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Southern Cross station

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Southern Cross station

"Southern Cross Station" redirects here. For the railway station in Western Australia, see Southern Cross, Western Australia.
Southern Cross
Station statistics
Line(s) All V/Line Trains terminate here
Platforms 24 (22 in use)
Tracks 22
Other information
Opened 17 January 1859
Rebuilt 2002-2006
Electrified Yes
Station code SSS
Owned by VicTrack
Operator V/Line
Metro Trains Melbourne
NSW TrainLink
Great Southern Rail
Myki zone 1
Station status Premium Station
Melway map Link
Website Link, includes timetables

Southern Cross (formerly known, and still colloquially known, as Spencer Street) is a major railway station in Docklands, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It is on Spencer Street, between Collins and La Trobe Streets, at the western edge of the central business district. The Etihad Stadium sports arena is 500 metres (1,600 ft) north-west of the station.

The station is managed, as part of a public-private partnership with the state government, by Southern Cross Station Pty Ltd, a private consortium which includes ABN Amro, Leighton Contractors, Daryl Jackson Architecture, Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners and Honeywell Limited.[1]

The station is the terminus of the state's regional railway network operated by V/Line, The Overland rail service to Adelaide, and NSW TrainLink XPT services to Sydney. It also served by suburban rail services operated by Metro Trains, being one of five stations on the City Loop, a mostly underground railway that encircles the CBD. Based on suburban passenger boardings it is the third busiest railway station in Melbourne. In 2009 passenger traffic averaged 42,900 per day.[2] These figures exclude V/Line passengers who use the station.

Southern Cross Station also has a coach terminal underneath the Spencer Outlet shopping complex. Skybus Super Shuttle services to Melbourne Airport and Sunbus Shuttle services to Avalon Airport operate from there, as well as Greyhound Australia, Firefly Express, Premier Motor Service interstate coach services, and V/Line coach services to Mildura, Yarram and Mansfield, and other parts of Victoria not served by rail.


Opened as Spencer Street in 1859,[3] five years after Flinders Street; the station was a dead end terminus, running parallel to Spencer Street[4] (not on an angle like today) with a single main platform and a dock platform at the north end.[5] It was not until 1874 that an extra platform was provided.[5]

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 the 1880s, it was proposed that Spencer Street station be removed in order to facilitate the westward expansion of the city, however the plan was subsequently rejected.

1880s: Passenger services commence

The 1880s saw the first of several grand but unrealised plans for the station. The first accepted design, drafted by Albert Charles Cook in 1883, was a fanciful Palladian palazzo design of two and three storeys with central portico.[6]

From 1888 to 1894 the layout of the platforms was altered, with new country platforms being built on an angle to Spencer Street itself. The current coach terminal location was the site of a number of new platforms built for suburban services.[4]

In 1891, grand plans were made for a new station including three storey office complex and dominant clock tower reminiscent of the later Sydney Central railway station,[7] but the 1890s depression put an end to such expensive schemes.

In 1888 work started on the double track Flinders Street Viaduct linking the station to Flinders Street Station. The line was initially only used by goods trains, with passenger train operations commencing in 1894.[8] It was at this time that the first through platform was provided at the station, for suburban trains from Essendon and Williamstown.[5] The viaduct to Flinders Street was expanded to four tracks in 1915,[8] and in conjunction with the electrification works on the suburban network today's platforms 11 to 14 were opened between 1918 and 1924, along with a pedestrian subway providing access to them.[5]

In 1938 it was announced that construction of an improved station entrance and new car park had been approved, at a cost of £2,000, designed by architects Messrs. Stephenson and Meldrum.[9] Once again however, no construction took place.

1960s: Modernisation

In October 1960 work on a new Spencer Street Station commenced, sparked by the construction of the interstate standard gauge line to Sydney.[5] A station building was constructed which largely replaced the 1880s iron sheds, and a new 413 metres (1,355 ft) platform number 1 was built. The passenger subway which had been constructed as part of the 1918 works was extended to include access to country platforms.[5] In connection with the construction of the underground loop, platforms 9 and 10 were rebuilt as part of the suburban section of the station, and a new double-track viaduct was constructed between Spencer Street and Flinders Street station, alongside the original one, bringing to six the number of tracks connecting the two stations. At the same time, the four older tracks were resignalled for bi-directional operation.

