The architects behind Melbourne’s railway stations

In the past decade there has been a flurry of new and upgraded railway stations constructed across Melbourne, designed by a variety of local and international architecture firms. Here is my best effort at compiling a list of the architects behind Melbourne’s railway stations – any additions or corrections would be much appreciated.

View of the Southern Cross Station roof from 664 Collins Street

Carnegie, Murrumbeena, Hughesdale, Clayton and Noble Park

Cox


Level Crossing Removal Authority artist’s impression


Level Crossing Removal Authority artist’s impression


Level Crossing Removal Authority artist’s impression


Level Crossing Removal Authority artist’s impression


Level Crossing Removal Authority artist’s impression

Mernda Marymede and Hawkstowe

Grimshaw


Level Crossing Removal Authority artist’s impression


Level Crossing Removal Authority artist’s impression


Level Crossing Removal Authority artist’s impression

Arden, Parkville, CBD North, CBD South, Domain

Grimshaw


Melbourne Metro Rail Authority artist’s impression


Melbourne Metro Rail Authority artist’s impression


Melbourne Metro Rail Authority artist’s impression


Melbourne Metro Rail Authority artist’s impression


Melbourne Metro Rail Authority artist’s impression

Southland, 2017

Kyriacou


Public Transport Victoria artist’s impression

Heatherdale, 2017

Kyriacou


Level Crossing Removal Authority artist’s impression

Caroline Springs, 2017

HBO+EMTB (phase 1+2), Jackson Architecture (stage 3, including duplication)

VLocity VL32 and VL60 head onto the recently commissioned up platform track at Caroline Springs

Bayswater, 2016

AECOM


Level Crossing Removal Authority artist’s impression

St Albans, 2016

Kyriacou


Level Crossing Removal Authority artist’s impression

Ginifer, 2016

Kyriacou


Level Crossing Removal Authority artist’s impression

Ormond, 2016

Grimshaw


Level Crossing Removal Authority artist’s impression

McKinnon, 2016

Grimshaw


Level Crossing Removal Authority artist’s impression

Bentleigh, 2016

Grimshaw


Level Crossing Removal Authority artist’s impression

Gardiner, 2016

Grimshaw

 Sea of concrete and asphalt has replaced the Burke Road level crossing at Gardiner station

Ringwood, 2016

Kyriacou

North side of the overhead concourse at Ringwood station

Wyndham Vale, 2015

DesignInc

VLocity 3VL47 and classmate lead an up service into Wyndham Vale

Tarneit, 2015

DesignInc

Station building on the citybound platform at Tarneit

Balaclava, 2014

CCG Architects

Siemens train arrives into Balaclava station on a down Sandringham service

Waurn Ponds, 2014

GHD

Waurn Ponds station

Mitcham, 2014

Arup / Grimshaw

X'Trapolis 895M arriving into Mitcham station on the up

Springvale, 2014

Jackson Architecture

Siemens train pauses at Springvale station on the down

Williams Landing, 2013

Arup / Cox / HBO+EMTB

Williams Landing station

Footscray, West Footscray and Sunshine, 2013

Hassell

Footscray station

Sunbury, 2012

Grimshaw

Down train changes from the down line to platform 1 at Sunbury

Diggers Rest, 2012

Grimshaw

One loooooog platform shelter at Diggers Rest platform 1

Cardinia Road, 2012

Arup / Cox

Myki outnumbers Metcard at the down platform at Cardinia Road station

Lynbrook, 2012

Arup / Cox

Looking across to the station building at Lynbrook platform 1

South Morang, 2012

Cox

Main entrance to South Morang station

Epping, 2011

Cox

Entrance to the new station at Epping

Thomastown, 2011

Cox

Massive footbridge at the rebuilt Thomastown station - only one side is sheltered?

