Southern Cross
Inter-city, regional and commuter rail station
Main entrance to the station on the corner of Collins & Spencer streets in December 2007
General information
LocationSpencer Street, Melbourne, Victoria
Coordinates37°49′06″S 144°57′09″E / 37.8184°S 144.9524°E / -37.8184; 144.9524
Owned byIFM Investors
Operated byCivic Nexus
Line(s)Metropolitan: Regional and inter-city:
  • List of bus routes in Melbourne Bus
  • List of tram routes in Melbourne Tram
  • Regional coach Coach
  • Skybus SkyBus
Structure typeGround level with mezzanine
Bicycle facilities12
AccessibleYes—step free access
Other information
StatusPremium station
Station codeSSS
Fare zoneMyki Zone 1
WebsiteSouthern Cross Station Pty Ltd Public Transport Victoria
Opened17 January 1859; 165 years ago (1859-01-17)
Rebuilt1960s and 2000s
ElectrifiedPlatforms 8 to 14 only
Previous namesSpencer Street
2008–200913.1 million[1]
2009–201014.4 million (Metro)[1]Increase 10.02%
2010–201116.9 million (Metro)[1]Increase 17.57%
2011–201216.8 million (Metro)[1]Decrease 0.6%
2012–2013Not measured[1]
2013–201417.1 million (Metro)[1]Increase 1.56%
2014–2015Not measured[2]
2015–201616.6 million (Metro)[2]Decrease 2.99%
2016–201717.5 million (Metro)[2]Increase 5.37%
2017–201818.6 million (Metro)[2]Increase 6.54%
2018–201919.5 million (Metro)[3]
2018–20196.3 million (V/Line)[4]
2019–202014.9 million (Metro)[3]
2019–20204.9 million (V/Line)[4]
2020–20214.6 million (Metro)[3]
2020–20212.0 million (V/Line)[4]
Preceding station Railways in Melbourne Metro Trains Following station
Direction of travel on metropolitan lines between stations on the City Loop changes to either Flinders Street or Flagstaff depending on the line and time of day.
Flinders Street
One-way operation
Mernda line Flagstaff
towards Mernda
Hurstbridge line Flagstaff
towards Hurstbridge
Flinders Street
Pakenham line Flagstaff
One-way operation
Cranbourne line
Lilydale line Flagstaff
towards Lilydale or Belgrave
Belgrave line
Alamein line
Limited weekday peak services only
towards Alamein
Glen Waverley line Flagstaff
Upfield line North Melbourne
towards Upfield
Craigieburn line North Melbourne
towards Craigieburn
Flemington Racecourse line North Melbourne
Sunbury line North Melbourne
towards Sunbury
Flinders Street
towards Frankston
Werribee line North Melbourne
towards Werribee
Williamstown line North Melbourne
towards Williamstown
Future services (2025)
Flinders Street
Frankston line Flagstaff
towards Frankston
Regional services
Preceding station Railways in Victoria V/Line Following station
Terminus Albury line Broadmeadows
towards Albury
Seymour line
Weekday peak only
North Melbourne
towards Seymour
Seymour line Broadmeadows
towards Seymour
Shepparton line
1 weekday peak service
North Melbourne
towards Shepparton
Shepparton line Broadmeadows
towards Shepparton
Geelong line Footscray
Warrnambool line Footscray
towards Warrnambool
Ballarat line Footscray
towards Wendouree
Ballarat line Footscray
Ararat line Footscray
towards Ararat
Maryborough line
One daily service
One-way operation
Bendigo line Footscray
towards Bendigo, Epsom or Eaglehawk
Swan Hill line Footscray
towards Swan Hill
Echuca line Footscray
towards Echuca
Flinders Street Gippsland line Terminus
Preceding station NSW TrainLink Following station
Terminus NSW TrainLink Southern Line
Melbourne XPT
towards Sydney
Preceding station Journey Beyond Following station
North Shore
towards Adelaide
The Overland Terminus
Building details
General information
TypeRailway station terminus
Construction started2002 (2002)
Completed2006 (2006)
Height23 metres (75 ft)
Technical details
Size60,000 square metres (650,000 sq ft)
Design and construction
Architect(s)Nicholas Grimshaw
Architecture firmGrimshaw Architects
Jackson Architecture
DeveloperCivic Nexus consortium
EngineerWSP Global
Awards and prizesRoyal Institute of British Architects' Lubetkin Prize – most outstanding building outside the European Union

Southern Cross railway station (until 2005 known as Spencer Street station) is a major railway station in Docklands, Melbourne. It is on Spencer Street, between Collins and La Trobe streets, at the western edge of the Melbourne central business district. The Docklands Stadium sports arena is 500 metres (1,640 ft 5 in) north-west of the station.