In 1962 a separate subway network was constructed to carry mail between the station and what was then the Melbourne General Post Office and main postal sorting office, situated on the other side of Spencer Street.[10]

The mechanically interlocked signal box at the station was opened in 1887,[11] and was decommissioned in June 2008 as part of an upgrade to signalling.

2000s: redevelopment

Southern Cross was redeveloped by the Civic Nexus consortium, following an innovative design by Grimshaw Architects which features an undulating roof.[12] Construction began in October 2002 and was completed in late 2006, with the majority of the transport facilities finished in time for the 2006 Commonwealth Games. The central features of the design include a wave-shaped roof, a new entrance and concourse on Collins Street, a new bus interchange, a new food court, a bar/restaurant, separate retail outlets inside the station and a separate shopping complex between Bourke and La Trobe Streets.

This new shopping complex originally comprised a Direct Factory Outlets centre, a Virgin Megastore, along with food courts. This opened on 30 November 2006, although not all tenancies were occupied, and stage 2 was opened in March 2007. In 2009 the DFO relocated to a new site at South Wharf, the shopping centre being refitted by owner Austexx and rebranded simply as "Spencer Street fashion station".[13] In 2013 the shopping complex was rebranded as "Spencer Outlet Centre". In addition to the physical modifications, the station was renamed from Spencer Street to Southern Cross on 13 December 2005.[14]

By July 2004 the project had fallen behind schedule and over budget by $200 million.[15] This was covered extensively in the media. As a result of over-runs and design issues, some elements of the original design, including an additional proposed footbridge connecting Lonsdale Street with Docklands Stadium, were scrapped.[16]

Complaints about access to platforms, empty trains occupying space during the day and lack of government support were raised by Leighton Contractors, the construction firm overseeing the project. This led to concerns that the station might not be ready in time for the Commonwealth Games, and the government arranged with the railway operators to provide more access to the work site.

The station's redevelopment is part of the wider Melbourne Docklands development. The architect responsible for the design is Nicholas Grimshaw. The structural engineering design was performed by Winward Structures. The station has been awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects' Lubetkin Prize for most outstanding building outside the European Union.[17] The other buildings nominated were the Des Moines Public Library and the Hearst Tower, New York City.[18]

The redevelopment has meant that passengers take more time to get to the suburban network platforms than before. The pedestrian subway access was removed in favour of street level and elevated concourses. The subway also continued underneath Spencer Street, and its closure means it is necessary for all pedestrians to wait for traffic lights to cross Spencer Street at street level. For all suburban and some country services, passengers using the main entrance on the corner of Collins and Spencer streets have to ascend two escalators to a shopping concourse and then enter the paid area of the station, before descending again to the metropolitan platforms. There have been some accidents in which people have fallen from this elevated level.[19][20] The eight metre ascent and descent is more than necessary to clear the height of trains, and more than the three metre descent and ascent of the previous subway.

Local Architects have sighted some of the Southern Cross Station's shortcomings: the building's poor connection to the surrounding streets; its awkward juncture at the pedestrian bridge that links Spencer Street to Telstra Dome; and the baffling manner in which the grand architectural gesture of Southern Cross Station tapers off into an uninspired homage to the boxy 1980s shopping mall — the West End Plaza, which houses the Direct Factory Outlets.[21]

The station's wavy roof traps diesel fumes emitted by locomotives, which has caused illness among staff ranging from vomiting to sore eyes.[22]

Platforms, services and connecting bus & trams services

Southern Cross' platforms are numbered from east to west.


Concourses are provided at Bourke and Collins Streets. Platform 1 is north of Bourke Street, while Platform 8 South is south of Collins Street. The remainder of platforms are located between Bourke and Collins Streets, with access from both concourses. Both concourses are further divided into an open access regional section for platforms 1 though 8, and a closed access suburban section for platforms 9 though 14.


