I've not only heard this legend, but I've seen pics of the "other" station in Mumbai (what used to be called Bombay, India). It's the most garish gothic-style building, and was originally proposed for Melb's Flinders St Station. The reason the plans were swapped was becos the length of the Yarra River prevented the original design from being located there. The only problem with this story is that Flinders St Station was designed by award-winning architects Fawcett and Ashworth, but Victoria Station in Bombay was designed by Frederick Stevens. Can anyone else shed some light on this?
Flinders St Station is also widely known as not being complete. I can't remember what the final plans were going to be, but if I recall correctly there was meant to be another tower (?) or dome or something like that - quite substantial. What I do know is that it was supposed to be roofed over, which is why the side of the building along the length of Flinders St that faces south (ie the river) is a "temporary" facade, and I've even heard that it's not even made of the same stone as the Flinders St frontage.
It's a shame that there were so many uncompleted grand buildings in Melbourne - including, notably, the GPO, the magnificent Parliament House (which would've made Melbourne look like the new Rome!) and Flinders St Station. But Flinders St Station has the longest train platform in Australia, was the starting point of Melbourne's first train line (Sandridge line to Port Melbourne) and of course it was the starting point of the now topical Sandridge Bridge which was the first rail bridge in Aust, from recollection.
As you've noted before, Flinders St Station is noted as being a major Edwardian building in a city marked by its Victorian buildings. The only other major Edwardian public building of note was the somewhat unremarkable Queen Victoria Hospital (current site of the massive QV development), which should not have been demolished before they knew for certain what was going to replace it.
Please feel free to correct my unsubstantiated understanding of what I've posted on this topic.
Here's a little about Mumbai's Victoria Station from http://www.planetgypsy.com/destinations ... umbai.html
Victoria Terminus (VT) train station is the city's most exuberant, Gothic building. It looks more like a lavishly decorated palace or cathedral than anything as mundane as a transportation depot. Also known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the station was designed by Frederick Stevens as the head-quarters of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway Company and was completed in 1887. The first train in Asia ran from this spot to nearby Thana in 1853.
The terminus is a highly embellished roit of buttresses, pinnaclas, domes, towers and spires. Gargoyles spring from it's walls, peacocks perch beneath it's eaves, monkeys and mongooses frolic on piller cornices. An imperial lion and Indian tiger guard the front gate, and allegories decorate the main gables. There is also a 4 mt high torch bearing figure of Progress.
Some pics of Victoria Station from http://www-ccs.cs.umass.edu/cris/bombay ... ombay.html