The station is owned, operated and maintained by Civic Nexus, a subsidiary of IFM Investors and operating as Southern Cross Station Pty Ltd,[5] under a 30-year lease to 2036 from the Victorian State Government, as part of a public-private partnership.[6] Southern Cross Station contracts Infranexus for management services. Infranexus is also wholly owned by IFM.[7]

The station is the terminus of the state's regional railway network operated by V/Line, The Overland rail service to Adelaide, and NSW TrainLink XPT services to Sydney. It is also served by metropolitan rail services operated by Metro Trains, and connects with Flinders Street station and the underground City Loop. It is the second busiest railway station in Melbourne's metropolitan network, with 19.5 million metropolitan passenger movements recorded in 2018/19.[3] In 2018/19 the station also recorded an additional 6.3 million regional passengers through the V/Line network.[4]

Southern Cross also has a coach terminal underneath the Spencer Outlet shopping complex. SkyBus services to Melbourne Airport and since 2017 to Avalon Airport[8] operate from there, as well as Firefly Express and Greyhound Australia interstate coach services, a coach ran public bus (684) and V/Line coach services to Mildura, Yarram, Mansfield, and other parts of Victoria not served by rail.


Spencer Street station platforms and goods sheds, circa 1885
Lithograph of the busy station complex in 1889 looking west from the Hoddle Grid

Opened as Spencer Street station in 1859,[9] five years after the other major Melbourne rail terminus at Flinders Street, the station was a dead-end terminus, running parallel to Spencer Street,[10][11] composed of a single main platform with a dock platform at the north end.[12] It was not until 1874 that an extra platform was provided.[12]

The two major city stations were not linked until 1879, when a single-track ground-level line was opened. It operated only at night, and only for freight trains. In the 1880s, it was proposed that Spencer Street station be removed in order to facilitate the westward expansion of the city, but the plan was subsequently rejected.

1880s: Passenger services commence

The 1880s saw the first of several grand but unrealised plans for the station. The first accepted design, drafted by Albert Charles Cook in 1883, was a fanciful Palladian palazzo design of two and three storeys, with a central portico.[13]

From 1888 to 1894, the layout of the platforms was altered, with new country platforms being built on an angle to Spencer Street itself. The current coach terminal location was the site of a number of new platforms built for suburban services.[10]

In 1891, further plans were made for a significant new station complex, including three-storey office complex and dominant clock tower, reminiscent of the later Sydney Central station,[14] but the 1890s depression put an end to such expensive schemes.

In 1888, work started on the double track Flinders Street Viaduct linking the station to Flinders Street station. The line was initially only used by freight trains, with passenger train operations commencing in 1894.[15] It was at that time that the first through platform was provided at the station, used by suburban trains from Essendon and Williamstown.[12] The viaduct to Flinders Street was expanded to four tracks in 1915[15] and, following the electrification of the suburban lines through the station, today's platforms 11 to 14 were opened in 1924, along with a pedestrian subway providing access to them.[16][12]

In 1938, it was announced that construction of an improved station entrance and new car park had been approved, designed by architects Messrs Stephenson and Meldrum, costing £2,000.[17] Once again however, no construction took place.

1960s: Modernisation

In 1960, work started on a new Spencer Street station, as part of the construction of a new interstate standard gauge line to Sydney, New South Wales.[12] A station building was constructed which largely replaced the 1880s iron sheds, and a new 413-metre (1,355 ft) platform number 1 was built. The passenger subway which had been constructed as part of the 1918 works was extended to include access to country platforms.[12] In connection with the construction of the underground loop, platforms 9 and 10 were rebuilt as part of the suburban section of the station, and a new double-track viaduct was constructed between Spencer Street and Flinders Street station, alongside the original one, bringing to six the number of tracks connecting the two stations. At the same time, the four older tracks were resignalled for bi-directional operation.