Platforms 2 to 7 are numbered as two sections: section A from the Collins Street concourse to the Bourke Street Footbridge, and section B beyond the Bourke Street Footbridge. These sections were previously known as the "Central" (2C to 8C) and "North" (2N to 8N) platforms, respectively. Platform 8 has these two sections and also a "South" section (8S) underneath Collins Street.

Platforms 1 and 2 are fitted with dual gauge track, permitting both standard gauge interstate trains and V/Line broad gauge trains. The remainder of the platforms are solely broad gauge. A motorail dock is located at the northern end of the platform, with standard gauge access only.

Standard gauge

Platform 1 & 2:

Broad gauge

Platform 1 & 8:

Station AM PM Weekends
Flinders Street 10 / 12 / 13 11 / 13 9 / 11 / 12
City Loop 9 9 / 10 / 12 10
Richmond 10 / 12 10 / 12 10
North Melbourne 11 / 14 14 11
Jolimont 9 9 9

Platform 9:

Platform 10:

Platform 11:

Platform 12:

Platform 13:

  • Frankston line – all stations and limited stops services services to Frankston
  • Werribee line – all stations and limited stops services to Flinders Street
  • Williamstown line – all stations and limited stops services to Flinders Street
  • Flemington Racecourse line – all stations and limited stops services to Flinders Street
  • Gippsland line – InterUrban all stations and limited stops services to Traralgon (1 per week)
  • Gippsland line - InterUrban all stations and limited stops services to Bairnsdale
  • City Circle – peak hours all stations services around the City Loop to Flinders Street

Platform 14:

Platform 15 & 16:

  • An additional platform was constructed from August 2009 on the eastern side of the station as part of the Regional Rail Link project.[23][24] By early 2013 the fitout of platforms 15/16 had been completed, although it is not scheduled to be brought into use until 2016.


Station Navigation
Metropolitan service
"City Loop"
Anti-Clockwise Flinders Street | Flagstaff Clockwise
Craigieburn, Flemington Racecourse, Sunbury, Upfield, Werribee and Williamstown lines
Previous Station Flinders Street | North Melbourne Next Station
Alamein, Belgrave, Cranbourne, Frankston, Glen Waverley, Lilydale, Pakenham and Sandringham lines
Previous Station Flinders Street | Flagstaff Next Station
Regional service
Albury line
Previous Station Terminus | Broadmeadows Next Station
Ararat, Echuca, Maryborough, Shepparton, Swan Hill, Warrnambool lines
Previous Station Terminus | North Melbourne Next Station
Bairnsdale line
Previous Station Flinders Street | Terminus Next Station
Interstate service
Preceding station   NSW TrainLink   Following station
Terminus Template:CountryLink lines
Melbourne XPT
Template:CountryLink stations
toward Template:CountryLink stations
Preceding station   Great Southern Railway   Following station
Terminus The Overland
North Shore
towards Adelaide
Entire metropolitan network
Entire regional network
Entire NSW TrainLink network

Trams from Southern Cross Station From Collins Street:

  • 11 to Docklands
  • 11 to West Preston
  • 31 to Docklands
  • 31 to Hoddle Street
  • 48 to Docklands
  • 48 to North Balwyn
  • 109 to Box Hill Station
  • 109 to Port Melbourne
  • 112 to St Kilda
  • 112 to West Preston

From Harbour Esplanade:

  • 35 City Circle (Free Tourist Tram)
  • 70 to Docklands
  • 70 to Wattle Park

From Spencer Street:

  • 75 to Vermont South
  • 86 to Docklands
  • 86 to Bundoora RMIT
  • 95 to Melbourne Museum
  • 96 to East Brunswick
  • 96 to St Kilda Beach

Buses from Southern Cross Station From Collins Street:

  • 235 to City
  • 235 to Fishermans Bend
  • 237 to City
  • 237 to Fishermans Bend
  • 238 to City
  • 238 to Port Melbourne

From the Southern Cross Coach Terminal:


External links

  • Southern Cross Station
  • Southern Cross Station project
  • Diagram of the track layout at Southern Cross station
  • Construction images: 2005 – 2008

Coordinates: 37°49′6.09″S 144°57′8.70″E / 37.8183583°S 144.9524167°E / -37.8183583; 144.9524167

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