Town Hall and Wynyard Stations represent a major second phase in Sydney’s early 20th Century underground railway system.

The initial phase of construction delivered St James and Museum Stations in 1926 – the first underground stations in Australia. The second phase, completed in 1932 along with the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, included the two deepest underground stations of the time: Town Hall and Wynyard.

The NSW Railways adopted escalators for these deep stations to meet the growing needs of a modern Sydney. Wooden escalators were installed as innovative machinery which could move large numbers of passengers quickly in peak hours between street, concourse and platforms. The new underground station interiors were heavily influenced by the London Underground and the New York subways. This, along with the ‘modern’ escalator, was a signal that Sydney was on par with the latest railway technology and design from around the world.

In 2017 the wooden escalators were retired.

WolfPeak’s own industrial archaeologist and specialist, Tony Brassil, worked on this project.

Explore the history of the last operational wooden railway escalators in Australia when
E S C A L A T I O N  S E N S A T I O N
premieres on SBS One on Tuesday, 3 November 2020 at 3.55pm. It will then be available OnDemand for the month.

Video Acknowledgements: Sydney Trains and Art of Multimedia