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New South Wales Government Railways

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New South Wales Government Railways

The New South Wales Government Railways (NSWGR) was the agency of the Government of New South Wales that administered rail transport in New South Wales, Australia between 1855 and 1915.


The agency was managed by a range of different commission structures between 1857 and 1932, who reported to either the Minister for Public Works or the Minister for Transport.

The inaugural Chief Commissioner was Ben Martindale[1] and, following the enactment of the Government Railway Act, 1858 (NSW) he became Commissioner of Railways. John Rae succeeded Martindale in 1861,[2] and in 1877 Charles Goodchap was appointed Commissioner. The Government Railway Act, 1888 (NSW) set up a corporate body of three railway commissioners to manage the railways and remove them from political influence, resulting in the resignation of Goodchap.[3]

This Board of Railway Commissioners of New South Wales, from 22 October 1888 to 4 April 1907 were replaced by a sole Chief Commissioner of Railways and Tramways who served up until 22 March 1932 when a panel arrangement was restored with Transport Commissioners of New South Wales for a period of nine months. On 29 December 1932 the Department of Railways New South Wales was established and continued until the creation of the New South Wales Public Transport Commission on 20 October 1972. The last Commissioner for Railways was Mr Neil McCusker.

Rail agency history in New South Wales

The agency was succeeded by the Department of Railways on 1 January 1915; and then following the enactment of the Public Transport Commission Act, 1972 (NSW), the NSW Public Transport Commission was formed; later to become the State Rail Authority on 1 July 1980.[4] Further restructures in 1996, 2001 and 2003 resulted in the establishment of the Rail Corporation New South Wales, the agency currently responsible for the Sydney suburban and interurban rail network and rural passenger services, and for providing government and commercial freight operators with access to the rails of the Sydney metropolitan area.


The agency built all of their track to the 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge and ran its first official passenger train on 26 September 1855 between Sydney (now Redfern) and Parramatta (now Granville) railway stations.

See also

Rail transport in New South Wales


  1. ^ Abbott, G. J. "Martindale, Ben Hay (1824–1904)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  2. ^ Phillips, Nan. "Rae, John (1813–1900)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Forsyth, J. H. "Goodchap, Charles Augustus (1837–1896)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "Agency Detail". State Records. Government of New South Wales. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 

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