Pedestrian subways at Melbourne railway stations

Pedestrian subways at railway stations cop a bad rap. Dark, dank and dingy – many people feeling unsafe when using them, especially at night, and can you blame them?

Down in the centre subway at Richmond

In heavy rain they flood.

Flooded subway at Ascot Vale: is it really that hard to maintain drains?

And the ramps are anything but welcoming.

Access subway at Mont Albert platform 2 and 3

Even painting the walls doesn’t make much difference.

Pedestrian subway for accessing the platform at Glen Iris

The narrow entrances feel intimidating.

Southern entrance to the Blackburn station subway

But the closed in feeling remains even when wider ramps and stairs are provided.

DDA compliant access ramps retrofitted to the pedestrian subway at Noble Park

Opening up the entrance is one way to make the subways more welcoming.

Pedestrian underpass at Noble Park Secondary College

Cardinia Road is a recent station where a pedestrian underpass was provided under the tracks. By opening up the entrance and widening the tunnel, the area feels less seedy.

Pedestrian underpass from the north to south side of the tracks

But the best example of a welcoming pedestrian underpass is Tarneit station – built as part of the Regional Rail Link project, here the side walls have been opened right up, with a wide open walkway provided under the tracks.

Looking north under the pedestrian underpass at Tarneit

Going backwards?

Meanwhile at the yet to the opened Caroline Springs station, work has started on a second platform face, with a pedestrian subway linking it to the car park.

From what I can tell from a distance, Caroline Springs station doesn’t include any of the lessons learned from Cardinia Road or Tarneit – it’s a narrow concrete culvert passing under the tracks, with a narrow twisting ramp linking it to the platform.

Work underway on a second platform face, including subway access at the up end

The same failures appear to be occurring at the new Southland station, where cheap and nasty concrete culverts are sitting ready to be inserted under the tracks.

Brand new infrastructure is an opportunity to learn from the lessons of the past – which makes it sad that mediocrity is still being baked into our rail network.

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8 Responses to “Pedestrian subways at Melbourne railway stations”

  1. Graham Bradshaw says:

    I like the underpass at Newport, with the tools of the old trades from the district cast into the walls, spanners, measures and the like.
    It appears in an advert on TV at the moment, where a young woman, perhaps a building apprentice, is picked up by her workmates to go to a building site. Very identifiable.

  2. Graham Bradshaw says:

    Not to forget the late lamented subway at Spencer Street Station, with its shops – Sydney Central does a similar thing on a bigger scale, as well as having a very long subway from Railway Square to Chalmers Street – and the Degraves Street subway, with art installations, although that subway used to have more, an exit into a building above it, as well as a telephone ‘room’ with public phones. The signs are still there and the blanked off exit is still there.

  3. James says:

    The Marymede station design for Mernda rail shows a welcoming wide underpass just like the ones learnt at Tarneit and Cardnia Road. Southland station has space constraints and Caroline springs was modified last minute decision to duplicate the line. This is why these are examples of cheap narror underpasses.

  4. Andrew S says:

    Not forgetting the former Dandenong station subway which was on the ‘down’ end of the platforms – dubbed the ‘tunnel of terror’ in the local papers at the time alongside the seedy Southern Aurora Hotel before the mid 90’s station rebuild saw the subway replaced with an open pedestrian bridge over the lines with the pub demolished a few years ealier.

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