Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Middle Brighton: The quaint village station


Middle Brighton on Melbourne's Sandringham Line is a throwback to life in the late Nineteenth Century. Opened in 1861 by the St Kilda and Brighton Railway Company, the quaint English style red-bricked station still sees a passing parade of trains.


Middle Brighton Station in Melbourne on a frigid cold winter's day, July 2015.

In spite of 150 years of railway station redevelopment in Australia's second largest city, time appears to have stood still on Melbourne's Middle Brighton Railway Station. Perhaps the most peculiar aspect of this historic station building is the passenger waiting shelter on platform 2. Built to resemble a second station building when viewed from front-on, it is actually nothing more than a shallow-relief wall and accompanying awning.

Middle Brighton Railway Station looking south towards Port Phillip Bay, July 2015.

Middle Brighton is one of three railway stations in the wealthy suburb of Brighton, and most of the surrounding Churches and Mansions in the area date to the boom period of 1880. Like the station, the surrounding buildings in Church Street have also retained a quaint village-like feel to them, despite being only 20 minutes from busy Flinders Street Station by train.

The original entrance to Middle Brighton Station is now sandwiched in a lane way. Photo July 2015.

As for the original entrance to the train station? The original building on platform 1 is now sandwiched behind a row of shops off Church Street, and can be accessed via the lane way entrance not far from the crossing gates. Stepping off at Middle Brighton Station is like stepping onto the set of a Harry Potter film. While there is no platform 9 3/4, there is that unmistakable English brick station appeal that just oozes from the mortar lines of a 150 year old station. But best of all, just beyond the station's doors lies some of the best local shops and cafes, and a enjoying a hot chocolate with my daughter made for a perfect escape from the cold on a chilly winter's day.

Middle Brighton was just one of the stations I visited during my 3 day railway adventure around Melbourne. From Geelong to Gembrook and the MCG, I covered 365 km by train in my book Train Tripping Around Melbourne. My window-seat guide to exploring the best of greater Melbourne by train is available to download from just 99 cents and is filled with interesting facts and funny anecdotes from some of Melbourne's newest and most historic railway stations.


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