Flinders Street Station Melbourne is a railway station on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets in Melbourne, Australia. It serves the entire metropolitan rail network. Backing onto the city reach of the Yarra River in the heart of the city, the complex covers two whole city blocks and extends from Swanston Street to Queen Street.
Flinders Street is served by Metro’s suburban services, and V/Line regional services to Gippsland. It is the busiest station on Melbourne’s metropolitan network and the busiest railway station in Australia, with over 92,600 daily entries per weekday recorded in the 2011/12 fiscal year.It was the first railway station in an Australian city and the world’s busiest passenger station in the late 1920s.
The main station building, completed in 1909, is a cultural icon of Melbourne, with its prominent dome, arched entrance, tower and clocks one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks. It is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. The Melburnian idiom “I’ll meet you under the clocks” refers to the row of clocks above the main entrance, which indicate the time-tabled time of departure for trains on each line; another idiom, “I’ll meet you on the steps”, refers to the wide staircase underneath these clocks. Flinders Street Station is responsible for two of Melbourne’s busiest pedestrian crossings, both across Flinders Street, including one of Melbourne’s few pedestrian scrambles.
The first railway station to occupy the Flinders Street site was called Melbourne Terminus, and was a collection of weatherboard train sheds. It was opened on 12 September 1854 by the Lieutenant-Governor, Charles Hotham. The terminus was the first city railway station in Australia, and the opening day saw the first steam train trip in the country. It travelled to Sandridge (now Port Melbourne), over the now redeveloped Sandridge Bridge, travelling along the now light rail Port Melbourne line.
The first terminus had a single platform 30 metres long, and was located beside the Fish Market building on the south-west corner of Swanston and Flinders Streets. An additional platform was provided in 1877, along with two overhead bridges to provide passenger access, followed by additional timber and corrugated iron buildings and atelegraph station in 1879. The first signal boxes were opened at the station in 1883, one at each end of the platforms. By the 1890s a third island platform had been constructed.