Mernda Station: Case Study   Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Celebrating the re-introduction of rail to the North-East of Melbourne, Grimshaw’s vision for the project was to create a new civic identity for the areas along the corridor with a view to stimulating growth in the future Mernda Town Centre. Connecting the growing communities in Melbourne’s inner north corridor to the CBD, the extension project has created three state-of-the-art stations at Middle Gorge, Mernda and Hawkstowe, eight kilometres of new duplicated rail line and five grade separations.

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The project presented many challenges to both the design and delivery team. Community consultation, stakeholder management, environmental protection and strict deadlines all required a carefully considered approach throughout the duration of the project.

The project required a multidisciplinary team to manage three stations simultaneously whilst working collaboratively in a project office environment with both the contractors and the engineering & design team. This required detailed planning and an in depth understanding of project scope and timelines.

Connection to native vegetation and local fauna

Working within the Australian building regulations and standards that apply in Papua New Guinea was challenging while coordinating multiple complicated structural elements. The complex geometry and detailed connections needed to be carefully crafted and designed with the specialist timber engineer to make sure the assembly was properly completed on site.

Acoustic design of the roof was a key design challenge in 2 ways:

Due to the shape of the roof, noise generated during large gathering in the open function spaces could be magnified by the curvature. In the summer months there are periods of intense rainfall where the impact noise would make the outdoor spaces unusable.

To solve these issues acoustic computer modelling informed the design of the roof build up to comprise a heavy internal insulation layer as well as a perforated internal lining panels with acoustic absorption.

The project has had a key focus on heritage. This included the Bridge Inn Archaeological Dig, aimed at identifying and promoting local heritage values. Several community open days were held throughout the duration of the project together with site visits by local schools and displaying of artefacts, all aimed at sharing local knowledge heritage values. Following this project the City of Whittlesea hosted the National Archaeology Week 2018. Events held included lectures, public displays and an exhibition.

“More than 600,000 passengers have used Mernda Station in the last year, taking thousands of cars off the road every day”

Minister for Public Transport, Melissa Horne, 2019


1. Urban Design Strategies – Passive surveillance including street visibility provided by a concourse which opens directly onto the station forecourt, Landscape design creates no visual impediment along desire lines to entrances.

2. Landscape Design – The landscape elements promote and support the broader regional landscape features promoting views north, to the great dividing range. The landscape reflects old scattered trees such as river red gums, found throughout open farmland and grasslands. Smaller species have been located in closer proximity to the rail alignment. Local vegetation planted as water sensitive design strategies to help filter stormwater before it enters the local drains, allowing for the removal of pollutants from roads and carparks.

3. Connected mobility – The stations provide efficient, safe and appealing public transport experiences. They include carparking, bicycle storage facilities, bus stops, taxi stands and kiss and ride areas connected to user pathways which link the nearby communities ensuring convenience of accessibility to all.

4. Weather protection – The large canopies which encapsulates the sides of the rail act as a windbreak from the prevailing winds. It covers the platform and provides shade during summer.

5. Material reuse – Crushed basalt gabion rock from site used as facades, create a 400mm thick thermal mass wall to the staff and customer facilities, reducing embodied carbon.

6. Rain Water Collection Systems – Rainwater tanks are incorporated at all three stations. The water captured is used for toilet flushing and platform wash down.

Key Sustainability Facts

Project Site


Transect Zone / Climate Zone

6 - Mild temperate

Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Excellent Design v1.2 ISCA rating, 4-star Greenstar rating for the new stations. 2020 AIA Vic Chapter wards Commendation in the Sustainability category.

Project Partner/Leads
Neil Stonell, Jason Embley, Matt Hutton

Project Team
Grimshaw, KBR, Beca, Wood Marsh, Tract, John Holland

Level Crossing Removal Authority