New Frankston station, 2019

The new Frankston station

The other day I went and took a look around the new Frankston station, upgraded last year by the Level Crossing Removal Authority alongside the nearby Skye Road level crossing removal, and in parallel with Vicroads upgrades to Young Street.

In a similar manner to Southern Cross, there’s been an extensive renovation and replacement of all the buildings, though it does not appear to have changed the basic platform/track layout.

Frankston originally opened in 1882. As you approach (by train) it appears the only structure left is the old signal box, dating back from 1922, the year that electric trains arrived. Apparently this is one of the last lever frame signal boxes on the network.

Frankston signal box

Frankston station has two main platforms, with arriving trains from Melbourne alternating between them. As it’s a terminus station, this allows some recovery time before they head back towards the City.

Frankston station, looking north along the platform

New landscaping, seats and shelters were part of the upgrade, along with water taps – good idea!

Frankston station, looking south along the platform

The new main station building is impressive, with one of those high roofs that unfortunately provides very little shelter along the platform when it’s raining. It’s also got a waiting room and toilets accessible from the platform.

You could argue that the station has two and a half platforms. Platform 3 is at the southern end of platform 2, with the Stony Point diesel sprinter trains terminating next to the Frankston line electric trains from Melbourne.

Trains to Melbourne and Stony Point waiting at Frankston

Large new LCD screens have been installed along the platforms. These seem quite readable, even in bright sunlight.

Passenger Information Display on the platform at Frankston

As you exit the station, you’ll see a big screen showing bus departure times – three screens worth (a lot of buses connect here), though it doesn’t tell you which bus leaves from which bay – it would be handy to see this added, though I suspect it may not be in the current data feeds.

Bus departures board, Frankston station exit

The flip side of that sign shows train departures as you enter. There are eight fare gates, and it was good to see that on a quiet New Years Day afternoon, these were closed and staffed – not much point in having them otherwise.

Fare gates at Frankston

In the station foyer is also a kiosk, booking office, two Myki vending machines, a Myki quick top-up machine and network status board.

Once again, the high roof is impressive, but I wonder how much shelter it provides when raining. (On the platform there is an enclosed waiting room, though for most passengers, heading towards Melbourne, it’s likely the train will be waiting for them when they arrive at the station.)

The main entrance too is visually impressive. I have no problem with this at all – the station should be a local community landmark. As long as it’s functional!

Main entrance to Frankston station

The pedestrian crossing adjacent to the station exit gives access across Young Street. Silly me, I didn’t look to see if there was a list of bus routes and which bays they use, given the screen inside the station doesn’t show them.

Just to the south there’s some creative wayfinding to help people find their way towards the beach, via Wells Street.

To The Beach - wayfinding in Frankston

Unlike the new skyrail stations on the Dandenong line, no indications they’re going to put up an Instagram-worthy sign with the official three letter station code… not surprising given it’s “FKN”, though I’d bet it’d be popular as a photo opportunity!

Either side of the station entrance/pedestrian crossing (but mostly to the north) are numerous bus bays. There were claims during the upgrade works that the design wasn’t actually sufficient for buses.

Young Street bus terminus, Frankston station

Each bus bay has printed timetables as well as screens.

Bus departure information display at Young Street bus terminus, Frankston station

The bus shelters have been criticised for their lack of capacity – they look like the standard design, and there’s one per bay. One could argue this is not sufficient shelter at peak times. There certainly seems to be plenty of space to install some more or larger shelters if they’re needed.

Young Street bus terminus, Frankston station

I also wonder how they’ve prioritised which buses are where. In the photo above, that’s the 788 in the distance – the main route to the Mornington Peninsula, and one of the busier bus routes. It’s a long way from the station entrance, and you won’t want to miss it, with a wait of 40 to 70 minutes between services.

Quibbles with bus bays and shelter aside, overall I think the upgrade looks good. It’s a more pleasant environment, and hopefully more efficient at moving people through and around the station.

And hopefully there’s plenty of capacity in the bus interchange to allow a big increase in bus frequencies, to better connect the surrounding suburbs to their new improved railway station.