Jolimont Yard was an array of railway lines and carriage sidings on the edge of the central business district of Melbourne, Australia. Located between Flinders Street Station, Richmond Junction, the Yarra River and Flinders Street they were often criticised for cutting off the city from the river, being the site of many redevelopment proposals. The Princes Gate Towers (Gas and Fuel Buildings) were built over part of the yard in the 1960s, which themselves were replaced by Federation Square in the 1990s. The rail sidings themselves were progressively removed from the 1980s to the 1990s with only running lines today, but the area continues to be referred to as the 'Jolimont railyards' by Melburnians.
The area of the Jolimont Yards had long been a site of railway development. Flinders Street Station was the terminal of the first railway in the city, running to Sandridge (now Port Melbourne). It was later joined by the independent Princes Bridge Station on the eastern side of Swanston Street, which served as the terminal for lines towards Richmond, South Yarra and Hawthorn. The two stations were not connected together until 1866, with Princes Bridge not reopening until 1879.
As time continued, the area between Princes Bridge and Richmond stations developed into a major yard for the stabling of suburban carriage stock, as well as the servicing of the steam locomotives that hauled them. Freight traffic was based out of Melbourne Yard and most of the country carriage stock was serviced at the Dudley Street sidings, both adjacent to Spencer Street Station. The running lines were arranged into pairs (inbound and outbound for each destination) with multiple sidings located between them.
In 1917 the Princes Bridge locomotive depot was closed, and replaced by the Jolimont Workshops. Built as part of the electrification of the Melbourne suburban network, it was the main storage, servicing and maintenance depot for the new fleet of suburban trains. The workshops was erected to the south along Batman Avenues, with the storage sidings located between the running lines. A footbridge ran from Flinders Street across the entire yard to provide access for train drivers.
An electrical substation was also erected to the south of the yard, to feed power into the overhead wires. Of 18,000 kilowatt capacity, it was fitted with four 4500 kilowatt rotary converters and was the largest substation on the network until demolished in the early 1970s to make room for the City Loop portals for the Caulfield Group. Additional sidings were also provided in the triangle formed by the lines bound for Richmond and Jolimont. Located on the site of the East Melbourne Cricket Ground, the ground was acquired by the Victorian Railways and the Essendon Football Club played their final season there in 1921.