Photos from ten years ago: January 2012

Yes, it’s that time again – the January 2012 instalment in my photos from ten years ago series.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year came early in 2012 thanks to the wonders of the lunar calendar, and Melbourne’s Chinatown was the place to be.

Running in circles with the dragon

Pedestrians taking over Little Bourke Street.

Looking past the crowds on Little Bourke Street

And the odd little gravel car park off Corrs Lane.

Car park taken over with festival stalls

Real estate agents hunting for Asian investors were well represented at the market stalls.

More property spruikers at the Melbourne Chinese New Year Festival

As was Metro Trains Melbourne and Hong Kong parent MTR – at their stall you could spin the wheel and win a trinket.

'Metro and MTR wish you a Happy Chinese New Year'

There were also the traditional lion dances.

Another lion dance outside a Melbourne restaurant for Chinese New Year

And the main event – the Dai Loong Dragon procession.

Dai Loong dragon procession at the Melbourne Chinese New Year Festival

Followed by firecrackers being set off everywhere.

Setting off the firecrackers outside a restaurant

Including at Chinese restaurants along Swanston Street.

On the move again on Swanston Street: Z3.216 passes Chinese New Year celebrations

Leaving a trail of exploded crackers.

The aftermath of firecrackers for Chinese New Year

And phone calls to the fire brigade.

Metropolitan Fire Brigade truck drives through the festival

Parking their trucks as close as they could, then walking to site.

Firefighters in breathing gear investigate a fire alarm

To confirm that it was really just a false alarm.

Firefighters checking out a false fire alarm in a restaurant

Myer Melbourne

Since I was also in the CBD, I swung past the Myer Melbourne redevelopment.

Looking out from the new Myer store to the old

The former Lonsdale Street store on the way down.

Slowly bringing down Myer's Lonsdale Street store

Leaving a big hole behind.

Half way down at Myer's Lonsdale Street store

And a web of scaffolding holding the up the facade.

Looking down on Little Bourke Street from Myer Melbourne

The Emporium Melbourne shopping complex was then constructed inside the shell, opening in 2014.

New trains

Brand new X’Trapolis trains were rolling out of the Alstom workshops at Ballarat.

Unliveried X'Trapolis M car outside the Ballarat Workshops sheds, labelled MC2-103

Where I found this train completed except for the front fairing.

X'Trapolis 137M minus front fairing sitting outside the Alstom Ballarat Workshops

New stations

A new railway station on the Cranbourne line at Lynbrook was well underway.

Steps taking shape to serve the down platform

It opened to passengers a few months later in April 2012.

But out on the Ballarat line things were moving much more slowly at the site of Caroline Springs station – work being abandoned once the access road was completed.

Access road towards the station completed, but blocked off at the roundabout

Work was eventually restarted in 2015, with Caroline Springs station finally opening in 2017.

And the new Regional Rail Link

Footscray station was about to be transformed for the Regional Rail Link project.

Pedestrians cross Irving Street outside Footscray station

A new plaza on Irving Street had just been completed, but needed to be demolished for the new pair of platforms.

Northern plaza now cleaned up and grass planted

While over at North Melbourne work was much more advanced.

Looking north from Dynon Road at the cleared track

Little used tracks in the former freight yard being ripped up to make for the new Regional Rail Link tracks.

Four tracks removed at Melbourne Yard arrivals roads, now covered with gravel

But no platforms were provided.

And west of Werribee the standard gauge freight track had been slewed away from the V/Line tracks, to make room for a massive overpass at the future Manor Junction.

Solo 2-car VLocity passes the future Manor Junction

Scenes that have changed

I found this X’Trapolis train out at Lilydale, an otherwise unremarkable sight.

X'Trapolis 881M departs Lilydale on the up

But today the scene has been completely transformed – a new elevated station occupying the site, constructed as part of the Level Crossing Removal Project.

A handful of ageing Hitachi trains were also still in service.

Rolling across the viaduct and around the curve into Southern Cross

Providing a convenient view into the City Loop tunnels.

Northern Loop: 788 metres to Parliament, 68 metres to the portal

Until they were finally withdrawn from service in December 2013.

And another everyday scene – parked cars at Laverton station almost stretching as far as neighbouring Aircraft station.

Cars parked at Laverton: it's almost closer to walk to Aircraft, except that you need to  buy a zone 1+2 ticket

Back then it was a money saving trick – Aircraft was the first station in zone 2, so by using Laverton station passengers could half their ticket costs – a situation which remained until fares were capped at zone 1 prices in 2015.