Laverton, 2010

Unknown

VLocity 3VL33 and classmate passes through Laverton on the up

Coolaroo, 2010

Architectus

Coolaroo - all lit up and waiting to go, but waiting for the June 2010 timetable change

Westall, 2010

Hassell

Westall station platforms 1 and 2, looking up the line

Nunawading, 2010

Grimshaw

Transdev bus #8380 rego 7653AO on a route 902 service at Nunawading

North Melbourne, 2009

Cox

VLocity 3VL32 runs through North Melbourne under the new concourse

Heatherdale, 2007

Hassell

Passenger shelter on platform 2 at Heatherdale

Kananook, 2007

Hassell

Alstom Comeng arrives into Kananook on an up Frankston service

Southern Cross Station, 2007

Grimshaw

VLocity VL12 at Southern Cross Station

Roxburgh Park, 2007

Cox

Concrete and steel footbridge at Roxburgh Park station

Craigieburn, 2007

Cox

Street frontage of Craigieburn station

High vis vests make anyone look official

If you every have to wear a high visibility vest, don’t walk through a railway station – confused passengers will flock to you like seagulls on a chip.

Funnelling V/Line passengers past the Myki gates on the Collins Street concourse

Just look at this contractor attempting to fix a broken myki gate at Southern Cross Station.

‘Q: The next train to Geelong?’
‘A: Sorry, you want the guy in the V/Line vest. I’m just a contractor’

'The next train to Geelong?' 'Sorry, you want the guy in the V/Line vest. I'm just a contractor'

‘Q: Where do I buy a ticket?’
‘A: Sorry, you’ll need to find one of the V/Line guys hiding over there’

'Where do I buy a ticket?' Sorry, you'll need to find one of the V/Line guys hiding over there'

Best to save your high vis vest for the zoo, the movies, or a gig. You’ll waltz right in without paying.

The world is a stratified place. Important people get into exclusive places. Everyone else has to pay shit loads of money, or watch longingly through the fence. But there’s a loophole into getting into places for free, if you’re so inclined. You just need to pretend to be an important person. And people who wear hi-vis are important in the sense that they fix things no one else cares about. If you see someone in hi-vis stepping through a barricade, or marching past a bouncer, you naturally assume they’re headed to fix something. This makes a hi-vis vest the keys to life.

Footnote

Back in the days I worked in retail I had similar problems – walk into any shop in uniform while on my lunch break, and I’d get questions from confused customers asking where to find something, despite the fact I didn’t work there.

Poor planning replacing the City Loop lifts

All infrastructure eventually wears out, and in the case of Melbourne the thirty year old lifts in the City Loop have come up for replacement. However the planning of these works leaves a lot to be desired.

Lift linking Flagstaff station to the street closed for total replacement

Worked started on January 3, with lifts at Flagstaff and Parliament taken out of service, rendering the stations inaccessible to anyone unable to use an escalator.

Morning queue for the escalators at Flagstaff platform 3 and 4

These passengers are being directed to Melbourne Central station, where a wheelchair accessible taxi will carry them on the final leg of their journey.

Smashed up Maxi Taxis outside a collision repair workshop in Brunswick

Of course, alternate transport is no good if you don’t know about it.

Disabled train passengers have been left stranded at Parliament and Flagstaff stations, as drivers keep forgetting to let them know lifts are out of action.

Disability advocates are fed up with the lack of warnings, as the lifts have been down for nearly a month.

Metro Trains has told its drivers to broadcast warnings on the approach into the City Loop but they are still regularly failing to do so.

Sarah Nankervis, who suffers from a serious fainting condition that prevents her from using escalators or stairs, said she was recently caught at the bottom of Parliament station not knowing what to do.

“There was no warning on the approach into the city to get off at Melbourne Central,” she said. “I had to go up the escalators and doing that makes me really dizzy and there is chance I can faint.

“My disability isn’t as bad as some people. I’ve got friends in wheelchairs who couldn’t get to where they needed to go.”

Ray Jordan, of the All Aboard group, said Metro Trains had promised him there would be alerts on every train since work began to replace the lifts on January 3.

“I believe it happened in the first couple of days but then we just forgot about it,” he said.

“If you’re going to do this, you need to get it right and do it consistently. We understand there was a need to upgrade the lifts. But you need to have a backup plan and right now it isn’t working as it should be.”

Metro spokesman Marcus Williams said information on the upgrades was being provided through a “wide range of channels” including train ­announcements.

“Passengers requiring lifts and wishing to disembark at Parliament or Flagstaff should travel to Melbourne Central station where staff are on hand to provide a maxi taxi to either station for their onward journey,” he said.

