Southern Cross Railway Station

Previously known as Spencer Street Station, the Southern Cross Station is a major rail terminal in Victoria, Australia. It is one of the five stations that form the Melbourne Underground Rail Loop (MURL), a mostly underground railway system around the Melbourne’s central business district (CBD). Southern Cross is one of the two stations in the loop that are not underground.

The station functions as a departure point for regional and metropolitan train, tram and bus services. It is Melbourne’s third busiest railway station. The average number of passengers (excluding V/Line passengers) boarding from the station each day in 2009 was 42,900. About 15m passengers visit the station every year; this is projected to reach 60m by 2050.

Southern Cross Station history

Spencer Street Station (now Southern Cross Station) was originally known as Batman’s Hill Railway Station. Passenger services were started in 1859 with a single main platform. The station was provided with an additional platform in 1874. In 1879, Spencer Street and Flinders Street stations were linked by a single-track ground-level line, operating at night for goods trains alone.

In 1862, for the first time, Spencer Street Station was provided with a fleet of 32 passenger locomotives. The station was redeveloped during 1875-1880 and was added with an additional passenger platform, new goods sheds and engine sheds. Spencer Street was installed with the first signal box in 1880.

"The Southern Cross Station was transformed into a state-of-the-art station in 2006."

Construction of a viaduct to link Flinders Street Station with Spencer Street Station began in 1888. In 1891, the viaduct was opened for goods traffic with a speed limit of 15mph and passenger trains were introduced in 1894. As a part of electrification of the suburban railway network, the viaduct was expanded to four tracks in 1915. The station was provided with four new platforms between 1918 and 1924.

A programme to modernise the station began in 1960. It delivered an interstate standard gauge railway link to Sydney, a new station building and a new 413m-long main platform.

Design and construction

The Southern Cross Station was transformed into a state-of-the-art station in 2006 at an investment of $700m. It was one of the most substantial infrastructure redevelopment projects in the history of Victoria.

The project was developed by Civic Nexus in partnership with Southern Cross and was designed by Grimshaw Architects. Leighton Contractors was the main builder.

The project was started in September 2002 and was completed in late 2006. A sweeping roof of about 35,000m² was erected at a height of 23m to cover the station. Ticket barriers, escalators, walkways, and rail platforms were upgraded and refurbished.

Baggage check-in areas and new passenger lounges were also constructed. The station was installed with 120 new passenger information screens.

The project also involved the upgrade of rail infrastructure such as track adjustment, and platform modifications, including electrical infrastructure works.

Location and layout

The Southern Cross Station is located at the western edge of the CBD, on Spencer Street between Collins and La Trobe Streets. Located at a distance of 1.2km from Flinders Station, the Southern Cross Station is just a few hundred metres away from Etihad Stadium and New Quay Docklands.

The station is served by 16 platforms and 22 tracks. The station has two concourses at Bourke and Collins Streets.

Southern Cross Station services

The Southern Cross Station is operated by Metro Trains Melbourne. There are many different rail services that operate from the station to Victoria, around Melbourne and all over the country.

"Initial construction work at the Southern Cross Station was started in August 2009."

Great Southern Railway provides The Overland services to Adelaide. The XPT runs Interstate Services to Sydney. V/Line operates InterUrban and InterCity services on Seymour line, Shepparton line, Ballarat line, Ararat line, Maryborough line, Bendigo line, Echuca line, Swan Hill line, Geelong line, Warrnambool line, and Gippsland line. These services originate from Platforms 1 to 8.

Platform 9 serves Epping line and Hurstbridge line. Trains for Lilydale / Belgrave line, Glen Waverley line, and Alamein line start from Platform 10.

Platform 11 serves Craigieburn line, Upfield line, Sydenham line, and Werribee line. Dandenong line, Frankston line, and Sandringham line are served by Platform 12.

Platform 13 serves Werribee line / Williamstown line and Gippsland line, while Platform 14 serves Williamstown line, Werribee line, Geelong line, and Seymour line.

Southern Cross Station facilities

Lockers are available at the Southern Cross coach terminal, in the V/Line luggage area, and on Platform 7a.

There are short / long term / pick up / drop off points, and taxi ranks. The parking facility is operated by Wilson Parking.

The Travellers Aid Australia centre at the Southern Cross Station provides public transport information, free buggy transport for disabled and elderly people, and a rest area and lounge.

The Myki Discovery Centre is located near the entrance of Spencer and Little Collins streets, on the ground level of the station. Myki is a smart card ticketing system.

Future developments

In October 2009, the Australian Government had signed an agreement to complete the final planning work for Victoria State’s $4.3bn, Regional Rail Link project with Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) and Arup. The Commonwealth will contribute $3.2bn and $1.1bn will be jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments.

The project will include construction of a 50km new rail network to connect West Werribee and Southern Cross, construction of two new platforms at Southern Cross Station, and a new rail bridge over the Maribyrnong River.

Initial construction work at the Southern Cross Station was started in August 2009.

The project is expected to be completed in late 2014.