In 1962, a separate subway network was constructed to carry mail between the station and what was then the Melbourne General Post Office and main postal sorting office, situated on the other side of Spencer Street.[18]

The mechanically interlocked signal box at the station opened in 1887,[19] and was decommissioned in June 2008. Originally built with 120 levers, it had 191 when it closed, making it the world's largest.[20]

Artist Harold Freedman's 36.6-metre (120 ft 1 in) long and 7.32-metre (24 ft 0 in) high History of Transport mural featured above the main concourse of the Spencer Street station and was unveiled by the premier of Victoria on 30 January 1978. During radical redevelopment (2002–2006) Freedman's mural was removed,[21] but due to bargaining by the CFMEU,[22] it remains on display above shop-fronts in the adjacent retail centre, DFO.[22]

2000s: Redevelopment

Work on the station in 2004
Work on the roof in January 2005
Construction work inside the station in late 2005

Southern Cross was redeveloped by the Civic Nexus consortium, following an innovative design by Grimshaw Architects and Jackson Architecture which features an undulating roof.[23] Construction began in October 2002 and was completed in late 2006, with the majority of the transport facilities finished in time for the 2006 Commonwealth Games. The central features of the design include a wave-shaped roof, a new entrance and concourse on Collins Street, a new coach interchange, a new food court, a bar/restaurant, separate retail outlets inside the station and a separate shopping complex between Bourke and La Trobe streets.

This new shopping complex originally comprised a Direct Factory Outlet centre, a Virgin Megastore, along with food courts. This opened on 30 November 2006, although not all tenancies were occupied, and stage 2 was opened in March 2007. In 2009 the DFO relocated to a new site at South Wharf, the shopping centre being refitted by owner Austexx and rebranded simply as "Spencer Street fashion station".[24] In 2013 the shopping complex was rebranded as "Spencer Outlet Centre".

In addition to the physical modifications, the station was renamed from Spencer Street to Southern Cross on 13 December 2005.[25]

By July 2004, the project had fallen behind schedule and over budget by $200 million.[26] This was covered extensively in the media. As a result of over-runs and design issues, some elements of the original design, including an additional proposed footbridge connecting Lonsdale Street with Docklands Stadium, were scrapped.[27]

Complaints about access to platforms, empty trains occupying space during the day and lack of government support were raised by Leighton Contractors, the construction firm overseeing the project. This led to concerns that the station might not be ready in time for the Commonwealth Games, and the government arranged with the railway operators to provide more access to the work site.

The station's redevelopment is part of the wider Melbourne Docklands development. The architect responsible for the design is Nicholas Grimshaw. The structural engineering design was performed by WSP Global. The station has been awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects' Lubetkin Prize for most outstanding building outside the European Union.[28] The other buildings nominated were the Des Moines Public Library and the Hearst Tower, New York City.[29]

The redevelopment has meant that passengers take more time to get to the suburban network platforms than before. The pedestrian subway access was removed in favour of street level and elevated concourses. The subway also continued underneath Spencer Street, and its closure means it is necessary for all pedestrians to wait for traffic lights to cross Spencer Street at street level. For all suburban and some country services, passengers using the main entrance on the corner of Collins and Spencer Streets have to ascend two escalators to a shopping concourse and then enter the paid area of the station, before descending again to the metropolitan platforms. There have been some accidents in which people have fallen from this elevated level.[30][31] The 8-metre (26 ft 3 in) ascent and descent is more than necessary to clear the height of trains, and more than the 3-metre (9 ft 10 in) descent and ascent of the previous subway.

Local architects have cited some of the Southern Cross station's shortcomings: the building's poor connection to the surrounding streets; its awkward juncture at the pedestrian bridge that links Spencer Street to Docklands Stadium; and the baffling manner in which the grand architectural gesture of Southern Cross Station tapers off into an uninspired homage to the boxy 1980s shopping mall—Spencer Outlet Centre.[32]

2010s: Additional platforms

As part of the Regional Rail Link project an extra two platforms (15/16) were constructed and opened in December 2013. These are divided into 15a, 15b, 16a and 16b. They are often used for Gippsland Services, and the lines that use the RRL tracks to Sunshine (Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo lines). These platforms allow trains to avoid the North Melbourne Flyover, which is an inconvenience for trains as it has a maximum speed of 15 km/h (9.3 mph), and has shown to cause abnormal wheel wear on the VLocity fleet, as confirmed by an independent report commissioned by V/Line in 2016 to find out the cause of the problem, which ultimately led to up to a month of cancellations of services.

