It has been suggested that Richmond suburban railway station in Melbourne should be relocate. It is a good idea and should be supported, which is the intent of these notes.
The proposed new site is between the MCG and the Tennis Centre. It has great merit as it would connect rail to the site of greater customer use and convenience with high value creation and value capture. It would move from one of inconvenient service miss-located today over Punt Road bridge.
This should be viewed in the context of the projected Australian population doubling in the next 4-5 decades, and more women playing popular sports. The population of Melbourne will increase, but hopefully not grow to 8 million as projected.
The station would have a broad concourse at the centre of a world leading interconnected sports complex displaying inspiration, imagination and innovation. Its design may even give Melbourne, the sports capital of Australia, its own iconic international image: ’a temple of sport’. There might be a triumphal arch and a parade route. The new site would serve the many existing facilities better. It would connect closely to more new ones built adjacent to and above the station. It would be near the river, parks, Botanical Gardens and running tracks. It is close to the city and other transport modes.
New integrated, flexible facilities must be carefully provided because of the cost of building a large podium over the operating railway system. The north/south site is narrow, though wider than the old, when taking into account the need for provision of 4 new express suburban track, 2 east and 2 southeast, and 4 High Speed Rail track on the southern boundary, 2 now and 2 later. The site is more or less unrestricted east/west. The news station would have wider platforms than the existing station in order to more closely match their passenger capacity with that of the capacity of trains when boarding and alighting in large numbers quickly on sports days. These requirements may mean double-decking the new station platforms and tracks, and maybe the express and HSR tracks, in the narrow space available.
The events around the new station vary from long term occasional, like special events, World Championships, Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games; to seasonal sports; to weekly events; to daily associated sports activities. These must be carefully managed to best advantage for revenue to cover high long term investment in the station and sports facilities. Large scale crowd, security, safety, disability and emergency management must be assured.
Innovative new facilities may be envisaged around and above the station, for example, a centralised Olympic Swimming Stadium, various use stadiums of diminishing size stacked above each other like a pyramid or ziggurat. More frequent daily usage would be sports administration offices, sports education, conference and coaching facilities, sports medicine and sports research, training, gymnasiums and parking. Entertainment, catering, retail, tourism, conferences, events, hotels, and high rise accommodation may be added to value capture and cover cost of the new station.
The old station would be scrapped. Its original customers were mainly for the Swan St shops which do not have the same rail needs now. Transfers from one eastern suburban service to another would still occur at the new station. Commuters to the CBD from the area of potential high rise apartment building between Swan St and the River would use the tram service along Swan St.
The new station project should be a private enterprise undertaking: like sport, it is based on competition for best results.
The new Richmond (MCG) Station would connect and make for completing a magnificent central sports complex of world class for Melbourne. It would be more desirable and purposeful than redeveloping Flinders St Station.