How long does it take to move a bike hoop?

Over the past few years the City of Melbourne has currently installing more bike hoops around the CBD, permitting more cyclists to securely park their bikes. But what happens when one of the hoops is placed in a stupid place?

'OM Vegetarian' advertisement tied to a parked bike on Swanston Street

Back on 29 January 2018 I spotted this example near the corner of William and Bourke Streets – a bike rack running 90 degrees to the road and blocking the footpath.

Bike racks running 90 degrees to the road and blocking the footpath at William and Bourke Street

I tweeted about it the next day, and a week later the City of Melbourne entered the discussion – agreeing that they were stupidly placed.

Presumably cyclists thought the same thing, as the bike hoops were often empty, compared to the hoops across the street.

oBikes chained up to a bike rack at William and Little Bourke Street

Presumably cyclists didn’t want their valuable bike jutting out into the footpath, ready to be smashed into by passing pedestrians.

Bike racks running 90 degrees to the road and blocking the footpath at William and Bourke Street

But some still took the risk.

Bike racks running 90 degrees to the road and blocking the footpath at William and Bourke Street

But eventually the City of Melbourne got around to doing what they promised – a year later in February 2019 the bike hoops had been cut off at footpath level, and two new hoops installed parallel to the kerb.

A year after the City of Melbourne said they would move them, the bike hoops at William and Bourke Street are now parallel to the kerb, instead of blocking the footpath

Leaving clear space for pedestrians.

A year after the City of Melbourne said they would move them, the bike hoops at William and Bourke Street are now parallel to the kerb, instead of blocking the footpath


I guess we should count ourselves lucky that these bike hoops were never noticed by business owners – advertising bikes are even worse.

Turns out congestion at Flagstaff was nothing new

Way back in 2012 I wrote Chronic commuter congestion fills Flagstaff on the ever increasing number of train passengers travelling to the CBD, and the delays caused by them passing through the ticket gates to exit the station.

But it appears that this problem is nothing new, as this August 2002 item from Newsrail is anything to go by.

It reads:

In mid-May four new ticket barriers costing $82,000 were commissioned at Flagstaff station. The new barriers increase the number of controlled exit/entry points at Flagstaff to nine.

M>Train City Loop Customer Service Manager, Mr Rhett Flannigan, indicated that the additional barriers had substantially reduced the length of queues during the peak period. Mr Flannigan said, “In the morning, we have gone from fairly long queues to no more than five to eight customers at any one time”.

Rob O’Regan explains the origins of the extra gates on his “unofficial Metcard chronology” page:

With electrification extended to Sydenham (Watergardens) in January 2002, the St.Albans island platform no longer functioned as a terminal. This meant the electronic barrier gates which had previously controlled all passenger movements for suburban trains were now only half utilized.

These were relocated during May 2002 to Flagstaff, where they complimented the existing bank of barriers to better handle the increasing traffic through the southerly entry/exit point.

As well as listing the other stations that had Metcard ticket gates.

Electronic barriers were ultimately installed at all five city stations as well as Footscray (Centre platform), St Albans, Essendon, Glenferrie, Camberwell, Box Hill, Mitcham (Down platform only), Ringwood, Glen Waverley, South Yarra, Caulfield, Dandenong and Frankston.

But the “nine ticket gates” figure has me confused – as of 2011 Flagstaff station had the following arrangement.

1 wide and 2 standard gates to the north.

The quiet ticket barriers at Flagstaff, during morning peak

And nine gates to the south – split across one wide and six standard to south-west, one wide and one standard to the south-east.

Afternoon peak over at Flagstaff, the Metcard barriers open for the free travel day

So did the 2002 changes shuffle ticket gates between the two entrances, with three more gates added at a later date – or did the 2002 figure exclude the northern entrance?

Photos from ten years ago: March 2009

Another instalment in my photos from ten years ago series – this time it is March 2009.

Remember flip phones? Telstra was flogging the crap out of them at Southern Cross Station in 2009.