Trams go ding

Out at Footscray station a new platform stop was built at the route 82 terminus.

New platform tram stop at Footscray station, with Z3.170 awaiting departure on a route 82 service

But a decade later it is yet to see a low floor tram.

However route 57 got lucky for a few days – air-conditioned B2 class trams were assigned to the route while track work was underway on Mt Alexander Road.

B2.2048 eastbound on Maribyrnong Road, headed for Essendon Depot

But some passengers missed out – these extra services terminated at the Maribyrnong River crossover.

With the cars out of the way, B2.2054 shunts through the Maribyrnong River crossover

And finally – ‘safety’ zones. This time around it wasn’t the one in Ascot Vale that’s been hit 14 times, but a much busier tram stop on William Street at Bourke Street.

Tradie's ute after mounting the safety zone fence on William Street at Bourke Street

Southern Cross Station

I’ve written about passenger congestion at Southern Cross Station before, and in 2012 the problem was the exit towards Collins Street and Docklands.

The ticket gates were overcrowded in morning peak.

Congested exit from Southern Cross to Collins Street and Docklands: it already needs more ticket barriers

And of an evening passengers spilled off the tram stop, trying to find a gap in traffic.

Packed C class tram drops off Docklands workers at Southern Cross Station

Only to find no kerb cut on the other side.

After a few years in the wilderness, the upper level Collins Street exit gets some love from Docklands workers

A situation that wasn’t fixed until 2014, when a proper pedestrian crossing was installed between station and tram stop.

Also at the south end of Southern Cross Station was these abandoned concrete deck above platforms 13 through 16.

Abandoned concrete deck above platforms 13 through 16: originally to house an office building

Originally intended to be the base of an office tower, the space sat empty for a decade.

Lift well for platforms 15 and 16, behind the wall is the extended upper level concourse

Until the 699 Bourke Street and 664 Collins Street office towers were built on the deck between 2013 and 2018.

On the road

A decade ago electric cars were a new fangled mode of transport, when I found a car belonging to the Victorian Government’s ‘Electric Vehicle Trial’.

Rear view, note the special registration plate - "024 EVT"

The $5 million initiative was launched in October 2010 and ran until mid-2014.

More money for roads was the $759 million Peninsula Link freeway being built between Frankston and Moorooduc.

Overpasses for Peninsula Link under construction over Frankston - Dandenong Road in Carrum Downs

It opened to motorists in 2013.

While the poor cousin for transport on the Mornington Peninsula is the route 788 bus from Frankston to Portsea.

Portsea Passenger Service #343 rego 4740AO heads through Blairgowrie on the route 788 Portsea service

After being neglected for years, in 2021 route 788 received an increase in frequency, and in 2022 connecting bus routes were revamped.

And by the water

Down at Webb Dock I found the ‘Tasman Achiever’ ro-ro cargo ship being loaded for another trip across Bass Strait.

'Tasmanian Achiever' laid up for the holiday break

It was replaced in 2019 by the creatively named ‘Tasman Achiever II’.

Over the 2011-12 Christmas and New Year period Searoad Ferries was running a three vessel service between Queenscliff and Sorrento, so I headed down the peninsula for a ride on their original ferry – MV Peninsula Princess.

Old and new ferries pass off Sorrento Pier

Today moored at Queenscliff, MV Peninsula Princess is still available for revenue service when the later ferries are in dry dock.


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

A road trip across the Pleurisy Plains

A few weeks ago I went on a road trip across the Pleurisy Plains of Western Victoria, following the main Melbourne-Adelaide railway along the back roads from Geelong to Ararat.

Sun goes down on Green Hill Lake


It isn’t a road trip if I wasn’t trying to photograph trains!

We’d been driving for a few hours before we passed out first one – a loaded grain train bound for Geelong.

BL27 leads 8161 on an up PN grain at Mininera

A few hours later we found an empty grain train headed back west for another load.

XR558 leads BL33 and G523 on a down PN grain at Langi Logan

Shortly followed by a load of containers headed the other way for Melbourne.

NR52 leads NR91 on 4PM6 up PN intermodal at Langi Logan

And then on our way home, a load of steel beams and plate.

NR57 leads NR111 on 4PM4 up steel train at Inverleigh

Abandoned stations

The only passenger service along the line is twice weekly The Overland, which runs through without stopping.

