow regardless of how expensive it is. tunnels are massively expensive. the maintenance on that tunnel is going to come back to haunt. citylink tunnels in melbourne are facing this challenge, huge lawsuit.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      In the case of the new railway, it serves Macquarie University, as well as a major business park. Building rail links to serve these kinds of trip generators is much more justifiable, than building an expensive tunnel to low density suburbia!

  4. Albert 3801 says:

    The line will be closed for approx 2 years from 2017 and will be converted to form part of Sydney’s Rapid Transit system to Rouse Hill running privately operated driverless trains with smaller loading gauge, and platform doors to line up with train doors. It will be interesting to see what the stations end up looking like.

  5. Wayne Symons says:

    I would like to get some cross section drawings of the tunnel in the Epping end of the train system, around Essex Street or Bulkira Rd Epping
    I would like to see what the approx. depth is below the houses in this area.With a drawing showing this depth or representation of depth.
    I believe that is quite deep as it heads into Epping station platforms?
    If anyone can assist and send me these sections or direct me to a web page that will have them, it would greatly appreciated

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