The Goods Line (Sydney’s Urban Walkway)

Last updated: May 2, 2024

The Goods Line is a partly elevated urban walkway from Sydney Central Station to Darling Harbour that follows the route of a long-neglected but once bustling railway line.

After the completion of a $15 million transformation project, The Goods Line re-opened to the public in August 2015 as a walkway, linear park, and open space.

In this article, we’ll share the highlights of this walk, including pictures. We’ll also explain how best to get there and what to do nearby.

The Goods Line Walk
Distance: 800 m (one way)
Duration: 0.5 hours
Grade: Easy
Dog-friendly: Yes

How to Get There

The walking trail starts right at the end of the underground Devonshire Street Tunnel at Central Station, so it’s best to get there by train.

Exit Central Station at South Concourse, where the Devonshire Street Tunnel starts. Walk through the tunnel to Railway Square, where you need to continue into the second part of the tunnel. This will then flow into The Goods Line, where you’ll see the old train track and a yellow UTS sign.

Directions from Devonshire Street Tunnel to Goods Line
From Devonshire Street Tunnel to Goods Line

The image on the left shows the South Concourse exit at Central Station, from where you can enter the Devonshire Street Tunnel. The second image shows the signage at the first exit of the tunnel. This is where you must keep going straight into the second part of the tunnel.

Alternatively, if you’re not arriving via Central Station, you can also walk to Railway Square (between George St and Lee St), go down the escalators, and you’ll end up at the end of the tunnel.

If you’re driving (not recommended), parking is available at several car parks in and around Darling Harbour and Chinatown.

Map

The below map includes the route of the Goods Line and the Devonshire Street Tunnel.

A: Devonshire Street Tunnel
B: The Goods Line

Map of The Goods Line in Sydney

History of The Goods Line

The Goods Line has quite a rich history, and much of that history has been preserved in its current state.

Rail Line

The Goods Line was once part of a busy freight rail system that started operation in the middle of the 19th century. This rail line ran from Dulwich Hill to Sydney Central via big rail yards at Rozelle and Darling Harbour.

The rail line was mainly used to transport wool, meat, and wheat into the area. The last official train left Darling Harbour on the Goods Line in 1984.

In the following years, the line was occasionally used by steam locomotives to transport goods between the Powerhouse Museum and Darling Harbour.

Redevelopment

The Goods Line was once a sober industrial area. But following the redevelopment, including various educational, cultural, and media institutions, it is now a vibrant urban hub with a pleasant atmosphere.

The goods line with table tennis tables
Table tennis and community tables

The pedestrian walkway includes bike paths, table tennis tables, study pods, outdoor workspaces, playgrounds, and a large, bright yellow community table.

Parts of the old train track have been preserved, which you can clearly see as you walk along the Goods Line.

The goods line train track
Parts of the old train track still visible

The Goods Line Project is similar to the popular New York High Line, an urban renewal development that turned a section of a historic Manhattan freight line into a public park and walkway.

The Goods Line walk
The Goods Line

Since its inception, the Goods Line has proven to be a welcome, green addition to an already beautiful city, popular with local office workers, students, and tourists.

It is also a nice place to enjoy a bit of quiet time, away from the busy city streets while still being close to everything.

The Goods Line Walk

With a length of only 0.8 km, the Goods Line is a short stroll, but it’s a great way to cross the city from Central Station to the Darling Square and Darling Harbour precincts.

It is a shared pedestrian and cycle path past important educational, cultural, and media institutions, such as Sydney TAFE, the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the ABC, and the Powerhouse Museum.

Ultimo Road Railway Underbridge

The Goods Line officially starts right at the end of the Devonshire Street pedestrian tunnel (follow signs for South Concourse and UTS) under Sydney Central Station and George Street, and continues to the Powerhouse Museum site in the Darling Harbour precinct.

Ultimo Road railway underbridge
Ultimo Road railway underbridge

Halfway through the walk, you will cross the Ultimo Road railway underbridge, the oldest iron bridge in Australia, built in 1879.

It now has a big neon-lit “The Goods Line” sign attached to it that looks great at night from the road underneath.

The Goods Line interlocking machine
Interlocking machine from the former Ultimo Street signal box

The Ultimo Street signal box and interlocking machine at the bridge were still fully operational until the early 1980s. It’s amazing to see how much has changed in such a relatively short time.

Dr Chau Chak Wing Building

One of the most eye-catching buildings along the Goods Line is UTS’s Dr Chau Chak Wing Building. Designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, this building has a remarkable appearance and architecture.

Dr Chau Chak Wing building
Dr Chau Chak Wing building

An estimated 320,000 custom-designed bricks were used to construct this innovative building that looks like a squashed brown paper bag.

Nearby

When you’ve reached the end of the Goods Line walk, there are a few options to continue your Sydney adventure.

1. Explore Chinatown

Most global cities have a dedicated Chinatown, and Sydney is no different. Sydney’s Chinatown is a bustling part of the city, with many Asian grocers, noodle bars, charming food halls, yum cha restaurants, and regular markets.

To get there from the western end of the Goods Line, follow the light rail tracks into Hay St to Paddys Markets, and start exploring from there.

2.Have lunch in Darling Square

Darling Square is a revitalised shopping and lifestyle precinct with plenty of cafes and eateries from fast food to fine dining.

3. Explore Darling Harbour and Barangaroo

You can also spend the rest of the day in the much-loved Darling Harbour precinct with its many cafes, restaurants, playgrounds, and regular events.

