Footscray Railway Station has been a major nodal metropolitan station since it was opened for passenger traffic on the 24 September 1900. The new station at the junction was an amalgamation of two earlier stations at Footscray, one on the Melbourne to Sunbury portion of the Echuca Railway Line and the other on the Melbourne to Williamstown Railway Line.

The central building (B1) has an unusual V-shape configuration and elaborate detailing at the entry. It is a striking example of a Federation Freestyle design with detailing consistent throughout all the station buildings. It is the precursor of a style also used at Jolimont, West Richmond and Williamstown Beach stations.
During WWII due to petrol rationing and industrial expansion in the area, it was estimated that 33, 000 passengers travelled through the station per day, making it the second busiest in the metropolitan area next to Flinders Street station! These days, Footscray handles more than 11,000 passenger boardings per day, but it is about to become busier.
The Regional Rail Link project, designed to streamline and separate the metropolitan and regional tracks to the west of Melbourne, proposes major works at the State heritage listed station. The works proposed include the construction of two new tracks and platforms, modifications to the existing pedestrian bridge, new forecourt area, changes to existing buildings, and redesign / upgrade of the railway reserve.

Footscray Railway Station, c.1910 (Source: Footscray Historical Society)

RBA is involved with many aspects of the project including producing a Conservation Management Plan, providing design advice, undertaking a paint scrape analysis to determine original colour schemes and developing an interpretation plan.

21 December 2012

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