Southern Cross Station
Line: Melbourne - Geelong - Warrnambool
Google Maps: Satellite / Map
Opened: January 17, 1859
Southern Cross Station is the main hub of Victoria's railway network, being served by both country and suburban trains. Until 2005 the station was known as Spencer Street.
Opened as Spencer Street in 1859, five years after Flinders Street; the station was a dead end terminus, running parallel to Spencer Street (not on an angle like today) with a single main platform and a dock platform at the north end.
The two stations were not linked until 1879, when a single-track ground-level line was opened. It operated only at night, and only for goods trains. In 1888 work started on the double-track Flinders Street Viaduct linking the station to Flinders Street, the line opening to goods traffic in 1891 and in 1894 to passenger trains.
From 1888 to 1894 the layout of the station was altered, with new country platforms being built on the angle they are today. To cater for the increasing number of suburban services, a number of short platforms were constructed along the Spencer Street frontage near Bourke Street.
The viaduct to Flinders Street was expanded to four tracks in 1915, and in conjunction with the electrification works on the suburban network today's platforms 11 though 14 were opened between 1918 and 1924, along with the pedestrian subway providing access to them.
In October 1960 work on the 'modern' Spencer Street Station commenced, sparked by the construction of the interstate standard gauge railway link to Sydney. A new station building was constructed which replaced the 1880s iron sheds and a new 413 metres (1,355 ft) main platform was built.
In connection with the construction of the underground loop, platforms 9 and 10 were rebuilt as part of the suburban section, and a new double-track viaduct was constructed next to the original one, bringing to six the number of tracks connecting the two stations. At the same time, the older four tracks were resignalled for bi-directional operation.
Footbridges and subways
There were two main subways at Spencer Street Station, as well as the possible third one.
The southern most subways used to connect all platforms for passengers, and is the most well known. The first section of the pedestrian subway was opened between 1918 and 1924 to service the suburban platforms that were constructed at that time - today's platforms 11 though 14. This subway was extended to serve the country platforms during the 1960s rebuild of the station, opening to the public on December 10, 1962.
The main pedestrian subway underwent an extension east under Spencer Street itself after two years of work, opening to pedestrians in September 11, 1975. There were three exits, one with an escalator in the west side of the Savoy Hotel, the second up stairs on Little Collins Street, and the third under the big office tower. The final extension was carried out to the west in the early 2000s to provide access to the Docklands Stadium.
In 2005 the subway was closed to public access, replaced by the new Collins Street concourse. Today it is used by staff, the ramps having been rebuilt to be steeper than they used to be. The eastern exit in the Savoy Hotel is still there but the door is closed, the stairs in the street have had a roof placed over them, and the stairs in the office block may have been removed in the recent refurbishment. The Docklands exit is still there today, with a roller door sealing it up at the western end.
The northern subway connects the country platforms, 1 though to 8, and is used for service vehicles, such as the toilet pumping truck, buffet stocking trolley, and luggage carts. I believe it was opened in the 1960s as part of the development carried out at that time.
The third subway is the mail subway - used to carry mailbags to the Mail Exchange building located across Spencer Street, plus there is the stories that keep getting repeated over and over relating to their former usage as a shooting range
Work on the Bourke Street footbridge stated in July 1999 was part of the Melbourne Docklands development, with it being opening to pedestrians in March 6, 2000.
The mechanically interlocked signal box at the station was opened in 1887, and was decommissioned in June 2008 as part of an upgrade to signalling that saw the current Computer Based Interlocking installed.
|January 17, 1859||Opened|
|January 17, 1859||Williamstown line finally completed to Melbourne. Geelong trains can now operate direct to Spencer Street Station|
|January 20, 1922||Line amplified to six tracks Southern Cross to Essendon Flyover|
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- Contains portions of the Wikipedia article Southern Cross railway station, Melbourne last modified on 16 December 2011 - I added a heap of the history to it back in 2008.
- (July 2003). Newsrail: page 218
- Vance Findlay (August 2003). "More on Batman's Hill Station". Newsrail: pages 238-240.
- Sid Brown (November 2002). "Batman's Hill to Southern Cross - via Spencer Street". Newsrail: pages 335-347.