Beyond Darling Harbour, you can continue walking to the vibrant Barangaroo area and the beautiful Barangaroo Reserve green space.

 

The Goods Line in Sydney

 
20 Comments
  1. I absolutely love The Goods Line, it’s great on a weekend afternoon and it also makes a nice place to stroll through at night (after eating some dumplings in Chinatown of course).

    I hope Sydney keeps on putting in things like this for folks to enjoy for free.

    Reply
  2. I started at the Power House Museum and so the Goods Line was quite easy to find. I liked the majority of it although I was surprised how small the planting/shrubs were considering it was finished in 2015. The end as you approach it is awful! Ugly dead end with tall ugly, graffitied building and crappy tarmac. The words urban decay and menacing sprang to mind. If only they had designed and planted to the very end. A nice concept but underwhelming.

    Reply
    • Hi Susanna, you’re making valid points. The Goods Line certainly isn’t perfect, and hopefully it will receive another upgrade at some point.

      Reply
  3. Hi there, great to hear about this urban rejuvenation project. I am a big fan of the Highline in NYC, and had no idea this even existed!

    I just wondered if I am allowed to take my dog along this walkway? If he is on a lead, and of course, I clean up after any accidents?

    Thanks,
    Mike

    Reply
    • Hi Martine, yes you can start The Goods Line also from the other end at Powerhouse Museum via Harris Street. Another good access point is from Mary Ann St next to the Dr Chau Chak Wing building. You can also access via the Ultimo Road railway underbridge. Good luck!

      Reply
  4. I’d read about the Goods Line, and as we were visiting the Powerhouse Museum I was hoping to see it. However, as we had two very small children we parked at the Novotel, so I thought we’d miss it. But who could miss that spectacular Frank Gehry building?! We loved the walk – didn’t have the opportunity to read the information hence researching on the internet. Husband very interested in the signal box (he’s a steam train enthusiast).
    Ages of children precluded an extended visit to the museum but we’ll return on our next visit from the UK.

    Reply
  5. We enjoyed our stroll along the line today whilst visiting Sydney. It is certainly up to the standard of Manhattens skyline.

    The only downside was we couldn’t find the beginning at central station and the red bus guy hadn’t heard of it! Some signage in and around George st / Pitt st say would be useful and of course the official Sydney map needs updating. We eventually found our way on at ultimate road so missed about 50% of the route.

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Richard. It’s true that the start of the Goods Line can be a bit of a challenge to find.

      Reply
  6. Our group had no trouble, though we met under the clock at Central Interstate Railway Concourse, a well known meeting spot in Sydney.

    We then walked out to the street level and veered left where we came to the steps leading down to the second part of the tunnel, which leads to the Goods Line, nice coffee shop inside the Paper Bag building and toilets, this is part of UTS and worth a vist. Lovely sculptures downstairs.

    We then walk past the Powerhouse Museum (don’t follow the Darling Harbour sign) and go down past Wentworth Park Greyhound track, across parkland towards Fish Markets, more toilets. We then head around the foreshore at Pyrmont, past the Casino, you can get buses back from here to Central or continue and come out at the other side of Darling Harbour and catch a ferry to the Quay from there.

    You could follow the signs at Darling Harbour to the Goods line and go back past the other side of the Powerhouse Museum and back onto the Goods line.

    Reply
  7. Thank you for posting about this walk. I took my 3 kids under 5 to the Powerhouse Museum yesterday. They really wanted to catch the train, so when I read about The Goods Line I thought I’d give it a try. It was really easy to find thanks to your instructions, plus there was a lot of reference to it on signs etc. It was an easy walk with kids and a pram.

    Reply
    • Glad you liked it, Melanie. You’re right, the best way to get to Powerhouse Museum and Darling Harbour is via the Goods Line!

      Reply
  8. Couldn’t find the Goods Line Walkway from Central Station end. No signage at all. Was trying to walk along it to Powerhouse Museum, as your webpage encourages. No one we asked who worked at Central Station admitted to having heard of it, except one who said it was near the YHA. But he neglected to say there were two YHAs nearby (so we found out later), and the one we went to had no one behind the desk who’d heard if it.

    Ended up packing on to the crowded light rail that everyone pointed out to us. The present set-up is not functional, and should be an embarrassment. Wasted 45 minutes for nothing. At the very least some (any!) simple basic signage, please. Previous comments indicate that this is by now an old complaint. Give someone a nudge or two in the ribs please.

    Reply
    • Hi Ian,

      Sorry to hear you had troubles locating the starting point of The Goods Line. Please note though that this website is not responsible for any signage, this is ultimately the City of Sydney council’s responsibility. All we can do is write about these walks and encourage people to go outdoors. I would recommend you write to the council and urge them to install some proper signage because, like you said, this is lacking a bit.

      For others reading: exit Central station at South Concourse where the Devonshire tunnel starts. Go into the tunnel and walk all the way to the end and keep going straight into the second part of the tunnel. This will then flow into The Goods Line. You’ll see the old train track and also a big yellow UTS sign. If you’re not arriving via Central Station, you can also walk to the Railway Square entrance to Central Station which is at the end of the tunnel.

      Reply
    • There is a small sign at Railway Square, but even if you miss it, just go down the stairs/escalators and you’ll find yourself in the Devonshire Street pedestrian tunnel. Then just keep walking west. It’s a nice way to get to Chinatown.

      Reply
      • Thanks Andrew, and yes you’re right, the Goods Line is a great way to get to Chinatown and also to Darling Quarter and Darling Harbour.

        Reply
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