More Tel$tra advertising

Elsewhere on the concourse the suburban train displays were finally switched on, after three years of service from the ‘temporary’ screens alongside.

Suburban train displays finally working after three years

But at the north end work on the ‘Yardmaster’ building was racing along, thanks to the precast concrete construction.

'The Monolith' to bring intelligence to the Victorian railways?

Sun glints off the wacky star design on the walls

Work continues on the now four storey train crew offices

Out in Ballarat the new railway station at Wendouree was almost complete.

From the west, car park still to be built

While at Laverton work had started on a third platform and turnback siding for Altona Loop trains.

In March 2009 the tracks through platform 1 (now platform 2) were ripped up.

Platform 1 minus track

Allowed the trackbed to be cleared out.

Excavators and dump trucks clearing out spoil

But that didn’t stop V/Line trains from running to Geelong.

VLocity VL30 and two classmates run through the worksite at Laverton

As they were routed via the remaining track on the other side.

VLocity VL30 and classmate runs through the worksite at Laverton

Some smart planning there!

Down in Geelong grain trains were running again, following years of drought.

XR557 and XR554 climb upgrade through Moorabool

The tracks out of Geelong towards Moorabool have since been duplicated, making it easier for freight trains to access the port.

But no so lucky was the gravel traffic to North Shore – terminated in November 2009, and now moved by road.

A85 leads the up Apex train through Lara on the up, Patricks train in pursuit on the standard gauge

I saw a few ‘out of place’ trains in my travels.

Midway between Geelong and Ballarat I found an ex-Adelaide H type tram sitting in a backyard.

Ex Adelaide H 363

Between Geelong and Melbourne I found an Indian Pacific liveried locomotive hauling The Overland through Lara.

Indian Pacific liveried NR25 on the down Overland at Lara

And at South Dynon I found the Road Transferable Locomotive – a truck that could haul freight wagons along railway lines.

Drivers side view

The biannual Avalon Airshow was held in March 2009, and V/Line was running plenty of extra trains to transport patrons from Melbourne to Lara, where a bus connection was provided to Avalon Airport.

Crowd of homeward bound airshow patrons wait to board the train at Lara

Extra trains were transferred out of Bacchus Marsh on Friday night to help move the crowds.

Headed to Melbourne for use on Avalon Airshow specials the next day

One of the days was pissing down rain.

With this shot making it look oven worse

But the weather eventually came good, as I spent the weekend driving in the shadows of the You Yangs.

You Yangs and a N class bringing up the rear

Capturing V/Line trains along the Geelong line.

P13 picks up passengers at Little River station

Another unusual train I captured was a 707 Operations charter to Colac.

Baaaa go the sheep at Pettavel

And a rebirth of the Southern Aurora train as the Bacardi Express – a travelling music festival taking bands along the East Coast of Australia.

4490 with headboard runs around the train

The festival was held in 2008, 2009 and 2010.


Here you can find the rest of my ‘photos from ten years ago‘ series.

Geelong’s most accident prone boom gates?

I’m not sure what is in the water down in Geelong, but the boom gates at the North Shore Road / Station Street level crossing next to North Shore station seem to spend more time under cars than stopping them.

CDC Geelong bus #98 0500AO waits at the North Shore Road level crossing

October 31, 2013

August 12, 2015

Police and V/Line staff inspect a downed boom barrier arm at Station Street, North Shore

Boom barriers lower at Station Street, North Shore

Police and V/Line staff inspect the downed boom barrier arm at Station Street, North Shore

Downed boom barrier arm at Station Street, North Shore

November 16, 2016

December 14, 2016

February 15, 2017

Geelong Advertiser
Geelong V/Line train delays as damaged level crossings impact commuters

Almost 200 peak-hour commuters were stuck at the station this morning as a Geelong-bound train stalled at North Shore. The first service to suffer was the 7.10am from Southern Cross Station to South Geelong.

