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South Yarra substation

We're building an electrical substation in South Yarra to prepare the rail network for the Metro Tunnel.

Project overview

Enhancements and power upgrades are needed on the Cranbourne/Pakenham lines to prepare Melbourne’s rail network for bigger, more modern trains and increase the frequency of rail services.

Upgrading the power now will future-proof the power supply for future rail network upgrades and more frequent services at South Yarra station on the Sandringham and Frankston lines.

The electrical substation will provide the power needed to operate the new trains through the Metro Tunnel.


Construction of the new South Yarra substation began in November 2020. Works include:

  • piling and capping works
  • soil nailing, shotcreting and drainage works
  • demolition of the existing ramp within the Siding Reserve site, and bulk excavation
  • piling and construction of the substation base slab and retaining walls
  • construction of the substation walls, columns and roof, retaining walls and building works

See the Metro Tunnel website for construction updates.

The second stage of construction will involve underground cable installation works, overhead line works, and testing and commissioning. These works are expected to be completed by mid-2022.


The substation will be located underneath the South Yarra Siding Reserve.

This was selected as the preferred location following a comprehensive review of land options according to stringent technical requirements and a strong desire to reduce overall impacts to the South Yarra precinct.

This location prevents compulsory land acquisition, and the need to construct the substation above ground beside residential properties.

It will also significantly reduce the impact of the substation on visual amenity and available public open space.

The underground substation will be located to the south of South Yarra Station, within the South Yarra Siding.  This location is between Osborne and William streets, and between the Sandringham and Cranbourne, Frankston, and Pakenham lines.

Frequently asked questions

A substation is a mostly self-contained, unstaffed building which houses electrical equipment that converts the local power supply into the voltage needed to operate trains, signals and communication equipment across the train network.

Substations are integral to Melbourne’s train network, as trains need a constant source of power that cannot be met by connecting to the standard street supply.

Currently, the closest substations are located at Cremorne, Balaclava and Armadale. A new substation needs to be located close to the Metro Tunnel’s eastern entrance and the Cranbourne / Pakenham, Sandringham and Frankston lines.

The western edge of the substation will extend into the Sandringham rail corridor cutting to enable access for maintenance, safety and emergency works. The security fence around the substation, and parts of the substation itself, will be visible from the Osborne Street Bridge and may be visible from the rail tracks.

The substation building will not be visible from within South Yarra Siding Reserve.

Putting the substation underground is likely to reduce any noise impacts, and the substation will be designed to comply with Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Noise Control Guidelines.

Noise monitoring will be undertaken both before and after the substation is commissioned, to ensure noise level compliance.

The substation will access the same power that runs through street overhead or underground power lines. Therefore, the electromagnetic emissions from the substation are not expected to be greater than the levels already produced by powerlines in the area.

Electromagnetic emissions or electromagnetic fields (EMF) are a natural by-product of electricity. They occur around all electrical items, including those in our homes, workplaces and naturally through the earth’s magnetic field and thunderstorms.

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