A station building dating back to the early 1900s has been meticulously restored and repurposed at the new North Williamstown Station, blending the old with the new, as part of the Ferguson Street level crossing removal project.
The dangerous level crossing was removed and replaced with a rail trench beneath the road in December 2021.
The new North Williamstown Station precinct incorporates the original red brick station building on the city-bound platform, which has been carefully restored.
Program Director Tony Hedley said the restoration works – particularly of old masonry – was a lengthy yet satisfying endeavour.
'We worked brick by brick to restore and re-grout the structure, using around 2500 recycled bricks.' Tony said.
'The original building wasn’t built with earthquakes in mind, but the works we’ve completed will make it far less susceptible to any future tremors.'
Salvaged bluestone pavers and red bricks from the station building on the eastern side have also been repurposed within the new station forecourt.
Careful work to renovate and restore the original station building, such as replacing rotting timbers, repairing masonry and replacing crumbling brickwork, revealed two long buried and forgotten fireplaces stacked neatly below existing ones.
When the railway station at North Williamstown first opened on 1 February 1859 it was situated at ground level and an early depiction of the station shows a stone building, crossing gates and a signal box.
Tenders were called for the construction of new brick railway station buildings in May 1912, and these buildings replaced the original station.
The entire station building was later raised from the ground to improve access to the platform and building plans from that era reveal separate fireplaces were built above the existing ones. The newly discovered fireplaces were located in the Telegraph Booking and Parcels Office and the Ladies Waiting Room.
Constructed of brick and roofed with corrugated steel sheeting, the new station buildings displayed typical characteristics of the Federation Queen Anne style of the early 20th century.
The North Williamstown station precinct was transformed again in late 2021 following the removal of the Ferguson Street level crossing, to accommodate lowered platforms as part of the new rail trench that now separates trains and cars.
The restored original station building will serve as an equipment and operations hub, housing Protective Services Officer facilities as well as rail equipment and will continue to be a proud feature of the station precinct.
Steel arbour structures from the old station that supported the platform canopy, have been repurposed in the new station forecourt. They will be fitted with wires so climbing plant varieties can grow over them, adding more greenery to the landscape.
The North Williamstown Station is one of a large group of stations built over a short period in the early 20th century as part of a program of upgrades across the Victorian rail network.
The site is noted for its high historical significance for its association with one of the earliest Victorian railway lines.