Inverleigh is just a timber shed.

Fencing and station sign added to the platform mound

As is Pura Pura.

Station building still hanging on for now

At least Westmere still has grain silos.

Westmere now a CTC signalled crossing loop

And Maroona has a disused platform.

Station building and platform still in place at Maroona

And abandoned towns

The Pleurisy Plains are grain and grazing country, and the townships that did exist have been emptying out.

There was nothing much to see at Nerrin Nerrin.

House and shearing shed at Nerrin Nerrin

Mininera Primary School is long gone.

Mininera Primary School now abandoned

Westmere once had a general store, but it’s for sale.

Westmere General Store now up for sale

And Streatham – it’s still got an Infant Welfare Centre, but only open two mornings each month.

Streatham Infant Welfare Centre still open, for two mornings per month

Wind farms

Windy plains are good for one thing – wind farms.

80 turbines at the Dundonnell Wind Farm north of Mortlake.

Looking south from Pura Pura towards the Dundonnell Wind Farm

75 turbines at the Ararat Wind Farm.

Looking over Green Hill Lake towards the Ararat Wind Farm

Just two at the Maroona Wind Farm.

Twin turbines at the Maroona Wind Farm

And 43 turbines at the Berrybank Wind Farm, with another 26 being added.

Massive crane at work erecting a wind turbine tower at the Berrybank Wind Farm

Power lines

The power generated by wind farms has to go somewhere, so high voltage transmission lines cross the otherwise empty plains.

The big one is the 500 kV twin circuit Moorabool – Portland line, constructed in the 1980s to transmit electricity generated from burning brown coal to Alcoa’s aluminium smelter at Portland.

500 kV twin circuit Moorabool - Portland transmission line at Berrybank, Victoria

The oldest is the single circuit Ballarat to Terang 220 kV line.

Traditional pylons support the single circuit Ballarat to Terang 220 kV line outside Lismore, Victoria

But they’ve recently been joined by the 132 kV line that links the Stockyard Hill Wind Farm to the Haunted Gully Terminal Station.

Monopoles support the 132 kV transmission line from the Stockyard Hill Wind Farm to the Haunted Gully Terminal Station outside Lismore, Victoria

Which passes beneath the older 220 kV line via a tangle of pylons outside Lismore.

Single circuit Ballarat to Terang 220 kV line crosses over the oddball 132 kV line from the Stockyard Hill Wind Farm to the Haunted Gully Terminal Station at Lismore, Victoria

Telephone exchanges

In the days before mobile phones, copper wires were the only communication link to the outside world.

Maroona has a telephone exchange not much larger than the outdoor dunny beside it.

Tin shed country telephone exchange at Maroona, Victoria

As does Nerrin Nerrin.

Tin shed country telephone exchange at Nerrin Nerrin, Victoria

Berrybank has a shed a little larger.

Tin shed country telephone exchange at Berrybank, Victoria

Streatham’s exchange is bigger again, but it serves an actual town.

Tin shed country telephone exchange at Streatham, Victoria

But Pura Pura – there is nothing around for miles!

Tin shed country telephone exchange at Pura Pura, Victoria

CFA stations

Even with the population leaving the plains, the risk of bushfire is still there.

The CFA station at Nerrin Nerrin is just a little tin shed.

Tin shed CFA station at Nerrin Nerrin, Victoria

The station at Mininera is far more modern.

Modern CFA station at Mininera, Victoria

As is the one at Langi Logan.

Modern CFA station at Langi Logan, Victoria

Which replaced the tin shed around the corner.

Decommissioned tin shed CFA station at Langi Logan, Victoria

And finally – Mount Elephant

Every time I’ve gone for a trip on The Overland I’ve pointed out Mount Elephant – a 380-metre-high conical breached scoria cone formed by a dormant volcano, located 1 km from the town of Derrinallum. So since I was in the area, I paid a visit.

Looking over to Mount Elephant from the east

Turns out it’s only open for a few hours each Sunday, but I was lucky – they were just about to open!

Gates locked at Mount Elephant - only open for a few hours every Sunday

The visitors centre is located at the base of the mountain.

Visitors centre at the base of Mount Elephant

The access track follows the alignment of a dismantled railway siding.

Driveway to the Mount Elephant visitors centre follows the dismantled railway siding to the quarry

Which served a ballast quarry, now used as a car park.

Visitors Centre car park located in the former railway ballast quarry

The walk to the edge of the crater takes 30 minutes, with the walk around the edge adding an extra hour.

