Overview

Transport

Client
Level Crossing Removal Authority

Collaborators
John Holland
Wood Marsh
Grimshaw
KRB

Disciplines
Landscape Architecture

Location
South Morang Railway Station to Mernda Railway Station, VIC

Date
2020

Imagery
Tract

Awards
2021 UK Civic Trust Award (Highly Commended)

The urban design vision creates an integrated design language that speaks to the local character, environment, flora and fauna, and celebrates the reintroduction of the rail to the north of Melbourne.

The Mernda Rail Extension Project is a Victorian Government infrastructure project developed through the Level Crossing Removal Project. The corridor extends 8km from South Morang to Mernda, consisting of Middle Gorge, Hawkstowe and Mernda station precincts, three community play and skate spaces, pedestrian connections and corridor wide revegetation.

Mernda rail extension - hawkestowe station - tract
Mernda rail extension - mernda station - tract
Mernda rail extension - middle gorge station - tract

The station precincts act as a catalyst for urban developments and renewal opportunities and cater to the significant and rapid population growth in Melbourne’s North. The design incorporates strategic integration with the existing and emerging local urban fabric while retaining and enhancing the local community identity and landscape character.

This was driven by the overarching vision to make a positive contribution to the development of existing and future communities. Mernda Rail Extension represents the principles of the LXRP Urban Design Framework which include identity, connectivity and wayfinding, urban integration, resilience and sustainability, amenity, vibrancy, safety and accessibility.

The overall vision was executed by the complete integration of architecture, urban design, engineering and landscape.
Mernda rail extension - mernda station - tract

Extensive consultation was undertaken with Metro Trains Melbourne, Whittlesea City Council and the local community through pop-up community events and door knocks. Our teams leading role in public consultation ensuring the satisfaction of the local community.

A coordinated outcome was achieved where the rail alignment adjusted to cater for large River Red Gums providing significant visual amenity to residents whilst catering for habitat value.

Mernda rail extension - hawkestowe
Mernda rail extension - hawkestowe station - tract
Mernda rail extension - mernda station - tract

The elevated viaduct structure and underpass of the Mernda Rail Network improves safety for rail and road users, pedestrians and cyclists and it serves as a precedent for future Victorian State Government and LXRP projects in removing dangerous and congested level crossings across Melbourne.

The design of the Recreational Areas provides a functional space under the rail viaduct for people to activate with a multitude of activities and nominated functional spaces. New planting is proposed within the spaces to support the objective of the Corridor Wide planting to green the rail corridor.

An extensive shared use path network along the Mernda Rail Extension links the community spaces, stations and the broader path network promoting connectivity and integration along the alignment and the surrounding community.

Hawkstowe Station

The landscape design of Hawkstowe Station seeks to go beyond the idea of a train station, and rather creates an integrated public transport interchange and civic public space.

The landscape elements capitalises on the character and qualities of Plenty Gorge Park to the East and Quarry Hills to the West. The station design considers the unique landscape and semi-rural aspect of the region and draws inspiration from the traditional Australian homestead.

Mernda rail extension - hawkestowe station - tract
Mernda rail extension - hawkestowe station - tract
Mernda rail extension - hawkestowe station - tract
Mernda rail extension - hawkestowe station - tract
Mernda rail extension - hawkestowe

Mernda Station

Mernda Station presents a new civic identity, stimulating growth for the future Mernda Town Centre while fostering connection between local communities.

The landscaped forecourt areas to the station are envisaged as places that provide both access to the station, and a place that can be used by the public and local community. This extends to the north as a linear landscape having potential to integrate activities beneath the viaduct such as markets and community events.

Mernda rail extension - mernda station - tract
Mernda rail extension - mernda station - tract
Mernda rail extension - mernda station - tract

Middle Gorge Station

A sense of place was vital for each station precinct and the design for Middle Gorge Station addresses the core urban design and placemaking principles by creating a distinctive language for the station, public realm and landscape.

The sculptured form of terracing activates diversity in its uses catering for a broader clientele. Trees are scattered on the embankment to provide shade and protection The result is an intimate space were groups and individuals can rest and relax amongst the greenery.

Mernda rail extension - mernda station - tract
Mernda rail extension - middle gorge station - tract
Mernda rail extension - middle gorge station - tract
Mernda rail extension - middle gorge station - tract
Mernda rail extension - middle gorge station - tract
Mernda rail extension - middle gorge station - tract