RBA are delighted to have been awarded the Heritage Property Award (Victoria) for 2015 by the Australian Property Institute for adaptation and conservation works at Footscray Railway Station.

The recent upgrade works at the state heritage listed station formed part of the broader Regional Rail Link project designed to streamline and separate the metropolitan and regional tracks to the west of Melbourne. RBA worked with design architects HASSELL to resolve the detailing of new works and to oversee a comprehensive program of conservation works to rejuvenate the historic station buildings.

Various interventions to the historic platform buildings were required to facilitate the upgrade. These included truncating two of the canopies to accommodate a new track alignment, and adapting the interiors to increase covered waiting areas. Where sections of wall were removed internally, vestiges of the original floor plans and arched openings were retained for interpretive purposes, part of a broader interpretation strategy that also included six interpretation panels.

Welsh Blue slates were reinstated to the platform buildings, as well as decorative roof elements which had been missing – detailed research guided the reinstatement of new wrought iron (mild steel) cresting, sheet lead repoussé and pressed cement orbs to the main building, as well as spun lead finials to the flanking buildings, all recreated by specialist contractors. During works, it was discovered that the tiles of the signal box were a rare example of Marseilles terracotta tiles manufactured by the company of Martin Frères – these were cleaned in-situ, and some were replaced with a suitable alternative. Other conservation works included the restoration of original colour schemes across the complex, reinstatement of sections of the original ‘bastard’ tuck-pointing to the brickwork of the main building, and repairs to the decorative pressed
metal ceilings of the southern platform building.

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For over a century, Footscray Railway Station has been in continuous operation as a major nodal station, leading to the western parts of the city and the state. The importance of the station in the rail network is reflected in the distinctive Federation Freestyle design of the historic platform buildings. Interestingly, although appearing stylistically consistent, the buildings were completed over a 30 year period. The upgraded station clearly demonstrates the changing nature of railways and public transport use in Victoria with its combination of historic buildings and 21st century infrastructure.

Look out for Footscray Station when passing through on your next rail journey in Melbourne’s west!

(Photographs by Peter Bennett)

DATE
12 November 2015
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