Southern Cross railway station

"Southern Cross Station" redirects here. For the railway station in Western Australia, see Southern Cross railway station, Western Australia.
"Spencer Street Station" redirects here. For the street in Melbourne, see Spencer Street, Melbourne.
Southern Cross
Commuter, regional and inter-city rail station

Main entrance to the station on the corner of Collins & Spencer Streets in December 2007
Location Spencer Street, Melbourne, Victoria
Coordinates 37°49′06″S 144°57′09″E / 37.8184°S 144.9524°E / -37.8184; 144.9524Coordinates: 37°49′06″S 144°57′09″E / 37.8184°S 144.9524°E / -37.8184; 144.9524
Owned by Southern Cross Station Pty Ltd
Operated by Southern Cross Station Pty Ltd
Line(s) Alamein (weekday pre-peak and post-peak only)
Flemington Racecourse (special events only)
Glen Waverley
Sandringham (weekends only)
South Morang
Williamstown (weekdays only)
North East
Platforms 16
Tracks 22
Connections Bus
Structure type Ground level with mezzanine
Disabled access Yes
Other information
Status Premium station
Station code SSS
Fare zone 1

Southern Cross Station Pty Ltd

Public Transport Victoria (public transport information)
Opened 17 January 1859
Rebuilt 1960s and 2000s
Electrified Platforms 8 to 14 only
Passengers (2013/14) 17.091 millionIncrease 1.56%
Direction of travel on metropolitan lines between stations on the City Loop changes to either Flinders Street or Flagstaff depending on the line and time of day.
Preceding station   Metro Trains   Following station
One-way operation
South Morang line
toward South Morang
Hurstbridge line
toward Hurstbridge
Lilydale line
toward Lilydale
Belgrave line
toward Belgrave
Alamein line
toward Alamein
Glen Waverley line
Pakenham line
toward Pakenham
Cranbourne line
toward Cranbourne
Frankston line
toward Frankston
Sandringham line
One-way operation
Upfield line
toward Upfield
Craigieburn line
toward Craigieburn
Flemington Racecourse line
Sunbury line
toward Sunbury
Werribee line
toward Werribee
Williamstown line
toward Williamstown
Preceding station   V/Line   Following station
TerminusNorth East line
toward Albury
Shepparton line
toward Seymour or Shepparton
Warrnambool line
Serviceton line
Bendigo line
Gippsland lineTerminus
Preceding station   NSW TrainLink   Following station
TerminusNSW TrainLink Southern
Melbourne XPT
towards Sydney
Preceding station   Great Southern Railway   Following station
TerminusThe Overland
towards Adelaide

Southern Cross railway station (formerly and still colloquially known as Spencer Street Station) is a major railway station in Docklands, Melbourne. 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 north-west of the station.

The station is owned, operated and maintained by AssetCo, a subsidiary of IFM Investors, under a 30 year lease to 2036 from the Victorian State Government[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 is 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 Central Business District. It is the second busiest railway station in Melbourne's metropolitan network, with 17.091 million passenger movements recorded in 2013/14.[2] This figure excludes V/Line passengers who use the station.

Southern Cross 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 Firefly Express and Greyhound Australia interstate coach services, and V/Line coach services to Mildura, Yarram, Mansfield, and other parts of Victoria not served by rail.


Spencer Street station platforms and goods sheds, circa 1885
Lithograph of the busy station complex in 1889 looking west from the Hoddle Grid

Opened as Spencer Street Station in 1859,[3] five years after the other major Melbourne rail terminus at Flinders Street, the station was a dead-end terminus, running parallel to Spencer Street,[4] composed of a single main platform with a dock platform at the north end.[5] It was not until 1874 that an extra platform was provided.[5]

The two major city stations were not linked until 1879, when a single-track ground-level line was opened. It operated only at night, and only for freight trains. In the 1880s, it was proposed that Spencer Street station be removed in order to facilitate the westward expansion of the city, but 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, further plans were made for a significant new station complex, including three storey office complex and dominant clock tower reminiscent of the later Sydney Central 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 freight 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-metre (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 opened in 1887,[11] and was decommissioned in June 2008. Originally built with 120 levers, it had 191 when it closed, making it the world's largest.[12]

2000s: Redevelopment

Work on the station in 2004
Work on the roof in January 2005
Construction work inside the station in late 2005

Southern Cross was redeveloped by the Civic Nexus consortium, following an innovative design by Grimshaw Architects which features an undulating roof.[13] 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 coach 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".[14] 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.[15]

By July 2004 the project had fallen behind schedule and over budget by $200 million.[16] 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.[17]

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 WSP Global. The station has been awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects' Lubetkin Prize for most outstanding building outside the European Union.[18] The other buildings nominated were the Des Moines Public Library and the Hearst Tower, New York City.[19]

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.[20][21] 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 cited 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 Etihad Stadium; 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 — Spencer Outlet Centre, which houses department store Harris Scarfe along with Witchery, Cotton On, Starbucks and many more outlets.[22]

The station's wavy roof traps diesel fumes emitted by locomotives, which has caused illness among staff.[23]

2010s: Additional platforms

As part of the Regional Rail Link program an extra two platforms (15/16) were constructed and opened in December 2013.[24][25]

