A massive lightning strike takes out a signal box bringing trains to a stand-still, stranding thousands of passengers. A woman faints into the path of an oncoming train. A once-in-a-generation rain event derails a heritage train and much of the rail network. For 11,000 staff, dealing with these problems is all part of running Sydney Trains. One of Australia’s busiest rail networks, 1.3 million journeys are taken each day.
A ten-part documentary series, Inside Central Station: Australia’s Busiest Railway blends unscripted high-stakes drama with extraordinary engineering marvels, introduces us to memorable diverse characters who are passionate about their jobs, shares quirky moments and brings a strong sense of Australian history.
Narrated by Shane Jacobson, this immersive observational series gives us unique access to Sydney’s Central Station including inside the hub of the Rail Operations Centre, known as The ROC, and on the tracks and platforms of the vast network.
With its resident population of more than 5 million people, in addition to boosts from business and tourism, Sydney’s rail system is under extreme pressure 24/7. As the city recovers from 2020’s COVID lockdowns, incidents occur everyday – crime, extreme weather, accidents, breakdowns, delays and rail upgrades and maintenance under time pressures.
Producers were given exclusive access to every facet of rail operations, offering viewers a unique insight into the characters and human stories that make up life at Central Station. Sydney Trains Chief Executive Matt Longland cites the dedicated staff that keep the network moving smoothly. “This is a true look behind the scenes at our operations and shows the extraordinary commitment, skill and good humour our people bring to their work every single day as they keep our customers moving in an environment where anything can happen at any time. They are the true stars of this network.”
As SBS Director of Television and Online Content, Marshall Heald said, “The scale and breadth of the access is brilliant and will certainly take viewers to unexpected places.”
Inside Central Station: Australia’s Busiest Railway will be subtitled in five languages: Simplified Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Traditional Chinese and Korean. All subtitled versions will be available to stream at SBS On Demand on the day of premiere.
Inside Central Station: Australia’s Busiest Railway premieres at 7:30pm on Sunday 12 September on SBS and SBS On Demand. The 10-part series airs weekly. Watch the trailer now: