Melbourne Metro Rail stations: more detail released & comment

The drip feed of information on the Melbourne Metro Rail project website continues, with a recent update featuring an interactive map to be used for consultation purposes, along with brochures providing increasing detail about each station and portal precinct.

Perhaps one of the most important parts of the placement of a station on a rail line is how and where users will access the underground structures. The brochures now display proposed entrance locations for each station and they are summarised with my comments below. Each image can be expanded for a larger view.


Domain Station. Image Melbourne Metro Rail Authority

The brochure for Domain Station appears to take the sensible approach in the location of proposed station entrances. We may love our major boulevards to walk down or look at, but when it comes to crossing them in traffic, the wait times are generally less than pleasant. Therefore the proposed locations, one on the eastern side of St Kilda Road for the Shrine and one on the western side of St Kilda Road for the local area, make sense.

The only question overhanging the station entrances in this diagram: will there in fact be two station entrances - one for each of the two island platforms recently built as part of the Domain Interchange upgrade - or some other design?

Flinders Street (CBD South)

CBD South Station. Image Melbourne Metro Rail Authority

For Flinders Street, the proposed entrance at Federation Square is welcome, likewise is an entrance from Collins Street. The location of the proposed Collins Street entrance seems to suggest it will use a portion of City Square, most likely impacting the on-and-off again water wall.

At Federation Square the proposed station location appears to be adjacent to the underground section of the Melbourne Visitors Centre.

The proposed entrance located in the middle of the Flinders Street/Flinders Lane/Elizabeth Street/Swanston Street block appears to be the existing entrance connecting to the main pedestrian subway. My question is, will there be a connection from the new underground platforms to the existing subway?

Melbourne Central (CBD North)

CBD North Station. Image Melbourne Metro Rail Authority

Last week it became evident that an entrance was proposed for the north side of La Trobe Street. Now the brochure for Melbourne Central also depicts another northerly entrance in Franklin Street.

Given the City Baths are located on the northern side of Franklin Street, that it is a very sensitive building and the Communist Brutalist Blocks of RMIT provide little room on the southern side's footpath, the placement of the proposed station appears to be in the median of Franklin Street.

Might we see the closure of Franklin Street, or at least the Swanston Street end, turned into a plaza with the station entrance as the centrepiece? The mind boggles with wider urban design opportunities if the half-closure route was taken with this station entrance.


Parkville Station. Image Melbourne Metro Rail Authority

The broad location of proposed station entrances at Parkville appear to provide sufficient coverage in the area. One of the first comments on the interactive map raised the lack of an entrance on the north west corner of the Grattan Street/Royal Parade intersection, where the Royal Melbourne Hospital is located, which would serve the Women's, RMH, University High School WEHI.

The proposed entrance on the south western corner of the intersection where the VCCC is should be set in stone, as it is on the same side of Grattan Street for people who may wish to connect with the Flemington Road trams (Flemington Road tram super-stop is on the south side of Grattan Street in the Flemington Road median).

If there were any slack in the overall project budget, I would allocate more to this station: delete the entrance on the north east corner of the intersection and revert to the previous concepts, which showed a large island platform in the middle of Royal Parade for a tram-train interchange. This would be a compromise solution for lack of an entrance on the RMH block (people bound for the Hospital block would not have to cross an entire road, only half of one), but enhance the tram-train connection opportunities.

Having an underground corridor all the way under Grattan Street so that entrances to the station concourse could be placed directly on the Flemington Road tram stops would also be a nice-to-have, however the proposed entrance on the VCCC block effectively does this job, albeit with a half-boulevard crossing at Flemington Road.


Arden Station. Image Melbourne Metro Rail Authority

Arden is problematic. On every concept made public over the years, it was clear from the start Arden would be isolated, having no meaningful connections to other lines or modes in the area; the map above really brings this message home.

The site which this station resides on currently sees various industrial uses. The angle and placement of the "potential" station entrances seems to allude that a fraction of the current titles in the area would be acquired by the authority and rezoning could then enable redevelopment to occur on adjacent sites.

There is likely going to be a need for very intensive redevelopment in this area, in order to get the benefits side up against the costs in a cost-benefit analysis. All eyes are on City of Melbourne to see what they do with their Arden-Macaulay structure plan (amendment C190).

One thing to be wary about in terms of redeveloping the industrial land either side of the station location is Boral's Melbourne Cement Plant, as it is located to the south of the proposed station site.

Cement is a key ingredient for any urban development project and of course an orderly winding down of the site (as property prices rise after Arden station is complete) could occur over time. However, it would be interesting to see the wider economic and environmental impacts of this key cog in the urban development supply chain moving out of the area, if it ever does.

