Combining planespotting with trainspotting

As you might know, railways are a major hobby of mine, with aviation being a side interest. Who says you can’t combine the two?

Planespotting around Melbourne Airport is dead easy: I was looking out my window in the western suburbs the other day, and snapped a Qantas A380 going past.

105mm is not enough, at least for planespotting from my balcony

If you are hoping for photos a bit more close up, then just jump in your car and drive to one of the spots on the airport perimeter listed at the RWY34.com website. (Protip: runway 34 is the main north facing runway at Melbourne Airport)

Qantas 737-800 VH-VXC 'Gippsland'

However, there are some days when I can’t be bothered driving all the way out to Tullamarine to see planes, or there is an interesting train running that I want to photograph.

Thankfully, there are some locations that combine both: McIntyre Loop is one of them, located in the backblocks of Sunshine.

At ground level, you can see trains on main line between Melbourne and Sydney, being located on the Albion-Jacana goods line.

S302 leading T342 through McIntyre Loop on a loaded rail train

Meanwhile, the sights up in the sky depend on which way the wind is blowing. When runway 34 at Melbourne Airport is in use, you can catch jets coming in on their final approach.

Etihad Airways A340-600 A6-EHJ in a Formula 1 promotional livery

When the wind is blowing the other way, runway 16 gets used instead, and from McIntyre Loop you can see planes after take off.

Cathay Pacific A330

McIntyre Loop is about 8 km from the end of the runway, so the planes are still high up in the sky, and with a 200mm lens you can’t fill your entire camera frame with plane.

Unfortunately, you can’t get something for nothing!

So how do you combine your hobbies? Post in the comments!

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2 Responses to “Combining planespotting with trainspotting”

  1. Nick says:

    Those are some great pictures mate. I sometimes drive around the area along the industrial sites around the backlots of McIntyre Road in North Sunshine and there have been times where I’ve been lucky to see some freight trains rolling past. Its good to be able to go up to the closest roads to the rail line, with very few buildings to obscure the view. It is in my opinion one of the best spots to see aircraft flying over, trains rolling along the Albion-Jacana line, and if you go over to the other side of the McIntyre road loop you can get a good vantage point of traffic on the EJ Whitten Bridge along the Western Ring Road.

    Funny how not too many people know about the good viewing points for all these activites along the McIntyre Road industrial estate in North Sunshine.

    I’d like to see some more pics from the area if you upload more in the future when your next around there.

    Cheers

    Nick

  2. Lavan says:

    Sunshine and Braybrook are great planespotting areas. I was in the Braybrook Clive Peeters carpark a few weeks and a super-low QANTAS A380 flew past. Between Braybrook/Sunshine and Deer Park, I have seen many A380s and 747, as well as A321s and 737s.

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