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Plans to rejuvenate Richmond station and build new walkways over the railway tracks between the station and Melbourne's sports heartland have collapsed after millions of dollars of public money was spent developing the proposal.
An $8 million master plan for the rail corridor between Richmond station and E-Gate in West Melbourne, begun by the Napthine government in May last year but left incomplete, will not be pursued by the Andrews government.
The master plan included an assessment of ways to "revitalise this ageing station and surrounds" and better connect it to the sports precinct that includes the MCG, AAMI Park and National Tennis Centre.
Richmond railway station platform. Photo: Pat Scala
The plan was being led by Major Projects Victoria, and included an investigation of how to ease pedestrian and passenger movements at Richmond station, but a spokesman for the authority said the Coalition had not proceeded with the proposed revamp.
"The future of Richmond station will be considered in line with broader network planning and development," the spokesman said.
For an indefinite period, the station will be left in its ageing state, ill-equipped for the bursts of commuter traffic regularly experienced there, save for the construction of new platform canopies for extra shelter, at a cost of $7.28 million.
Richmond railway station staircase. Photo: Pat Scala
Significant work on building the shelters will take place this weekend and it is expected they will be built by early next year.
The Melbourne Cricket Club is pushing ahead with its own investigation of the feasibility of decking the railway corridor west of Richmond station.
The MCC has recently briefed engineering consultants about the proposal, which would involve building a deck at great expense over Brunton Avenue and the rail lines between the MCG and Melbourne Park.
Architects designs for proposed apartments above Richmond station. Photo: Supplied
Football crowds departing the MCG have put Richmond station under severe pressure this year.
An interchange for eight railway lines, Richmond station was targeted for an upgrade by the former Coalition government and has been identified by the property industry as one of the 20 best publicly owned sites in Melbourne for redevelopment.
Architects have independently developed their own plans for the station, sensing an opportunity to be part of the next major urban renewal project.
Architect Fraser Paxton developed designs for a 14-storey apartment complex on top of the station, with better access across Punt Road towards the city, that he said would resolve the crowd crushes that form at the station entrance.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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