Water Tower Clock

In May 2014, the historic Water Tower Clock was installed in the concourse of the station.[33] The clock had originally been erected in 1882 at Flinders Street station, opposite the end of Elizabeth Street, atop a lattice tower about 60 feet (18 m) high. In 1902 the clock was moved to Princes Bridge station, and in 1910 it was relocated again, to Spencer Street station, where it remained until it was removed as part of the station's redevelopment in the mid-1960s. The clock mechanism was given to Museum Victoria, but the characteristic turret that housed the clock was sold to a scrap metal merchant. It was later rescued by private collectors, and the clock was returned to public ownership, being put on display in 1999 at the Scienceworks Museum, Spotswood. The clock was extensively restored before its return to Southern Cross, but the original mechanism remains in the collection of Museum Victoria.[34][35]

Platforms and services

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Overlooking platforms 8, 7 & 6
V/Line platforms
The northern ("B") platforms as seen from the Bourke Street footbridge. Platform 3B is in the foreground and Docklands Stadium is in the background

Platforms are numbered from east to west.


The main concourse of Southern Cross station
Concourse retail

Concourses are provided at Bourke and Collins Streets. Platform 1 is north of Bourke Street, while Platform 8 South is south of Collins Street. The remainder of platforms are located between Bourke and Collins Streets, with access from both concourses, with regional services from platforms 1–8 and 15–16, and suburban services from platforms 9–14 (platform 8 can also accommodate suburban services if necessary).


Platform 15–16 Northern Concourse
Platforms 9 and 10 during rush hour

Platforms 2 to 7, as well as platforms 15 and 16 are numbered as two sections: section A from the Collins Street concourse to the Bourke Street Footbridge, and section B beyond the Bourke Street Footbridge. These sections were previously known as the "Central" (2C to 8C) and "North" (2N to 8N) platforms, respectively. Platform 8 has these two sections and also a "South" section (8S) underneath Collins Street used commonly for Seymour services.

Platforms 1 and 2 are fitted with dual gauge track, permitting both standard gauge interstate trains and V/Line broad gauge trains. The remainder of the platforms are solely broad gauge. A motorail dock is located at the northern end of the platform, with standard gauge access only.

VLocity and Sprinter DMUs await their departure from Melbourne's Southern Cross

Standard gauge

Platforms 1 & 2:

Broad gauge

Platforms 1–7:

Platform 8:

Broad gauge V/Line services departing Platforms 1–7 also depart from Platform 8

Platform 9:
Destinations via City Loop – Clifton Hill Group:

Platform 10:
Destinations via City Loop – Burnley Group:

Platform 11:
Destinations via North Melbourne – Northern Group:

Platform 12:
Destinations via Flinders Street – Caulfield Group:

Platform 13:
Destinations via Flinders Street:

Platform 14:
Destinations via North Melbourne:

Platforms 15 & 16:

Broad gauge V/Line services departing Platforms 1–8 also depart from Platforms 15 & 16.

Transport links


Spencer Street tram stop in February 2014

Kinetic Melbourne operate three bus routes via Southern Cross station:

McKenzie's Tourist Services operates one bus route to and from Southern Cross station:

Yarra Trams operate nine services via Southern Cross station:

From Collins Street:

From Harbour Esplanade:

From Bourke Street:


The following coach services are operated to and from Southern Cross station by private companies on behalf of V/Line:[49]