One logistical benefit for the project would be if Boral were to be picked as the cement supplier for the project; pre-cast cement and other cement products would not have to travel very far at all, thereby minimising overall energy intensity during the construction phase of the project.

Over to you. Be sure to add your comments to the interactive map on the project website.

Lead image credit: Google Earth


Adam Ford's picture

Those appear to be new maps, so I hope this represents the latest thinking, but in everything I'd seen to date, we were talking about entrances at the South-west corner of Franklin (HERITAGE BUILDING!!!!), and the Franklin street entrance was only mooted "in the event Franklin Street is closed to traffic East of Swanston".

My understanding was that basically RMIT were the only people who saw any benefit at all to closing Franklin street, and accordingly this is basically never happening. There is median car parking in franlin Street, maybe it goes there??

ANd looks like Port Phillip Arcade is gone, but we 're hopefully keeping the 1860s warehouse next door that appeared threatened initially. If this is the final proposal, looks like heritage will be basically unaffected. I went and inspected Port Phillip the other day. They've comprehensively stuffed that interior, and there's nothing left to retain.

Other than perhaps to mention City of Melbourne needs to have an eye to preserving the smaller, quirkier and cheaper retail spaces around town, and ensuring they remain affordable for the likes of the stamp and coin merchant, the little details that MAKE a city.

Back to top
James Adams's picture

Nice analysis! A few comments:

Regarding Domain, I remember reading in some documents that the Route 8 tram is to be realigned along Toorak Road instead of the current Domain Rd/Park St alignment. That would mean a new Domain interchange would be built south of the current location which would allow access from the platforms.

Re: CBD South, will be interesting to see if they propose demolishing the Visitor Centre and using that site as a new entrance. As a volunteer there, I've found that having the centre underground discourages people from heading down the stairs, preferring to look at the fairly basic info in the lobby upstairs.

Re: CBD North, I think you're prediction that they may close the eastern part of Franklin Street is right. The documents ambiguously refer to the "long-term closure" of Franklin St.

Re: Parkville, I'm hoping they do decide to build a new consolidated tram stop north of Grattan St with direct access to the station. Royal Parade is wide enough that it's definitely possible, but maybe it's not on the cards anymore. Also interesting that one of the entrances appears to be on university land near the Medical Building.

Re: Arden, the location seems pretty poor. No connection to any other public transport, and that's reflected in the documents which predict only 10% of access after opening will be by tram or bus.

Back to top
andrew waugh's picture

The government already owns all the land on which Arden St station sits (it owns all the land bounded by the railway, Barwise St, and Laurens St). It used to be a large goods yard. The current occupiers are simply tenants. The site for Arden St was a Victorian Railways civil engineering plant depot, this was leased to John Holland after privatisation. John Holland has recently vacated the site and it is now essentially empty. This is, of course, why it has been chosen for a major works site during construction of the Metro, and for a station afterwards.

Back to top
Alastair Taylor's picture

^ thanks very much for clarifying.

Back to top
Adam Ford's picture

Those comments about Arden and PT aren't exactly right.
It's fully 400 meters from the proposed station to the 57 tram on Abbotsford Street.

Back to top
Evan Cottle's picture

I suspect that Arden has become something of a "freebie". They need an area around there from which to stage a very large proportion of the tunneling. That land is ideal, because of its existing VicTrack ownership, its very large amount of space, and because of the minimal disruption it would cause to use it. So given that Arden was always going to be the quietest of the stations on the project, they've seen a the opportunity to keep costs down by choosing that site. Whether that was a huge mistake will ultimately come down to how the renewal is done.

Back to top
Nicholas Harrison's picture

There is at least 12 hectares of government owned land around the site of the proposed Arden station which is the equivalent of three city blocks.

Back to top
ford wong's picture

When people say there is nothing left to retain in Port Phillip Arcade, they forget about the human factor.
If you search Port Phillip Arcade, you will find the biggest and oldest stamp shop, the 30 years old cake deco shop that housewives can spent hours in buying their needs. You will find the most affordable Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Thai food that with less than $10 per lunch or dinner. All have been there for 20 to 50 years. You will also find the only remaining internet cafe left in Melbourne. These traders will not find another place to house them so near to the station.
Yooralla was sold for $25,000,000 next door, With bigger site and access to two streets, I can see the owner will be happy to cash in, but will these traders be retained?

Back to top
Steve Raider's picture

Can't they come up with better names than CBD South and CBD North? Make it something more Melbourne. Every city has a CBD. How about Hoddle South and Hoddle North?

Back to top