Following the path towards the top of Mount Elephant

But since it was a stinking hot day, we only made it halfway up.

Following the path towards the top of Mount Elephant

So we’ll have to visit again!

Testing High Capacity Signalling at Epping

A few months ago I headed out to Epping to see something a little different – a new High Capacity Metro Train testing out the even newer High Capacity Signalling system.

HCMT set 18 waiting at Epping for the first HCS test of the evening

So what is High Capacity Signalling anyway?

High Capacity Signalling‘ is a new technology that is about to be rolled out to Melbourne’s rail network as part of the upcoming Metro Tunnel.

Next-generation High Capacity Signalling technology will be installed on the Metro Tunnel and on the Cranbourne, Pakenham and Sunbury lines to deliver more trains, more often during peak times. The technology will also be rolled out on the new Melbourne Airport Rail when it is built.

High Capacity Signalling is a new hi-tech ‘moving block’ signalling system that enables trains to automatically adjust their speed to maintain a safe distance from the train in front.

This replaces the current conventional ‘fixed block’ system, which uses coloured signals to indicate when it is safe for a train to proceed.

High Capacity Signalling allows trains to run closer together and delivers more trains, more often.

With this nifty diagram indicating how it works.

Initially the scope of the High Capacity Signalling rollout was between Dandenong and Watergardens stations via the Metro Tunnel (54 km), but it appears this has been cut back – HCS equipment was only been installed between Westall and West Footscray stations (30 km).

High Capacity Signalling equipment

There isn’t much visible trackside to show that High Capacity Signalling has been installed. The first are new signal equipment rooms, used to house all of the new gear.

Prefabricated signal equipment room at Malvern station

The second are ‘Trackside Radio Assemblies’.

Signal equipment room and Trackside Radio Assembly tilt mast lineside at Middle Footscray

Just a fancy name for 2.4 Ghz radio antennas pointed along the railway tracks, to transmit signals between trains and the signal control centres.

Trackside Radio Assembly lineside at West Footscray for the new communications-based train control (CBTC) system

Some are located on new posts, others have been added to existing signal masts.

Trackside Radio Assembly installed atop signal EPP121 at Epping

Making them hard to spot.

Signal D420 for up trains departing Murrumbeena

And finally – ‘norming points’.

Norming point tag between the rails at Clayton

Located between the running rails, they are passive RFID tags that provides precise location data to the HCS system onboard a train, so they know exactly where along the platform they are.

Norming point tag between the rails at Footscray

And testing it

The High Capacity Signalling system chosen for use in Melbourne is a Bombardier’s Cityflo 650 communications-based train control (CBTC) system – an off-the-shelf product used elsewhere, but it needs to be integrated with the existing signalling systems and trains used in Melbourne.

For this reason, a multi-stage test program has been conceived.

First up – February 2020 was system integrations testing in the lab.

From a Rail Projects Victoria video

Then off to the ‘Initial Test Site’ on the Mernda line between Epping and South Morang stations in June 2020.

From a Rail Projects Victoria video

Using a single X’Trapolis train retrofitted with High Capacity Signalling equipment.

From a Rail Projects Victoria video

And a suite of test equipment on board.

From a Rail Projects Victoria video

March 2021 saw the degree of difficulty increased – introducing a second X’Trapolis train fitted with High Capacity Signalling into the mix.

From a Rail Projects Victoria video

The two trains taking to each other, to ensure they kept a safe distance from each other.

From a Rail Projects Victoria video

Including out on the mainline.

From a Rail Projects Victoria video

And with the technology now proven, in August 2021 a HCS fitted High Capacity Metro Train was despatched to the test site to see how it performed.

Let’s pay a visit

After Melbourne’s Covid-19 curfew was finally lifted in October 2021, I took the opportunity to head over to Epping to see the High Capacity Signalling testing for myself.

HCMT set 18 fired up at Epping Workshops, ready for another night of High Capacity Signalling testing

HCMT set 18 was allocated to testing that night, departing Epping Workshops once the Mernda line had been replaced by buses.

HCMT set 18 heads onto the mainline from Epping Workshops, ready for another night of HCS testing on the Mernda line

Dust covers protected the seats.

Dustcovers protect the seats of HCMT set 18 during HCS testing on the Mernda line

The equipment cabinets were hanging open.

Open equipment cabinet onboard HCMT set 18 during HCS testing on the Mernda line

And the testing staff had set up desks in the saloon to hold their laptop computers and other test equipment.