August 17, 2017

Another day, another disruption on the Geelong line thanks to a car taking out the level crossing at North Shore

Another day, another disruption on the Geelong line thanks to a car taking out the level crossing at North Shore

Geelong Advertiser
Boom gate damage at North Shore brings Geelong V/Line to standstill

Damage to a local level crossing caused commuter chaos for those travelling on in and outbound Geelong VLine services this morning.

November 27, 2017

December 12, 2018

Geelong Advertiser
Trains cancelled, replaced with buses
V/Line trains on the Geelong line were halted for an hour on Wednesday night due to a faulty boom gate at North Shore and at least two trains were cancelled. Trains resumed just before 6pm but commuters were still reporting long delays.

But why?

Eight confirmed hits in six years – so why do so many motorists manage to take out the boom gates at North Shore Road?

The level crossing is on a curve.

VL22 leads 3VL41 at North Shore on the up

With a ‘T’ intersection on the northern approach.

With motorists from Station Street approaching the crossing on an angle.

But that doesn’t really answer the question – maybe decades of unfluorinated water rotted the brains, not just the teeth of locals?

A history of fatalities

December 30, 1907

A tragedy at the North Shore rail crossing. A father and daughter on a horse and buggy colliding with a train. The remnants of the buggy are on the right hand side.

September 19, 2005

The Age
Mother’s despair at teen’s train death

A distraught mother has spoken of her pain at witnessing her daughter’s death this morning as she was hit by a train.

Schoolgirl Sarah Stringer, 14, was running across the tracks at Geelong’s North Shore station when a V/Line express train slammed into her, killing her instantly.

Sarah, who was on her way to visit her grandparents in Melbourne, ran across the tracks because she was running late, but did not know the train was not stopping at North Shore.

What about removing the level crossing?

Way back in 1972 Neil Trezise, local member for Geelong North, questioned the progress made towards grade separating the level crossing:

(Question No. 813)

Mr. TREZISE (Geelong North) asked the Minister of Transport

With regard to the North Shore rail crossing at Geelong-

1. What is the present daily-
(a) road; and
(b) rail traffic figure?
2. When approval was given for grade separation works?
3. When it is expected that grade separation works will- (a) commence; and (b) be completed?
4. Whether plans or construction dates have been varied in recent years; if so, when and for what reasons?

Mr. WILCOX (Minister of Transport)

The answer is-
(a) The Country Roads Board has advised that its last traffic count at the North Shore road level crossing was in February, 1968. At that time the average week-day volume of road traffic passing over the crossing was 3,471 vehicles per 24 hour day.
(b) The number of regularly scheduled trains passing over the crossing on weekdays is 58, exclusive of shunting movements. Special train movements would raise this figure as high as 75 trains daily in busy seasons.
2. Approval was given for grade separation works on 7th November, 1969.
3. The timing of the grade separation at North Shore road has been discussed by the Abolition of Level Crossings CommiHee and the committee has not recommended a commencing date at this time.
4. No.

Fast forward five decades, and it looks like that grade separation won’t be coming any time soon.

Excavator digging out the old road surface at the Station Street level crossing at North Shore

According to the ALCAM 2008 list, the North Shore Road / Station Street level crossing is the 126th most dangerous level crossing in Victoria – and the current State Government’s level crossing removal program doesn’t feature it, despite including a half dozen level crossings lower on the list.

And a politics related footnote

Don’t confuse Neil Trezise:

  • Member for Geelong West 1964–1967
  • Member for Geelong North 1967–1992
  • Minister for Youth, Sport and Recreation 1982–1985
  • Minister for Sport and Recreation 1985–1992

For his son Ian Trezise:

  • Member for Geelong 1999–2014

I almost did!

Photos from ten years ago: February 2009

Another instalment in my photos from ten years ago series – this time it is February 2009.

Do you remember the days when paper tickets were the only way to travel on V/Line trains? Every Monday morning passengers would forget their ticket had expired over the weekend, so would need to queue up at staffed stations to by a new one.

South Geelong on a Monday morning - 'round and 'round the booking office goes the ticket line

At least that is one thing that Myki has fixed!

On the tram front, I snapped a yellow ‘Bumblebee’ trams at the corner of Bourke and Spencer Street.

