Thursday, 8 October 2015

Richmond: All change for Tigerland

Richmond Railway Station lies just 3 km northeast of Southern Cross Station in the city of Melbourne and first opened in 1859 as Swan Street Station. Today Richmond is a major station on Melbourne's Metro Trains network. When alighting at Richmond however, you can forget any reference to the name Swan. This station lies smack in the middle of Tigerland.

Richmond Railway Station's platforms stand above busy Punt Road in the heart of Tigerland, 2015.

Swan Street Station was renamed Richmond in 1867, and over the course of its life has been rebuilt 4 times. The current elevated station dates back to 1960 and consists of 10 platforms that span across busy Punt Road. Punt Road Oval lies diagonally across the road from Richmond Station, and although AFL team the Richmond Tigers now play their home games at the 100,000 seat MCG, Punt Road is still considered to be the heart of Tigerland.

Sunset over the city of Melbourne as viewed from the southern end of Richmond Station, 2015.

There is a railway myth that I was keen to put to the test during my visit to Melbourne, and that was that by standing at the southern end of Richmond Station during evening peak hour, you were able to see 8 trains at once on the 8 different tracks that lead out of Flinders Street Station. So alighting from the train just on sunset early on a Friday evening, I headed to the southern end of the platform to see if it was true, and was it? Well, in a word, no. The covered pedestrian ramps that lead down to Punt Road block any opportunity to see all 8 tracks heading towards the city. What it did provide however, was a great view of the sunset over the city of Melbourne. Maybe the myth dates back to one of the stations earlier incarnations, when it may have been possible to view 8 trains at a time, but with this myth busted, and with a Friday night football crowd descending on the station for the Tigers game at the nearby MCG, it was time for this railway adventurer to catch the next train back to the city.

Richmond was just one of the many stations I visited during my 3 day railway adventure around Melbourne. From Geelong to Gembrook to the MCG, I covered 365 km by train while discovering some of Melbourne's best kept secrets by train. Its all in my book Train Tripping Around Melbourne which is easily downloadable onto your iPad, tablet or iPhone to provide a window seat guide to exploring the best of Melbourne by train. If you enjoyed reading this post, then for just 99 cents I know you will enjoy discovering the history, facts and funny stories that I unearthed while exploring Melbourne's railway stations.

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