Signal EPP126 at Epping showing stop for HCMT set 18 during HCS testing towards South Morang

A STOP board was erected over the tracks back towards the city, giving the testing staff free reign over the the line.

STOP board beside signal EPP121 at the up end of the occupation

With a flagman standing guard.

Flagman beside signal EPP116 at Epping due to the occupation towards South Morang

The first task was a ‘sweep’ of the line as far as South Morang.

HCMT set 18 departs South Morang on a 'sweep' on the line to Epping

Followed by a second sweep move back to Epping – proving that the line was clear of all other trains.

HCMT set 18 arrives back into Epping platform 1 following a 'sweep' move from South Morang

It was now time to throw the changeover switch, deactivating the existing fixed-block signalling system, and activating the new High Capacity Signalling system equipment.

From a Rail Projects Victoria video

Once the system detected a HCS fitted train was in position at Epping, the lineside signal extinguished, indicating to the driver they could proceed according to the cab signalling equipment.

Signal EPP126 at Epping is extinguished, indicating to the driver of HCMT set 18 to proceed according to CBTC cab signalling aspects

Heading along the line to the ‘Virtual Station’.

HCMT set 18 stops at the 'Virtual Station' on an up test run

One end marked by a conventional lineside signal, the other by a CBTC ‘Block Marker’ sign.

CBTC Block Marker sign at the down end of the 'Virtual Station'

And configured in the signalling system as a ‘real’ station, so that stopping and starting of trains at stations could be tested.

From a Rail Projects Victoria video

Once the test train stopped at ‘Virtual Station’, the signal extinguished, indicating that it could proceed again.

Signal T742 at 'Virtual Station' extinguished for HCMT set 18 on an up test run

And by that point it was past midnight, and I’d seen all the testing there was to see, so called it a night.

So why X’Trapolis trains and the Mernda line?

High Capacity Signalling is intended for the new HCMT fleet of trains that use the Metro Tunnel – so why test it on completely different trains on a different line?

Back in 2012 High Capacity Signalling was a standalone project, and the Sandringham line was favoured as the test site – a situation reiterated in 2015.

HCMT set 3 passes through Windsor on the down, with another trip to Elsternwick

The reason for the change – a desire to get it done fast, so in 2017 what was a $131 million signalling trial rolled into the Metro Tunnel Rail Systems Alliance contract – the Metro Tunnel website explains their choice.

A range of locations were considered for the testing site. The Mernda line was chosen because it does not share tracks with regional or freight services and has fewer timetabled night services than other rail lines.

But what about the HCS equipment installed for the testing along the Mernda line?

  • 60,000m of cable
  • 13 Wi-Fi masts
  • 29 axle counters
  • 56 norming points

It’s all going to go.

At the end of testing, all of the infrastructure installed by the Metro Tunnel Project for High Capacity Signalling testing will be removed from the Mernda line.

So we’ve gone from a trial that would be put into production, to a prototype that is going to be thrown away.

As for the decision for HCS testing to be completed using X’Trapolis trains – the first High Capacity Metro Trains weren’t even ready yet! The first HCMT didn’t leave the Pakenham East depot under it’s own power until November 2019, and they weren’t cleared to carry passengers until December 2020.

HCMT set 28 arrives into Richmond on a down Pakenham service

And not to mention testing a new technology on a ‘known’ train on the Melbourne rail network eliminates one possible variable in the test program.


Footnote: a timeline of testing on the Mernda line

Ten years ago in Adelaide

Just over ten years ago I spent a week chasing trains, trams and buses around Adelaide. Since this resulted in too many photos to fit into my usual photos from ten years ago series, here is a special instalment.

Descending into Adelaide over seemingly endless suburbs

Tourist stuff

I headed down to Glenelg on the tram.

Citadis 202 at the Mosley Square terminus, Glenelg

Wondered about the ‘Polities’ signs everywhere.

Another 'Polites' sign in Rundle Mall

Headed to the beach at Grange.

Row of terrace houses opposite Grange Jetty

Wandered along Rundle Mall.

Looking down on Rundle Mall

And visited Victoria Square.

Looking north at Victoria Square

Suburban trains

I rode Adelaide’s since retired ‘Jumbo’ railcars.

Passing Jumbo 2104 in the hills between Hallett Cove and Lonsdale

And the diesel version of Melbourne’s Comeng railcars.

