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I dropped past the new Coburg and Moreland stations last week. They only just opened, and there’s still a lot of construction work going on, but here are a few pictures.
The project removes four level crossings, and it’s skyrail with two rebuilt stations.
Unlike previous skyrail stations, both have side platforms rather than island platforms – a first for Melbourne. (Edit: I had forgotten that Rosanna also has side platforms.)
Both have lifts and stairs to ground level.
Getting off the train at Coburg, the rather grand stairs down to street level remind me a little of Sydney’s Apple Store.
The staircases and the level concourse are enclosed, providing good shelter from the weather.
Seen from the outside, the structure reminds me of the National Gallery of Victoria. If only they’d included a water wall.
The entrance (to the south – the northern one isn’t open yet) is quite appealing to my eye, in particular the strong suburb branding – something also seen recently at Mentone and Cheltenham. Not strictly necessary, but I think helps emphasis the connection with the locality.
Unlike many other Premium (staffed) stations, Coburg doesn’t have fare gates, at least not at the moment. This might be because it will have an exit to the north (Bell Street) and to the south, and normally gates need staff adjacent.
Note the Tram Tracker screen. Moreland has one too. Both of them have an arrow that points in the wrong direction – to the right – presumably a hangover from their orientation in the old stations which will be fixed soon.
Both stations have bus connections, but I didn’t spot any bus departure signs – perhaps they are yet to come.
At both Coburg and Moreland, old (and restored) station buildings remain below the new viaduct.
While the ground level architecture might be inspiring, up on the platform it’s mostly the fairly standard shades of grey, and long sections of platform with no shelter.
The stairs at Moreland also have the impressive high ceiling, but they lead you from the platform out into the open, meaning many of the steps will doubtless get wet when it rains. Hopefully it’s not also a wind tunnel.
Aside from the lack of weather cover, the entrance is similarly grand – I quite like the deco-styled “To City” and “From City” above the entrances. I didn’t notice any “Moreland” sign at street level yet.
There’s a terrific city view from the southern end of the platform.
As at Coburg however, the platforms are somewhat lacking in shelter. I really don’t understand why they don’t just go a little further and provide shelter right along the platforms. It’d be a tiny additional cost, and help passengers spread out along the platform on rainy and windy days.
Form and function
While I was at Coburg, a couple of locals were asking the staff if they could look around the station – the staff said that was okay. Obviously there’s some interest, even from those not (currently) using the trains.
It’ll be great to see this project completed, including all the space under the tracks opened up for public use.
Roxburgh Park station (opened in 2007), was described by Chris Hale as the world’s ugliest new rail node, and compared to a jail. Station designs have thankfully improved since then.
Melbourne’s local railway stations, apart from performing a vital transport task, are often the focal point of the suburb. They do deserve good design – not just aesthetically pleasing of course, but also functional.
And of course, no matter how great the infrastructure, the service – especially on the Upfield line – also needs improvement. Trains only every 20 minutes is not terrific in this day and age.
Anyway, Merry Christmas to train users at Coburg and Moreland. And I hope everybody reading has a great Christmas!
This article first appeared on www.danielbowen.com
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