Metro Trains told disability support groups earlier this month it would take up to two weeks for consistent messaging by drivers due to a “wider driver management and support issue”.

A senior Metro source said there was no reason why it should take a fortnight for drivers to follow the directions.

At least since the works started, signage has improved – I found this sign at Flagstaff station.

Notice of lift upgrade works at Flagstaff station

Plus the extent of the works has been clarified – Flagstaff station still has a working lift linking the two platform levels.

Notice of lift upgrade works at Flagstaff and Parliament stations

But there is still one question – why close the lifts at two stations at the same time?

This isn’t like a level crossing removal project, where it makes sense to work on multiple work sites while the trains are not running. The lifts at each station in the City Loop all operate independently from each other, so why not stagger the works, and complete each station in turn?

To prove my point

Sunday January 29th illustrated why closing the lifts at two City Loop stations at the same time was a bad idea – at Melbourne Central the single shopping centre lift linking the eastern station concourse with Swanston Street failed.

The workaround – taking the long way around through the shopping centre.

One lift failure at Melbourne Central – with a cascading effect on every City Loop passenger. I wonder if the extra usage thanks to passengers diverted from other stations contributed to the failure?

Diversity in access

Having multiple ways of accessing the platform other than stairs isn’t new.

Boronia station was rebuilt in a cutting back in 1998, and has stairs and a pair of lifts linking platform and concourse.

Pair of lifts link platform and concourse at Boronia station

But by the mid-2000s this practice went out of fashion – the designers of Laverton, Coolaroo, Westall, Footscray, Thomastown, Epping and South Morang stations took the cheap option, and provided just a single lift to each platform, with no alternate access for people unable to use the stairs.

Looking upstairs to the concourse at Epping

Laverton station is infamous for failing lifts and standard passengers:

Greens MP Colleen Hartland tabled a question in Parliament asking how many times the lifts at Laverton broke down between July 2010 and April 2011.

Transport Minister Terry Mulder told Parliament in his reply that they were inoperative on 105 occasions. And he said that a $15 million footbridge at Footscray station, also built last year without ramps, had lifts that broke down 117 times over the same period.

”It is quite clear that they didn’t put any thought into these two stations,” Ms Hartland said.

The stations were unsafe without ramps, she said, because in an emergency wheelchair passengers and parents with prams needed an alternative to broken lifts. ”They need ramps at these stations before someone is seriously injured.”

In response to these failures, at the 2010 State Election the Liberal opposition made a commitment that they would ensure all new railway stations would feature ramps as well as lifts. Ted Baillieu won the election, and duplicated access to railway platforms has been part of all projects since, from both sides of politics.

Footnote

During the first few days of the lift outage, audio announcements still included the January 3 start date in their spiel. Thankfully someone has realised that small bit of information is superfluous given that the work had already started, and the announcement has been trimmed down.

Google Maps mangling Melbourne’s freeway interchanges

Digital maps have taken over from traditional paper street directories and fold out maps, but it doesn’t mean the information made available to the reader is any better, if my recent experiences with Google Maps are anything to go by.

Southbound on the Bolte Bridge at the West Gate Freeway interchange

Take a look at this Google Maps view of Melbourne’s western suburbs, where I’ve circled the freeway interchanges.

Missing freeway junctions on Google Maps

The interchange of the Western Ring Road and the West Gate Freeway doesn’t look too bad – both freeways appear in the same dark orange colour, with the surrounding local roads displayed in a slightly lighter shade, as are the ramps to Geelong Road.

Google Maps Western Ring Road and West Gate Freeway

A bit more confusing is the junction of the Bolte Bridge and West Gate Freeway – the ramps linking the two are shown in a different shade to the freeways themselves, making the map harder to read.

Google Maps missing junction of Bolte Bridge and West Gate Freeway

But the junction of the Western Ring Road and Deer Park Bypass is virtually unreadable – the ramps linking the freeways are coloured so light they almost disappear into the grey background.

Google Maps missing junction of Western Ring Road and Deer Park Bypass

The same flaw can be found where the Metropolitan Ring Road and Craigieburn Bypass meet in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

Google Maps missing junction of Metropolitan Ring Road and Craigieburn Bypass

Turns out the art and science of drawing maps is hard – that is why the field has a name: cartography.

