Spencer Street Subways

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Bullucked Chief Train Controller

Subways at Spencer Street.

I believe the down end subways are still in place and are used by staff to ferry equipment and supplies to the trains at most (all?) platforms. I believe that this subway used to also link in to the GPO and it also had a shooting range as well. Can anyone confirm or deny? If used for supplies, where does it pop up or is only platform to platform now? The 'up' end subway (Degraves?), has it been collapsed / filled or is it still there? It used to cross under Spencer Street (the road) and come up in the back of the shops on the corner of Spencer and Collins Streets. All gone or still a hole under ground? Standing on the Eastern group sparks platform you can still see the subway with possibly lights flickering away.

Found an interesting web site with some mob (looks like) wanting 5 mill to extend the 'Up' end subway out across to the Darklands arena area. (Under Wander-a-while Way as well I guess)

Has interested me for a while.

 
wongm GEEWONG

Location: Geelong, Victoria

There are 2 main subways, as well as the possible third one.

The southern most one used to connect all platforms for passengers. It was originally built just to connect the suburban platforms (platforms 11 though 14) around the 1910s/1920s. It was extended east to connect to the country platforms when the station was rebuilt in the 1960s, and made into the main accessway to the station. Also at the same time it was extended east under Spencer Street to 3 exits, one with an escalator in the west side of the Savoy Hotel, the second up stairs on Little Collins Street, and the third under the big office tower. It was also extended west in the 2000s to provide access to the Docklands Stadium.

My photos from that subway only date to 2005, when they had already started pulling stuff down:
http://www.railgeelong.com/gallery/geelong-line/southern-cross/page/19/

Today it is used by staff, the ramps to it were rebuilt to be steeper than they used to be. The exit in the Savoy Hotel is still there but the door is closed, the stairs in the street have had a roof placed over them, and the stairs in the office block may have been removed in the recent refurbishment. The Docklands exit was still there a year ago, with a roller door sealing it up.

The northern subway connects the country platforms, 1 though to 8. I believe it was opened in the 1960s, and is used for service vehicles, such as the toilet pumping truck, buffet stocking trolley, and luggage carts.

I haven't found much about the mail subway other than the heresay that keeps getting repeated over and over. Embarassed

 
wongm GEEWONG

Location: Geelong, Victoria

And in addition, the Degraves Street subway is at Flinders Street, constructed in the 1950s. The subway under the Flinders Street platforms is called the Centre Subway, it was widened from the barriers to the steps for platform 4/5 in conjunction with the works.

The shops are called Campbell Arcade. It runs north of the ticket barriers at Elisabeth Street and has a few exists, two on the north side of Flinders Street, one on Degraves Street itself, and one into the basement of a building, now closed off.

 
Flinders_Flyer Chief Train Controller

Location: Greensborough

A recent caller to 3AW claimed that one of the reasons for closing the pedestrian subway at Southern Cross was because of terrorism  Confused Can anyone elaborate on this?

I suppose it provides another entrance to the station which would require more surveillance and staff but other than that I can't think of how it could be utilized in the event of a terrorist act. How does it differ from the pedestrian subways at Flinders Street? Perhaps the design of this subway makes it more vulnerable to damage?

I'm sure someone else can suggest reasons... or maybe I shouldn't be taking a caller to 3AW so literally  Wink

 
ppiglet Train Controller

The subway (mail route) from Spencer St to the GPO certainly does exist, I saw it when I was in the basement of the GPO during its refurbishment in 2004.  The enterance was bricked over.

 
historian Chief Train Controller

The subway (mail route) from Spencer St to the GPO certainly does exist

- A user

The GPO is on the corner of Elizabeth and Bourke St (or was, the building is now a shopping centre). There was never a subway from Spencer St station to the GPO!

The building on the corner of Spencer and Bourke, to which the subway goes, was the Mail Exchange. It's function was to sort mail. Up until the '50s (or even '60s?) the primary means of long distance mail transport was train. The subway not only provided an easy means of transporting the mail between the exchange and the platforms, but it was also dry and secure.

 
RustyRick Deputy Commissioner

Location: Wondering what happened to the G's?

My dad used to work for the PMG as a Technical Officer. Part of his duties was to assist in delivering the payroll (cash in those days). He was required to carry a Colt revolver to stop robberies, and target practice took place in the tunnel b/w the mail exchange and the station.

