Footscray Station

Footscray Station
Line: Geelong and Warrnambool
Distance from Melbourne: 5.623 km
Track Diagram: View
Google Maps: Satellite /  Map
Opened: February 10, 1859

Footscray is a major suburban station and junction on the suburban lines. It has four platforms on four tracks. One pair leads to Newport, while the other is for trains towards Sunshine. A pair of track also run under the station, part of the dual gauge freight lines from West Footscray to Dynon.

The station buildings and signal box are red brick with a tiled roof, with brick platform faces. A narrow wooden footbridge links all platforms at the western end. The main waiting room is on island platform 2/3, with smaller disused buildings on platforms 1 and 4. A crossover between up and down lines is located at the down end of the Newport bound tracks, for use in emergencies as it is manually thrown.


Footscray was first established as a junction on the railway lines to Newport and to Bendigo. Two separate stations were provided - at Nicholson Street (Middle Footscray) for country traffic towards Bendigo, and at Napier Street (Footscray) for suburban traffic. Opened on January 24, 1859 it was the first intermediate station on the Melbourne - Williamstown railway.

The first station building on the 'country' station was the same design as those Geelong - Ballarat and Melbourne - Echuca railways. A signal box was provided at the junction from 1879.

A refreshment room at the station operated in the early days, being de-licensed in 1889 along with all other railway stations within 32 kilometres of Melbourne. It remained open beyond this date selling non-alcoholic beverages and food.

In 1901 the original stations were replaced by the current station, located at the junction of the two lines. A number of goods sidings were located at the down end of the station on the Newport bound lines, but were removed by the 1920s. The lower level freight lines were opened in 1928, and the quadruplication of the tracks towards the city was commissioned in 1976, putting an end to the junction.

In the 1990s the central station building received an interior renovation as part of the premium station program, but the smaller buildings on the outer platforms (1 and 4) are boarded up, except for the open air waiting rooms.



In 2007 $52.1 million in State Government funding was allocated to the redevelopment of Footscray, with $28 million for a new footbridge and railway station forecourt. The elderly footbridge linking the platforms would be replaced by a modern structure, which will also handle the pedestrian traffic better than the existing inadequate bridge.

The shops along Irving Street were been acquired by the government in August 2007, with demolition being carried out in January 2009. Design work for the footbridge had started in April 2008, with the plans put to public consultation in September, with the construction contract awarded to Leighton Contractors in March 2009.

A new carpark was opened in the triangle of the track in April 2009 to replace the existing car parks being used as construction staging areas. By June site huts had been put into place, and in July the ramps to platforms 1, 2 and 3 were removed to make room for the new bridge. Access to platform 2/3 was reinstated with a temporary ramp, but passengers for platform 1 needed to walk all the way around the construction site. Piling work for the foundations of the new bridge started soon after.

By August 2009 the first spans of the new footbridge were on site waiting to be lifted into place. Each span has a number of large 'rings' atop it that formed the roof supports. The floor of each span steel sheeting installed while it was on the ground, with concrete poured on top after the span was lifted into place. The first span was put into place in September, all segments being put into place by October 2009. The wall panelling of the 'tube' was then installed, along with the lift wells and stair cases that connected onto the outside. By January 2010 the structural work for the bridge was complete, the finishing touches being applied over the next few weeks.

In November 2009 a 30 km/h speed restriction was placed on all up and down trains through the station, due to sun glare off the new bridge. The restriction applied 24 hours a day, even through it only affected trains once a day in each direction, for only a few minutes at minutes. The restriction was lifted by March/April 2010 when some unknown alterations were made to the bridge to eliminate the sun glare issue.

The bridge opened to pedestrians on April 7, 2010 and on May 20 it was named the 'William Cooper Footbridge' after a local Indigenous leader and activist. The old bridge remained in place until mid April when it was removed, one section over the Sydenham line having been temporarily retained to support the overhead wiring. It took until mid 2011 for the station forecourt on Irving Street to be finished off, with the empty ground being covered with asphalt walkways, with grass on the non-walkway areas.


With the announcement of the surface level route for Regional Rail Link to take through Footscray, additional redevelopment work will be carried out at the station. In late September 2011 the remaining shops along Irving Street were demolished as part of the preparation works for the new Regional Rail Link platforms, which will be located on the northern side of the current station.

The RRL work will also require the partial demolition of the newly built footbridge, with the northern steps being removed, the bridge being extended north over the new pair of track, and escalators being retrofitted to give access between the bridge and the platforms.



February 10, 1859 Lines opened from Spencer Street to Sunbury and Williamstown. Junction provided.
July 3, 1886 New siding and crossover provided.
July 10, 1899 Siding abolished to make room for new station
September 16, 1900 New (current) station opened at junction replacing former Footscray (Suburban) station at Napier Street and Middle Footscray station at Nicholson Street
October 27, 1901 Junction signal box replaced by new box situated on island platform with 36 lever frame. Two new sidings provided, one off Up Williamstown line, and one off Down Williamstown line. Additional crossover provided between Up and Down Williamstown line.
(October 16, 1905) Angliss’s Siding provided. Leads from Down main line
November 1, 1921 Closed to goods account opening of Maribrynong River line
September 22, 1922 Siding A abolished
November 4, 1956 Connection from Down line to Angliss’s Siding abolished. New facing connection provided from Up line
January 15, 1970 Angliss’s Siding abolished
(December 19, 1972) Siding B removed
September 30, 1973 Crossover 6 abolished.
November 21, 1976 Up and Down St. Albans lines extened to South Kensington. Signal box and junction abolished.
Line Opened
January 17, 1859 Williamstown line finally completed to Melbourne. Geelong trains can now operate direct to Spencer Street Station
Track Amplified
(January 19, 1887) Line duplicated Footscray to Yarraville
(July 1, 1898) Line duplicated South Kensington to Footscray
November 21, 1976 Line quadruplicated South Kensington to Footscray
(January 19, 1887) Double Line Block provided Footscray - Yarraville
(July 1, 1898) Double Line Block provided South Kensington - Footscray
December 10, 1906 Seddon opened. Double Line Block section now Footscray - Seddon
October 22, 1912 Seddon closed. Double Line Block section now Footscray - Yarraville
August 7, 1927 Automatic Block System provided South Kensington - Footscray - Yarraville
November 21, 1976 Footscray closed. Automatic Block System section now South Kensington - Newport



NOTE: Diagrams are not to scale.



Nine of 107 images found displayed. Click them to enlarge.

Escalators linking platform 4 and 5 to the overhead bridge are actually running

But nobody uses them because they're in an inconvenient spot

March 13, 2022


William Cooper footbridge at Footscray station

Nine of 130 images found displayed. Click them to enlarge.


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