Respecting the historic links of a railway station in regional Victoria while equipping it with a much-needed accessibility and safety upgrade was the major challenge for the Arcadis design team in the Bendigo station upgrade project.
Working with MGS Architects, Arcadis needed to strike a delicate balance between preserving the historical character of the railway station while addressing the accessibility limitations the building presented to people with mobility challenges, people in wheelchairs and parents and carers with prams or strollers.
The sensitive planning and design phase would also require thoughtful stakeholder management to ensure the historical context of the station, a source of pride for the people of Bendigo, remained.
The first and most critical step in the rail facility upgrade was an open and transparent consultation process with the Bendigo community, heritage advisors, VicTrack, the City of Greater Bendigo, V/Line, Transport for Victoria and Public Transport Victoria to inform design decisions that would retain the historical significance of the station for the long-term.
In collaboration with MGS Architect, Arcadis delivered preliminary designs for a new pedestrian footbridge consisting of lifts, stairs and ramps that provide a fully accessible connection between platforms. The design of the footbridge drew on local historical references to tell the story of the history of the railway station and its important role in the development of the city of Bendigo. This was uniquely achieved through the contemporary integration of polychromatic brickwork cladding to the lift cores, and a custom laser cut aluminium screen with integrated graphics.
The project relied on close coordination between the architects and Arcadis engineers to ensure the footbridge was successfully integrated into the station environment, guaranteeing the careful preservation of the station precinct. The Arcadis design team developed an informed design that also considered the impact construction of the footbridge would have on the station and rail operations.
The impact of the regional rail accessibility upgrade profoundly improved the quality of life for passengers, including people with disability, people with mobility issues and parents or carers navigating prams or strollers. The construction of ramps and installation of lifts enabled this transport commuter group to have greater freedom of travel and significantly lower the risk of injury when accessing the train at Bendigo Station.
By providing greater access for rail transport users, the Bendigo regional rail project Victoria also encouraged people with a disability or parents and carers navigating prams to catch the train and leave the car at home, reducing road congestion and delivering a positive environmental outcome.
The final design of the station received an overwhelmingly positive response from the Bendigo community, and provided a cost-effective solution for key stakeholders. And importantly, the historical significance of the building remains intact while also accommodating the evolving needs of transport users.