Southern Cross renamed back to Spencer Street

I wrote years ago that it was stupid to throw away 145 years of brand recognition when they renamed Spencer Street station to Southern Cross.

Good news – it turns out they’ve just named it back!

This is a great idea.

The name “Southern Cross” is meaningless.

“Spencer Street” is meaningful, it tells you where the station is located.

Perhaps they’ve been planning this for a while. It might explain why the official station code got left as “SSS”.

I’ve got hold of a draft of the train map, which also has the North/West Melbourne name change included:

New train map including Spencer Street and West Melbourne

Just as with the renaming of North Melbourne soon to West Melbourne, bringing back the old name Spencer Street will help people find their way around Melbourne by train.

  • Update 1:45pm: Yes, yes, it’s April Fools Day. Thanks to my son Isaac for doing the video.
  • Also today: PTUA:

  • Skybus:

  • Marcus Wong:

Subway into SoCross: could it be re-opened?

I had been going to write a blog post asking people what this thing is, on Little Collins Street. If one looks closely, it has City of Melbourne markings.

Old subway entrance to Southern Cross Station, Little Collins Street

The City of Melbourne and the Herald Sun have highlighted it overnight: it’s an old entrance to the subway underneath Spencer Street, into the nearby station.

At the old Spencer Street station, the main way on and off the platforms was via the subway. It headed west past the ticket offices to multiple exits, mostly along the western side of Spencer Street (the street), but one or two went under the road to the other side; I seem to recall one ending at a spiral staircase in a nearby building. I suspect the exit on Little Collins Street might be the only one still in existence.

If you want a reminder of how the old Spencer Street station (including the subway) looked, check this web site. Marcus Wong also has some great photos, including this of the subway.

Public access to the subway was removed when the station was rebuilt — but for some reason nobody seems to have anticipated that passenger/pedestrian traffic would swamp nearby streets.

It’s now a regular occurrence to see footpaths in Collins and Bourke Streets overflowing, particularly at peak times.

The City of Melbourne is apparently wanting to investigate if the subway can be re-opened, which is a great idea. From their agenda from Monday night (the section on Council Works, 3.2.3):

The Elizabeth Street Streetscape works are on hold until the timing and resolution of the tram track realignments at the southern end have been agreed with the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority. Given the funding was from the Parking Levy it is necessary to reallocate the majority of these funds within this financial year.

It is recommended to Council that $1.7 million from the Parking Levy Funding be reallocated to the upgrade of the footpaths in Collins Street between Spencer and Market Streets to provide a better walking environment for pedestrians and commuters at Southern Cross Station and $750,000 be allocated towards an investigation and documentation to the reopen the subway from Spencer to Little Collins Street. The balance of the funding will remain with Elizabeth Street in order to progress this project into the next financial year.

See also: Herald Sun: Spencer St subway reopens to stop crush (paywall)

Another CBD spot in need of a footpath upgrade. Wonder if @DoyleMelbourne is looking at these?

As I understand it, much of the structure is still in place. The western end is used by service vehicles — you can see the entrances on many of the platforms for them — but if the eastern end under the road is there but unused, there is potential there, perhaps with it popping up somewhere in the main concourse.

The Little Collins entrance is steps only, so unless heavily modified, it wouldn’t be DDA-compliant.

But like the Campbell Arcade/Degraves Street subway at Flinders Street Station, for able-bodied people it could provide an alternative, traffic-light-free way in and out of the station which could take pressure off the other accessible but very busy intersections.

It’s also good to hear they’ve given more time to pedestrians at some of the existing intersections — but there’s more they could do, and the westbound tram stop in Bourke Street in particular is a problem. I’ll write about that soon with some photos. (Update: Bourke/Spencer tram stop not fit for purpose)

Photos from ten years ago – September 2003

By September 2003, I was using the digital camera a little more.

Yum yum yum — doughnuts at the Queen Victoria Market
Queen Victoria Market, 2003

One for the gunzels — trains in the yards outside Spencer Street Station (click here to see it bigger)
Trains outside Spencer Street, 2003

Here’s one showing the old Spencer Street building… I think those who complain about the new station have forgotten just how dumpy it was (though the subway was very handy).
Spencer Street Station, 2003

A better view of one of the platforms. You can see in the background they’re building the Collins Street bridge.
Spencer Street Station, 2003

Here’s a Siemens train at Murrumbeena, in its original colours. Not very appealing.
Siemens train showing original livery, 2003

Those who catch Eastern Freeway buses might remember how crowded the old Swanston Street stop used to get at peak times.
Lonsdale Street main bus stop at Swanston Street, 2003

Later in the evening, the central entrance to Flinders Street Station — often left unstaffed.
Flinders Street, centre entrance, 2003

Me in the garden in the rented house in Carnegie, trying to keep the lawn under control.
Mowing the garden in Carnegie, 2003

Down in Cheltenham, Southland Station, without its station then… and that still hasn’t changed.
Southland - no station, 2003

Impressive

It may be costing $700 million, and it may be causing untold confusion and inconvenience while it’s being built, and the new name might be silly… but damn, that rolly roof is impressive.

Spencer Street/Southern Cross Station under construction

Click here to see it bigger (and unencumbered by the blog navigation)

(Yeah, there’s a slight glitch in the picture where a taxi was moving.)

Mind you, I’m still wondering why they put the roof on first before doing all the work below it. Won’t the roof get in the way of the cranes?