The story of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs railway is a long one, and we won’t be going down that tunnel today. Instead, we’ll be going down this one.
The reason this set of escalators down to the Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra line trains at Central Station is so long is because it’s actually going down two levels, not one. When the Eastern Suburbs platforms were being built throughout the 1960s and 1970s, construction crews made concessions for four extra platforms, not just the two that exist today. 26 & 27 lie above 24 & 25.
The plan was that platforms 24 and 25 would service the Illawarra and the Eastern Suburbs lines, and above them, platforms 26 & 27 would someday cater to an airport line. The platforms were built, but the planned airport line never materialised, and since 1979 the platforms have sat derelict. In fact, even when an airport line was built in the leadup to the Olympics in 2000, the platforms weren’t used – the reason being that modern trains were too heavy for the loadbearing capabilities of the platforms. Many photos exist online of these platforms, but since 26 & 27 are not accessible to the general public (with terrorism fears cited as the reason, because terrorists want to blow up empty train platforms), they won’t be appearing here. What’s interesting is the evidence of the platforms’ existence that is readily available, such as this:
But shhh! Don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret!
ANNUAL UPDATE: One year doesn’t seem to have made a difference to the future of these dead platforms.