Pics: The new shiny West Footscray station

I’m running a bit behind in my blogging due to general business.

Here are some pictures from the brand new shiny West Footscray station a few weeks ago.

The platforms seem uncluttered, and there are Passenger Information Displays (PIDs) and a clock, which are becoming the standard now for new stations:

West Footscray station, platform 2

There’s a pretty big car park, in part to make up for the parking lost at Footscray. You can also clearly see the space for the new Regional Rail Link lines which are being added:

West Footscray station, platform 2

There are bike cages as well as car parking, as well as a bike path/ramp from the concourse to the streets on either side. The main concourse/bridge over the tracks is pretty imposing, very visible from the surrounding areas.

West Footscray station

Chris Hale from Melbourne Uni presented at the PTUA Annual General Meeting recently. He remarked that Roxburgh Park station looks like a jail.

Although I wouldn’t say it’s beautiful, happily the same can’t be said for West Footscray. At the very least, it’s more colourful, with blocks of green, and areas of wood on the ceiling (apparently to help the acoustics and reduce noise).

West Footscray station, concourse

West Footscray station, concourse

Looking east towards Footscray (central) through a tiny hole in the concourse wall, you can see the amount of development that’s going on there:

West Footscray station, looking east

Minister Mulder’s decision to provide ramps as well as steps and lifts means there’s plenty of choice for getting between the concourse and the platforms. At least if the lifts break down, now there’s an accessible alternative. As you can see from the hoarding, despite having been officially opened, the work wasn’t quite complete when I went through:

West Footscray station, platform 1

All in all, not half bad for what will become a busy station as urban renewal takes hold in the area.

It’s not staffed, apart from PSOs. I would hope and assume that space was set aside for future staff facilities and toilets should they ever be needed — it appears so from the amount of closed-off space on the bridge.

One local I know seems to like it. As an occasional user of the old West Footscray station, I’d say it’s an improvement.

Hopefully future stations will continue to look less like jails and more like a welcoming spot to catch a train.

Update 6/12/2013: I’m told one other feature of the new West Footscray is that it has solar PV panels on the roof; enough for all the station’s power needs.

New Footscray station bridge now being partially demolished

This is Footscray railway station’s William Cooper bridge, pictured just after it opened in 2010. It’s almost brand new.

Footscray railway station footbridge in 2011

Preparatory work on replacing the old bridge had began in April 2009, with the first bridge spans put into place in around August 2009. It was opened in April 2010, at a cost of $15 million.

Meanwhile, the Regional Rail Link (RRL) project was first publicly mooted in 2006, and recommended as part of the Victorian Transport Plan in 2008. It gained the bulk of its funding (and thus the green light to proceed) from the Federal government in May 2009, with a preliminary route design being announced in June 2009.

But despite the RRL project having been given the go-ahead before the bridge started major construction, apparently nobody on the bridge project team thought to check if the it was long enough to handle the extra tracks and platforms likely to be built as part of RRL…

The bridge is not long enough.

Footscray railway station footbridge being partially demolished

Footscray railway station footbridge being partially demolished

Footscray railway station footbridge being partially demolished

The northern part of the bridge is being demolished, less than two years after it opened, so it can be extended a few extra metres over the new tracks. Harking back to a couple of years ago when the new bridge was built parallel to the remains of the old one, a temporary bridge has been constructed.

Your tax payer dollars at work.

The silver-lining is the upgrade will apparently make some improvements, including escalators and better weather-proofing… it’s unclear why the bridge design didn’t include these in the first place.

Of course in an ideal world, the bridge wouldn’t have been built in that form at all — as part of the wider Footscray $62 million redevelopment programme they should have looked at a Perth-style train/bus interchange which would fix the problem of most of Footscray’s buses terminating several hundred metres away from the station, at a myriad of different bus stops.

Update Monday: It’s been pointed out to me that once construction starts it’s hard to stop and change the design, and that the RRL design for Footscray station may not have been known before about October 2009 (which is certainly when I first heard it would be extra platforms on the northern side). Fair enough.

But I still think the point here is that as soon as RRL got funded/underway (in May), someone should have flagged the issue with the bridge project team immediately, and construction halted until it was known where the extra platforms would go, and whether the bridge needed to be modified.

End of the week pics

Pretty funny: Southern Cross Station has departure signs sponsored by Red Rooster. In part because they show less information, they actually have fewer errors than the official signs — but beware — it appears they don’t show trains departing in less than 10 minutes (because they want you to think there’s time to go and buy a snack from them).
Red Rooster departure signs, Southern Cross station
(More on these signs at Marcus Wong’s blog)

Interesting… ummm… tree watchamacallit in Footscray:
Footscray tree

Last of my birthday gifts was last night (thank you M): superb tickets to Bill Bailey. Very funny stuff — go see him if you get the chance. Row AA was about four rows from the front. Fantastic.
Bill Bailey tickets

Hamer Hall is very impressive… we made sure to go in early to admire the new renovation.
Hamer Hall starts to fill up

Here’s what happens when you try and run a red light, but don’t make it across.
When you try to run a red light, but don't make it #RoadMorons

Is it just me who finds these fake birds at Bunnings a bit creepy when viewed en masse?
Bunnings birds

Bunnings birds

Sometimes it feels like you might be waiting until doomsday for the bus

Sometimes it feels like you might be waiting until doomsday for the bus #rapture

Pic taken this morning, if you wondered.

Disclaimer: actually bus 223 is pretty frequent, because it’s a former tram route.

(Spotted by J.)

Update: BBC News: ‘Rapture’: Believers perplexed after prediction fails

Franco Cozzo

If you’re ever at Footscray Station on the footbridge (the one they’re going to have to knock down extend, even though they just built it), and you look towards the east, you’ll see something from a bygone era.

View from Footscray station footbridge

You might just be able to make out the words “Franco Cozzo” on an off-white building in the distance.

Franco Cozzo, Footscray

Yes, Franco Cozzo still exists, in Brunswick and Footscray, but the perhaps once-grand building (at least in Footscray, where it is called “Franco Cozzo House”, no less) is looking a bit the worse for wear.

It’s not in a great location, either — a bit distant from everything else in Footscray, and on a traffic sewer, with no passing pedestrians and no parking. When I’ve been going past, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a soul going in.

And I haven’t had a look inside myself, as I must confess, that style of furniture just doesn’t appeal to me.

Judging from what can be seen in the window, it’s the same stuff as in the old adverts, which have surfaced on Youtube:

And the man himself (at least as recently as 2006) can still do the spiel:

Sights from the Footscray station pedestrian bridge

The Footscray station pedestrian bridge opened earlier this year. As noted in this Age article, part of it will have to be demolished to cater for the Regional Fast Rail project (even though the RFR project was funded before the bridge was built… hello, forward planning).

Anyway, there are some great views from the top of the bridge. Here are some of them.

View to the Westgate bridge…
Footscray station bridge: View of the Westgate

View to the docks
Footscray station bridge: View of the docks

View to the city
Footscray station bridge: View of the City

View to the Footscray market (be thankful the smell can’t be reproduced online)
Footscray station bridge: View of the market

View to the doughnut van and the shops.
Footscray station bridge: View of the doughnut van

The crane is a sign of things to come — Footscray is one of six suburban Central Activities Districts, and is likely to be heavily developed in coming years. The first highrise buildings are going up already.

And the empty land in the foreground will make way for the new platforms and station plaza — though I’ve been assured the doughnut vendor will be looked after.

I’m terribly sorry: the one I took of the view to Franco Cozzo didn’t come out. Will go back and do it again soon.