40 years ago today, Bondi Junction station was one of the many stations along the Eastern Suburbs Rail Line that celebrated its grand opening. 23 June 1979 was the day that finally saw a rail line to the Eastern Suburbs open after nearly a century of planning.
The Eastern Suburbs Rail Line had been in planning since 1890 and a line to the Eastern Suburbs was included in the Bradfield plans of the 1920s. Provisions were made in the city circle stations to allow for a construction of a line to the Eastern Suburbs.
Construction on the Eastern Suburbs Rail Line began on and off in the 1940s. Construction of the line proper began under the Askin government in the late 1960s and construction of Bondi Junction Station itself began in the early 1970s. The construction of the line proved highly contentious, particularly due to the extended period the lien took to construct and the compulsory acquisitions and demolitions throughout Woolloomooloo. Two different construction techniques were used in the building of Bondi Junction station. The platform area was constructed using tunnelling, whilst the concourse level was built using open excavation in a cut and cover technique.
There was also an open air bus interchange constructed above the station, as part of a then new approach to integrated transport. Customers could buy a Rail-Bus Link ticket which would allow them to catch the train to the Bondi Junction interchange and interchange for a bus into suburbs not serviced by the train line between Coogee and Watsons Bay. This was the first attempt at integrated transport ticketing in Sydney.
The station, which was the most technologically advanced in Australia at the time of opening, included a number of firsts for the Sydney rail network. It was the first to include automatic ticket vending machines and automatic turnstile barriers to enter the station. It was also the first station to be equipped with escalators instead of stairs as the primary method of accessing the platforms. It also included a tri-level bank displaying station names, so you could see what station you were at from anywhere on the train.
In 2000, Bondi Junction Station underwent a major upgrade. This upgrade included lifts between the Bus Interchange and the concourse and between the concourse and the platform. There was the construction of a brand new enclosed bus interchange and shopping plaza. The entire station was remodelled to allow for better passenger flow, and new signage and paneling was installed.
Between late 2004 and early 2006, Bondi Junction station was closed for major track upgrades as part of the Rail Clearways program. This work included the construction of the new diamond junction crossover on the city side of the station, which allowed trains to arrive and depart from either of the two platforms. There was also the construction of a new turn back facility at the beach end of the station. This increased the capacity of trains able to be turned at Bondi Junction to 20 per hour from 14 prior to the upgrades.
Today Bondi Junction station is served by Sydney Trains T4 Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra Line services to/from Cronulla, Hurstville and Waterfall as well as NSW TrainLink South Coast services to/from Dapto, Kiama, Port Kembla and Wollongong.