Rick

 
micleaau Station Master

Hi,

use to work for Aussie post at the mail exchange, still remember ducking out to see the the flying scotsman when it arrived into melbourne, yes the tunnel is there and was used to transfer mail we were still working there until about 1989 I think. You could see the doors to the tunnel in the sub basement area.

              cheers

 
YM-Mundrabilla Chief Commissioner

Location: Mundrabilla of course

The subway (mail route) from Spencer St to the GPO certainly does exist

- A user

The GPO is on the corner of Elizabeth and Bourke St (or was, the building is now a shopping centre). There was never a subway from Spencer St station to the GPO!

The building on the corner of Spencer and Bourke, to which the subway goes, was the Mail Exchange. It's function was to sort mail. Up until the '50s (or even '60s?) the primary means of long distance mail transport was train. The subway not only provided an easy means of transporting the mail between the exchange and the platforms, but it was also dry and secure.

- historian

If you go back a step further, the GPO was at the corner of Bourke and Spencer Streets. The PO at the corner of Elizabeth and Bourke Streets was the Elizabeth Street PO. This was case for many years before Elizabeth Street became the GPO and Spencer St became the Mail Exchange.

There certainly was a tunnel under Spencer Street between the station and the GPO/Mail Exchange for use when the mail was carried by rail.

 
kuldalai Chief Commissioner

As rebuilt as part of the 1962 station there was the old Southern Concourse for Departmental access to trains at platforms 1 to 8; a further Departmental subway commenced off a ramp on the Southern end of platforms 7/8 which led to platforms 9/10, 11/12 and 13/14 . The former RIO's pistol shooting range was underground off this subway .

A third Departmental subway ran the full length underground under the old platform 1 with entry from the old Southern concourse, from the basement of the old Luggage Hall (the tunnel under Spencer St to the Basement of the old Mail Exchange building led off this subway underground just north of Bourke St); and the platform 1 departmental subway at its Northern end came to ground via a ramp at the north end of old platform 1 under the old road overpass from the Inner Roadway.

From here a fourth North end Departmental subway linked platforms 1, 2, 3/4, 5/6 and 7/8.

The Departmental subways provided tow motor access via underground subways from the Luggage Hall basement and Mail Exchange to/from all country platforms at both the North and South ends .  This avoided to a large degree tow motors mixing with passengers on the platforms as the luggage/mail was moved underground and bought to surface via the north or south end ramps as required to load/unload into brakevans.

The fixed consist working introduced in October 1981 saw brakevans always operating on the Collins St end of country trains, so the North end subway was then only used by T & C vehicles.  A shift by Australia Post away from mail by rail in the 1980's saw the mail subway bricked off .

The old Passenger Subway linking all platforms opposite Francis Street is still there but used for departmental storage purposes. It was abandonded for passenger access in the 2006 station as the ramps were too steep and do not meet DDA compliance requirements.

 
LamontCranston Chief Commissioner

And in addition, the Degraves Street subway is at Flinders Street, constructed in the 1950s. The subway under the Flinders Street platforms is called the Centre Subway, it was widened from the barriers to the steps for platform 4/5 in conjunction with the works.

The shops are called Campbell Arcade. It runs north of the ticket barriers at Elisabeth Street and has a few exists, two on the north side of Flinders Street, one on Degraves Street itself, and one into the basement of a building, now closed off.

- wongm



I've always found that arcade really creepy.

And what was that stump at the end meant for? The exit into Degrave St branches off and then it just sorta keeps going for a few more meters

 
historian Chief Train Controller

If you go back a step further, the GPO was at the corner of Bourke and Spencer Streets. The PO at the corner of Elizabeth and Bourke Streets was the Elizabeth Street PO. This was case for many years before Elizabeth Street became the GPO and Spencer St became the Mail Exchange.

- A user

What period?

I've just pulled the 1890 report of the Postal Department off the shelf, and the 'General Post Office' is quite clearly the one in Elizabeth/Bourke St

(they are discussing, for example, the provision of the bells in the clock

tower).

 
historian Chief Train Controller

I've always found that arcade really creepy.

And what was that stump at the end meant for? The exit into Degrave St branches off and then it just sorta keeps going for a few more meters

- A user

It opened into the basement of the building that is now the CAE. I can remember, not that long ago, when the basement was 'The Paperback Bookshop of Charles Dickens' (!) You could go down stairs from DeGraves St into the bookshop, and then into the subway.