Water Tower Clock

In May 2014, the historic Water Tower Clock was installed in the concourse of the station.[26] The clock had originally been erected in 1882 at Flinders Street station, opposite the end of Elizabeth Street, atop a lattice tower about 60 feet (18 m) high. In 1902 the clock was moved to Princes Bridge station, and in 1910 it was relocated again, to Spencer Street station, where it remained until it was removed as part of the station's redevelopment in the mid-1960s. The clock mechanism was given to Museum Victoria, but the characteristic turret that housed the clock was sold to a scrap metal merchant. It was later rescued by private collectors, and the clock was returned to public ownership, being put on display in 1999 at the Scienceworks Museum, Spotswood. The clock was extensively restored before its return to Southern Cross, but the original mechanism remains in the collection of Museum Victoria.[27][28]

Platforms, services and connecting bus & trams services

Overlooking platforms 8, 7 & 6
Overlooking platforms 9 & 10
The northern ("B") platforms as seen from the Bourke Street footbridge. Platform 3B is in the foreground and Docklands Stadium is in the background

Platforms are numbered from east to west.


The main concourse of Southern Cross station

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 15-16 Northern Concourse
Interior of Southern Cross station in rush hour

Platform 1 through 8:

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

Platform 9:

Platform 10:

Platform 11:

Platform 12:

Platform 13:

Platform 14:

Platform 15 and 16:

Spencer Street tram stop in February 2014

McKenzie's Tourist Services operates one route to and from Southern Cross station:

Transdev Melbourne operate three routes via Southern Cross station:

Yarra Trams operate ten services via Southern Cross Station:

From Collins Street:

From Harbour Esplanade:

From Spencer Street:


  1. "Southern Cross Station". Retrieved 2016-10-04.
  2. Station Patronage Research Public Transport Victoria
  3. Infrastructure – Southern Cross Vicsig
  4. 1 2 Vance Findlay (August 2003). "More on Batman's Hill Station". Newsrail: 238–240.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Sid Brown (November 2002). "Batman's Hill to Southern Cross – via Spencer Street". Newsrail: 335–347.
  6. Accepted Designs for the New Railway Stations, Melbourne. State Library of Victoria
  7. Official Design for New Station at Spencer Street
  8. 1 2 Department of Infrastructure: Early history of Southern Cross Station
  9. "Spencer Street Improved Station £2,000 Plan Adopted". The Argus. 1938-02-05. Retrieved 2013-05-31.
  10. "Spencer Street Subway". Walking Melbourne. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
  11. Edmonds, Mike (2007-07-20). "Signal box concerns". Herald Sun. News. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
  12. "The World's Largest Signalbox" The Railway Magazine issue 1341 January 2013 page 33
  13. The roof transporting us to tomorrow The Age 25 March 2005]
  14. Marc Pallisco (3 October 2009). "DFO South Wharf, Melbourne to Open October 15". Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  15. Time's up at last for railway landmark The Age 14 December 2005
  16. Auditor-General’s Report on the Annual Financial Report of the State of Victoria, 2005–06 Archived 2 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  17. All change at Spencer St The Age 9 July 2005]
  18. "Southern Cross Station in Melbourne Wins Prestigious International Architecture Award". 22 June 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  19. "Revamped Melbourne station wins international award". ABC News Online. 2007-06-23. Retrieved 2007-06-23.
  20. "Man critical after horror fall from escalator at Southern Cross". The Age. Melbourne. 14 July 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
  21. "Woman badly hurt in station fall". The Age. Melbourne. 25 June 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
  22. "Station's curves prove real head-turner". The Age. Melbourne. 14 July 2007.
  23. Cauchi, Stephen (22 June 2006). "Station bosses defend roof but will move staff from fumes". The Age. Melbourne.
  24. Platforms 15 and 16 Regional Rail Link
  25. Changes to Geelong line services from 22 December 2013 Public Transport Victoria
  26. "Melbourne's 130-year-old Water Tower Clock back at Southern Cross station". Melbourne Leader. 2014-05-15. Retrieved 2015-03-02.
  27. "Old clock's time to shine". Museum Victoria. Retrieved 2015-03-02.
  28. "Water Tower clock installed at Southern Cross Station" Railway Digest July 2014 page 23
  29. Route 684 Eildon - Melbourne timetable Public Transport Victoria
  30. Route 235 City - Fishermens Bend timetable Public Transport Victoria
  31. Route 237 City - Fishermens Bend timetable Public Transport Victoria
  32. Route 11 West Preston - Victoria Harbour Docklands timetable Public Transport Victoria
  33. Route 48 North Balwyn - Victoria Harbour Docklands timetable Public Transport Victoria
  34. Route 109 Box Hill - Port Melbourne timetable Public Transport Victoria
  35. Route 12 Victoria Gardens - St Kilda timetable Public Transport Victoria
  36. Route 35 City Circle timetable Public Transport Victoria
  37. Route 70 Waterfront City Docklands - Wattle Park timetable Public Transport Victoria
  38. Route 75 Etihad Stadium Docklands - Vermont South timetable Public Transport Victoria
  39. Route 86 Bundora RMIT - Waterfront City Docklands timetable Public Transport Victoria
  40. Route 96 East Brunswick - St Kilda Beach timetable Public Transport Victoria
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