  1. ^ Weekday pre-peak and post-peak only
  2. ^ Special events only


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Train Station Patronage FY2008-2014" (XLS). Public Transport Victoria. 14 May 2015. Archived from the original on 30 March 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2016. (access from "Research and statistics – Public Transport Victoria". Archived from the original on 3 November 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2016.)
  2. ^ a b c d "Station Patronage Data 2013–2018". Philip Mallis. Transport for Victoria. 13 February 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Victorian Department of Transport, Data Vic (2022). "Annual metropolitan train station patronage (station entries)".
  4. ^ a b c d Victorian Department of Transport, Data Vic (2022). "Annual regional train station patronage (station entries)".
  5. ^ "Southern Cross Station". Southern Cross Station Pty Ltd. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
  6. ^ "Southern Cross Station". IFM Investors. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
  7. ^ "About Southern Cross Station" (PDF). Southern Cross Station. p. 8. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
  8. ^ Geelong-Avalon Airport shuttle bus service replaced by SkyBus Geelong Advertiser 9 July 2017
  9. ^ Infrastructure – Southern Cross Vicsig
  10. ^ a b Vance Findlay (August 2003). "More on Batman's Hill Station". Newsrail: 238–240.
  11. ^ "MELBOURNE AND WILLIAMSTOWN RAILWAY". The Argus (Melbourne). No. 3, 924. Victoria, Australia. 8 January 1859. p. 5. Retrieved 2 March 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Sid Brown (November 2002). "Batman's Hill to Southern Cross – via Spencer Street". Newsrail: 335–347.
  13. ^ Accepted Designs for the New Railway Stations, Melbourne. State Library of Victoria
  14. ^ Official Design for New Station at Spencer Street
  15. ^ a b Department of Infrastructure: Early history of Southern Cross Station Archived 4 June 2009 at the Library of Congress Web Archives
  16. ^ "Spencer Street Station". School of Historical & Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne. Retrieved 10 January 2024.
  17. ^ "Spencer Street Improved Station £2,000 Plan Adopted". The Argus. 5 February 1938. Retrieved 31 May 2013 – via Trove.
  18. ^ "Spencer Street Subway". Walking Melbourne. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  19. ^ Edmonds, Mike (20 July 2007). "Signal box concerns". Herald Sun. News. Retrieved 7 June 2008.
  20. ^ "The World's Largest Signalbox" The Railway Magazine issue 1341 January 2013 page 33
  21. ^ "Fight to save historic mural", Australasian Business Intelligence, COMTEX News Network, Inc, 14 January 2004, ISSN 1320-6680
  22. ^ a b Perin, Victoria (6 May 2017). "Harold Freedman: Artist for the People". Memo Review. 2017 (18).
  23. ^ The roof transporting us to tomorrow The Age, 25 March 2005]
  24. ^ Marc Pallisco (3 October 2009). "DFO South Wharf, Melbourne to Open October 15". Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  25. ^ Time's up at last for railway landmark The Age, 14 December 2005
  26. ^ Auditor-General’s Report on the Annual Financial Report of the State of Victoria, 2005–06 Archived 2 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ All change at Spencer St The Age, 9 July 2005]
  28. ^ "Southern Cross Station in Melbourne Wins Prestigious International Architecture Award". 22 June 2007. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  29. ^ "Revamped Melbourne station wins international award". ABC News Online. 23 June 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2007.
  30. ^ "Man critical after horror fall from escalator at Southern Cross". The Age. Melbourne. 14 July 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
  31. ^ "Woman badly hurt in station fall". The Age. Melbourne. 25 June 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
  32. ^ "Station's curves prove real head-turner". The Age. Melbourne. 14 July 2007.
  33. ^ "Melbourne's 130-year-old Water Tower Clock back at Southern Cross station". Melbourne Leader. 15 May 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  34. ^ "Old clock's time to shine". Museum Victoria. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  35. ^ "Water Tower clock installed at Southern Cross Station" Railway Digest July 2014 page 23
  36. ^ "232 Altona North - City (Queen Victoria Market)". Public Transport Victoria.
  37. ^ "235 City - Fishermans Bend via Williamstown Road". Public Transport Victoria.
  38. ^ "237 City - Fishermans Bend via Lorimer Street". Public Transport Victoria.
  39. ^ "684 Eildon - Melbourne via Lilydale Station". Public Transport Victoria.
  40. ^ "11 West Preston - Victoria Harbour Docklands". Public Transport Victoria.
  41. ^ "48 North Balwyn - Victoria Harbour Docklands". Public Transport Victoria.
  42. ^ "109 Box Hill - Port Melbourne". Public Transport Victoria.
  43. ^ "12 Victoria Gardens - St Kilda". Public Transport Victoria.
  44. ^ "35 City Circle (Free Tourist Tram)". Public Transport Victoria.
  45. ^ "70 Waterfront City Docklands - Wattle Park". Public Transport Victoria.
  46. ^ "75 Etihad Stadium Docklands - Vermont South". Public Transport Victoria.
  47. ^ "86 Bundoora RMIT - Waterfront City Docklands". Public Transport Victoria.
  48. ^ "96 East Brunswick - St Kilda Beach". Public Transport Victoria.
  49. ^ "Timetable list". V/Line – Regional public transport for Victoria. Retrieved 18 March 2018.