The building on the eastern side of DeGraves St at the Flinders St end was a post office, and could also be accessed from the subway.

 
YM-Mundrabilla Chief Commissioner

Location: Mundrabilla of course

If you go back a step further, the GPO was at the corner of Bourke and Spencer Streets. The PO at the corner of Elizabeth and Bourke Streets was the Elizabeth Street PO. This was case for many years before Elizabeth Street became the GPO and Spencer St became the Mail Exchange.

- A user

What period?

I've just pulled the 1890 report of the Postal Department off the shelf, and the 'General Post Office' is quite clearly the one in Elizabeth/Bourke St

(they are discussing, for example, the provision of the bells in the clock

tower).

- historian

Fair enough it is good to be correct even if I have to admit to an ill-informed boob - you have the evidence - my info was only from someone who worked in the PMG about 40 years ago.

Regards

 
METROL Chief Train Controller

Location: Melbourne,Vic



The shops are called Campbell Arcade. It runs north of the ticket barriers at Elisabeth Street and has a few exists, two on the north side of Flinders Street, one on Degraves Street itself, and one into the basement of a building, now closed off.

- LamontCranston



I've always found that arcade really creepy.

And what was that stump at the end meant for? The exit into Degrave St branches off and then it just sorta keeps going for a few more meters

Apparently some Shop used to be there, if you look at the paintwork around the door thing.

 
YM-Mundrabilla Chief Commissioner

Location: Mundrabilla of course

There were two department stores in Flinders Street back in the days - 'Mutual Store' where one leg of the Degraves Street subway emerged and Ball and Welch just east of St Pauls.

 
LamontCranston Chief Commissioner

Thanks for all that!

With the redevelopment in the city centre, I'm surprised the Campbell Arcades additional entrances haven't been reopened.

 
historian Chief Train Controller

Fair enough it is good to be correct even if I have to admit to an ill-informed boob - you have the evidence - my info was only from someone who worked in the PMG about 40 years ago.

- A user

Hardly an ill-informed boob...

And I am NOT saying that you are wrong, merely that at two points in time (recently and in 1890) the GPO was in Elizabeth St. I certainly can't say for sure that Australia Post always considered the GPO was in Elizabeth St (doing a Google search give an ambivalent answer), so I was interested in your sources.

I've been wrong before and will certainly be wrong again.

 
Rocket Deputy Commissioner

The shops are called Campbell Arcade. It runs north of the ticket barriers at Elisabeth Street and has a few exists, two on the north side of Flinders Street, one on Degraves Street itself, and one into the basement of a building, now closed off.

- LamontCranston

I've always found that arcade really creepy.And what was that stump at the end meant for? The exit into Degrave St branches off and then it just sorta keeps going for a few more metersApparently some Shop used to be there, if you look at the paintwork around the door thing.

- METROL



The last business I recall there was a barber shop.

 
Rocket Deputy Commissioner

The subway (mail route) from Spencer St to the GPO certainly does exist, I saw it when I was in the basement of the GPO during its refurbishment in 2004. The enterance was bricked over.

- ppiglet



A subway ran the full length of platform 1 from near Collins St to the the Lonsdale Street end. The parcels motors used it to take inwards consignments to the Inwards Parcels Office. I started work at the Outwards Parcels Office in 1965. The OPO was directly opposite Head Office ( 67 Spencer St ) and separated from it by the cobblestone car park and delivery area for trucks dropping off outbound parcels.
There most certainly was a connection to the post office which in those days was alive and well and heavily utilised conveying mail to the trains. I think it was Easter 1968 after I had transferred to the loco that I travelled to Ballarat in the guards van and the only place to sit was on the very many mail bags.
There was definitely a pistol range down there somewhere although I never saw it. Back then I believe the stations kept a revolver in the safe and some staff were trained to use it.

 
harrisfan124 Train Controller

Location: on the train/Sydenham line

look on google always infomation there either true or false

 
Revenue Chief Commissioner

Patronage at Southern Cross is obviously going through the roof at the moment. One reason for that is that we now have more trains operating directly from North Melbourne - Southern Cross - Flinders Street. As most people know, Frankston trains generally travel to Williamstown and Werribee, and when that is eventually promoted it will probably further increase patronage again.  So there is a very real possibility that Southern Cross will reach design capacity much sooner than thought. So the subways may well see use again by passengers within a few decades - even if just during peak periods to reduce overcrowding. It would require reworking of course, but it is a very real option.

 

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