Touring Arden station

Thanks to the Metro tunnel team (specifically the guys at Cross Yarra Partnership) I managed to get a ticket to the tour of Arden station held yesterday.

Arden Station is named after nearby Arden Street, and will be located in a new urban renewal precinct of the same name. The station will be between Footscray to the west, and Parkville (in the University/Hospital precinct) to the east.

At one stage they planned to name Arden station as North Melbourne, and to rename North Melbourne as West Melbourne. That plan has fallen by the wayside, basically because it was too hard to move the name.

This render of Arden Station’s overall design may help make the context of the photos below clearer.

Metro tunnel: Arden station concept design
Arden station concept design – from Metro tunnel web site

The entrance is on Laurens Street, with a distinctive brick archway design said to reflect the industrial history of the area. Certainly an impressive structure. Hopefully not too much rain gets in on wet days.

Arden Metro Tunnel station: main entrance
Arden station seen from Laurens Street
Arden Metro Tunnel station: main entrance
Arden station archway entrance, looking west
Arden Metro Tunnel station: main entrance
Arden station archway, looking east

From here, escalators and lifts will take passengers down to the concourse level, which features natural light from above.

Arden Metro Tunnel station: concourse level
Arden station: Concourse level looking west/inwards

Provision will be made for a second entrance to be added later as the area develops.

The basic layout of the station is completed, but it’s a little difficult to see how the passenger flows around the concourse will work. Hopefully it will be a direct path down to the platforms, without any kind of retail maze as at Melbourne Central.

Arden Metro Tunnel station: concourse level
Arden station – concourse level looking east/outwards to the exit

From the concourse level, passengers will go down to the two platforms.

One platform is for westbound trains (towards Footscray, Sunshine, and then Sunbury and from 2029 the Airport), and one platform is for eastbound trains (towards Parkville, the CBD, then out to Caulfield and the Cranbourne/Pakenham line).

Arden Metro Tunnel station: Looking west along the platform, into the tunnel towards Footscray
Arden: Eastbound platform looking west towards tunnel to western portal

The platforms are long enough to fit 10-car Evolution HCMT trains when they eventually come into service. Platform Screen Doors will be fitted, a first for Melbourne.

Arden Metro Tunnel station: Looking east along the platform
Arden station: Eastbound platform looking east
Metro Tunnel: looking east towards Arden station

On the tour we got to go a couple of hundred metres into the tunnel. Note the emergency walkway along the tunnel wall to the platform, for evacuating passengers from trains if ever required.

Metro tunnel: near Arden station
Tunnel near Arden station, looking east
Metro Tunnel: looking west towards Footscray from near
Tunnel near Arden station, looking east

If you’ve ever seen trucks rolling around Melbourne with pieces of tunnel on them, you’ll recognise these. The “35” is I think the metres to the station platform.

Metro Tunnel: tunnel wall, near Arden station
Side of tunnel near Arden station

The Metro Tunnel project has been a long time coming. It started over 15 years ago as just a conceptual line on a map. It’s great to see it coming together.

I’m also struck by how the Metro Tunnel is achieving some things the Suburban Rail Loop may not: stations located directly under the places they serve, and a station in an urban renewal precinct. (Both will have some long connecting tunnels between existing and new stations.)

It also underscores that Fishermans Bend is going to be a real mess in the future if it doesn’t get a heavy rail connection such as Metro 2.

But I digress. Arden station and the rest of Metro 1 is expected to be open in 2025. The scale of the project is very impressive to see.

Apart from completing the infrastructure, the challenge for government is to ensure the services that run through it are up to scratch: trains every few minutes, waits of no more than 10 minutes, every day, all day until late – that’s what Melbourne needs.

Plenty more pics on Twitter:

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

5 replies on “Touring Arden station”

I did the tour as well yesterday. Something I found interesting was that they were expecting to be running test trains through the tunnels in 12 months, and opening end of 2024, so there’s a surprisingly long (to me) period of testing and finishing.

Also, our guide said there’d be no retail on the concourse – all at ground level in the northern side of the arch.

@Tim – the new tunnel with be the first usage of High Capacity Signalling with platform screen doors in Melbourne – there will have to be *heaps* of testing to make sure that the automated systems stop trains in the correct position so that doors all line up.

So far they’ve only tested HCS from a systems level on a short single track section at Epping, with in-situ testing between Caulfield and Westall only have started in the past few months.

@Tim, it is much more than just testing for HCS. Many computer and telecommunications systems need to be installed to run the stations themselves, everything from lighting, security, and air handling systems. Then all the emergency systems (Fire detection and suppression) and how these interact with the station and rail infrastructure in an emergency. Stakeholders such as FRV and AV will also want to run mock drills and test that everything goes to plan in case of an emergency. HCS is just one of many things to be tested and commissioned.

I was on the 2:45 tour, and while they are saying 2025, it is possible that it will be late 2024 at the earliest if everything is working before then. They had to put the rails in and then test everything, from the screens to all the systems. So there is a lot of things to be done before the official opening. And since I am on the Sunbury line, I will be seeing a lot of the tunnels in the future.

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