C2.5111 'Bumblebee 5' on route 96 turns from Bourke into Spencer Street

They now wear the same PTV livery as the rest of the fleet.

Over a Royal Park I photographed a pair of non-air conditioned high floor Z3 class trams running on route 55, passing a recently completed platform stop.

Z3.209 waits for Z3.137 up ahead at Royal Park

In 2017 it was merged with route 8 to form route 58, with low floor and air conditioned trams now making an occasional appearance. I wonder how many more decades it will take until the Melbourne tram network is fully accessible?

Construction is always a theme, and this month at Footscray station work had started clearing space for the new station footbridge.

Main access from the station to the north

Shops along the north side demolished

Completed in 2010, in 2013 the northern end was demolished as part of the Regional Rail Link project to make room for two additional platforms, which despite the money spent delivered a worse experience for interchange passengers.

Closer to the city at Southern Cross Station ‘Media House’ – the new head office for The Age – was spanning the suburban tracks on the south side of Collins Street.

Southern side of the building

And the new ‘Yardmasters’ office was emerging from between the sidings at north end.

Work continues on new train crew offices

Down at Flinders Street Station signal box ‘A’ was being rebuilt.

Flinders Street A box being rebuilt

Destroyed by fire in 2002, today it is the ‘Signal’ youth arts centre.

But it wasn’t all new things being built – down at Winchelsea station on the Warrnambool line the crossing loop was being decomissioned.

Last minutes for the down home signal

And getting lowered to the ground

Originally a location that permitted opposing freight and passengers trains to pass each other, it took until 2013 for a replacement loop to be opened at Warncoort, around 30 kilometres away.

February 2009 saw me take a mystery tour of Melbourne by train with Steamrail Victoria, heading east to Ashburton and north to Broadmeadows.

We passed over the suburban lines at Tottenham, since expanded to four tracks as part of the Regional Rail Link project.

Crossing over the suburban lines to Sunshine

And had a dinner break in the platform at Caulfield.

Dinner break at Caulfield

Before venturing to the end of the line at Stony Point for a nightcap.

Photo line at Stony Point

At the Newport Workshops in Melbourne’s west I spotted a few interesting trains.

Such as the Harris ‘greaser’ train beside a V/Line liveried L class.

Harris greaser train beside a V/Line liveried L class

A sleeping carriage once used on The Vinelander beside a bar carriage once hired out by V/Line for special events.

Club Car Victoria and a SJ sleeper for the Vinelander stored outside East Block

And a 100 year old ‘Swingdoor’ suburban electric train.

Elecrail Swingdoor 107M with 137M

All of the above still exists today, except for the ‘Swingdoor’ train that was destroyed by fire after an arson attack in 2015.

February 2009 saw the reintroduction of motorail services on The Overland.

NR8 leads the Overland with the first westbound Motorail through North Shore

Driving down the ramp...

Withdrawn again in 2015, the train itself is now on borrowed time, with funding only confirmed until the end of 2019.

Down at Geelong I found the ‘AK cars’ inspection train parked for the night outside Geelong, after ensuring that the tracks of the Melbourne-Adelaide railway were up to scratch.

AK cars stabled at Gheringhap for the night before heading westbound

An eerie glow from underneath

But even stranger was CityRail Endeavour railcar LE 2853 – normally seen ferrying commuters on the outskirts of Sydney, I found it in the middle of a freight train at North Melbourne station.

CityRail Endeavour railcar LE 2853

Down in Melbourne to be refurbished by Bombardier in Dandenong, which is only served by broad gauge trains, unlike the standard gauge used by CityRail trains.

As a result the train had to be lifted by cranes at the South Dynon railway workshops, transferred onto temporary broad gauge bogies, and then hauled by diesel locomotives as part of a larger train due to the lack of functioning brakes. Simples!

And we end at Geelong, where I spotted a double rainbow over the tracks.

Twin rainbows over the empty log wagons at North Shore


Here you can find the rest of my ‘photos from ten years ago‘ series.