Footnote

In 2016 American cartographer Justin O’Beirne wrote this piece on changes to Google’s cartography.

Looking at the maps, there are more roads than there once were—and fewer cities.

I wonder what drove these changes?

One thing’s for sure: today’s maps look unbalanced. There’s too many roads and not enough cities.

As well as comparing Google Maps with Apple Maps.

Both are in a race to become the world’s first Universal Map — that is, the first map used by a majority of the global population. In many ways, this makes Google Maps and Apple Maps two of the most important maps ever made.

Who will get there first?

And will design be a factor?

In this series of essays, we’ll compare and contrast the cartographic designs of Google Maps and Apple Maps. We’ll take a look at what’s on each map and how each map is styled, and we’ll try to uncover the biggest differences between the two.

I wonder how often a human at Google actually looks at the maps that their automated systems generate.

Photos from ten years ago: January 2007

Another instalment in my photos from ten years ago series – this time it is January 2007.

We start on the Geelong line at the former railway station called Manor, where we see a Melbourne-bound service approach Werribee.

VL31 and VL35 Melbourne bound at Manor

It’s 1:08 AM at Flinders Street Station, and the Solari split-flap display has been switched off for the night.

It's 1:08 AM and the Solari board at Flinders Street Station is displaying no trains

A few hours later at 4:07 AM, and when I strolled past Southern Cross Station it was locked up tight.

4:07 AM and Southern Cross is locked up tight

Inside the station a new facility was under construction – the Myki Discovery Centre.

Myki Discovery Centre taking shape at Southern Cross Station

Opened in mid 2007, the centre was used as a promotional tool for Myki by the Transport Ticketing Authority, the organisation responsible for the rollout of the new smartcard ticketing system. It centre was later absorbed by Public Transport Victoria, who rebranded it as a ‘PTV Hub’ in 2012.

Down at Geelong I headed out to the southern suburb of Grovedale, where I found a freight train headed for the Blue Circle Southern cement works, climbing the grade towards what is now Waurn Ponds station.

H4 and X31 on the Waurn Ponds Cement at Grovedale

Today the paddocks to the left are covered with houses, with the new Armstrong Creek development doing the same to the paddock behind, and the freight train no longer runs – the cement is now all moved by road.

More big changes can be seen in the background at Footscray, where this citybound commuter train drops off a handful of suburban passengers at platform 1.

P15 trails a morning commuter train at Footscray

Now renumbered platform 3, the car park in the background has since disappeared, replaced by a new pair of platforms for suburban trains built as part of the Regional Rail Link project. In addition, the number of V/Line passengers using Footscray station has skyrocketed, thanks to the removal of the V/Line stop at North Melbourne.

I also went for a ride on a special train operated by the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre, bound for Bairnsdale, where I spent plenty of time on the rear balcony watching the tracks roll past beneath me.

On arrival into Bairnsdale

We rolled through abandoned stations, like General Motors on the Pakenham line.

General Motors station

Over the viaduct that links Southern Cross Station to Flinders Street.

Single check rail in the middle of the new Viaduct tracks at Southern Cross

And across the Avon River bridge in Gippsland.

Crossing the Avon River bridge

The same vantage point also allowed me to capture the progress being made to extend suburban electric train services north from Broadmeadows to Craigieburn.

The initial stages of the project pinched every penny possible, so only half of Craigieburn station was rebuilt for suburban trains.

Work on the new platform at Craigieburn

But a new railway station at Roxburgh Park was being built.

Footbridge at Roxburgh Park station in place

As was grade separation of the Somerton Road level crossing.

Half of the Somerton Road overpass built, level crossing still in use

And new automated signalling – the manually operated signal box at Somerton was almost due to be decommissioned.

Last days for the signal box at Somerton

The penny pinching was also applied to the stabling yard at Craigieburn, where only a single siding was constructed – so that suburban trains could get out of the way of V/Line trains bound for Seymour.

Work on the stabling yard at Craigieburn, only a single track initially provided

Since then both platforms at Craigieburn have been upgraded, and a a massive train maintenance facility occupies the sidings, featuring a train wash and enough room for the stabling of two dozens trains!

Footnote

Here you can find the rest of my ‘photos from ten years ago‘ series.