Afternoon peak, a few commuters depart Comeng 3137 at Marino Rocks station

Finding a six carriage consist, featuring 12 driving cabs.

Are 12 cabs enough for you?

And passengers riding up front beside the train driver.

Someone doing a 'Titanic' on the front window of TransAdelaide railcar 3011

I walked along the coast at Marino to capture some trains by the sea.

3-car Jumbo set heads into town at Marino

And stopped off at the bizarre Emerson Crossing – where the intersection of South Road and Cross Road meets the Seaford railway line at a level crossing, with the South Road Overpass passing over it all.

A solo Comeng 3013 departs Emerson on the down, stopping traffic at the intersection

A run down network

I found decrepit stations like the single track terminus of Tonsley.

End of the line at Tonsley station, the runaround loop lifted

And the narrow platforms at Keswick.

Overview of the platforms at Keswick from the pedestrian footbridge

The line up to Belair was single track, with a handful of toy-like crossing loops along the way.

Exiting the Eden Hills Tunnel on the down, the crossing loop up ahead

And instead of automatic pedestrian gates at level crossings, illuminated ‘Caution more than one train’ warning signs were installed at passive crossings.

Illuminated 'Caution more than one train' warning sign at a crib crossing

But there were signs of new life – the extension of suburban trains to Seaford was underway, alongside the electrification of the network.

Looking south along the Onkaparinga River bridge piers

The Gawler line was also being rebuilt.

Coleman Rail hi-rail pushing loaded ballast wagons

But electrification of the line was postponed in 2013, but eventually restarted in 2019 – but has seen many delays since.

Tourist trains

I headed down to Victor Harbor to ride the Steamranger tourist railway.

Running around the train at Victor Harbor

Taking a trip along the cost to Goolwa and back.

Returning to Goolwa, with Victor Harbor and Granite Island in the background

I also stumbled upon the Indian Pacific headed north out of North Adelaide.

NR27 leads DL40 on the Indian Pacific out of town at North Adelaide

And The Ghan almost at the end of a three day journey from Darwin.

Almost home: NR75 leads the Adelaide-bound Ghan through Two Well

At Keswick I found the empty Great Southern Rail terminal.

Down end of the platforms at Keswick

Carriages for the Indian Pacific being shunted through the train wash.

PL1 shunts carriages for the Indian Pacific in the yard at Keswick

And spare carriages stabled in the sidings.

Stored carriages owned by GSR at the down end of Keswick

Freight trains

West of Adelaide I found a massive ‘double stack’ freight train headed for Perth.

Double stacked PN freight heads west out of Adelaide near Bolivar

But freight trains towards Melbourne were more constrained – having to pass over the suburban tracks on the level at Goodwood Junction – grade separated in 2014 at a cost of $110 million.

Looking down the Belair line tracks at Goodwood Junction, the Noarlunga line headed to the right

And again at Torrens Junction – grade separated in 2018 at a cost of $238 million.

Looking in a down direction along the standard gauge track at Torrens Junction

And buses

A trip to Adelaide isn’t complete without a ride on the O-Bahn Busway.

#1467 approaches Paradise Interchange citybound

Buses running along concrete tracks.

Detail of the O-Bahn guideway track, two lengths of running track bolted to the crosshead beams, which are attached to piles

Steered along by two small guide wheels.

Detail of the guide wheel attached to the front wheels of every O-Bahn equipped bus

Buses stop at three bus stations between the Adelaide CBD and Tea Tree Plaza.

Outbound #1447 stops for passengers at Klemzig Station, as a citybound bus does the same

Sump busters‘ used to prevent unauthorised vehicles from entering the busway.

Detail of the 'sump buster' used to prevent unauthorised vehicles from entering the O-Bahn Busway

Another odd feature is the double ended busway recovery truck nicknamed ‘Dumbo’.

The double ended busway recovery truck nicknamed 'Dumbo'

Specially designed to enter the O-Bahn track from either direction, and tow away a broken down bus.

Disabled artic #1147 under tow at Currie and King William Streets

Power stations

Don’t you go hunting down power stations when you go on holiday?

Barkers Inlet and Torrens Island Power Station

I went past the massive 1,280 MW gas fired power station at Torrens Island.

Torrens Island Power Station viewed from across the Port River

The 58MW Port Stanvac Power Station, made up of 36 diesel generators.

65 MW Port Stanvac power station in Adelaide

And the 20 MW peaking Lonsdale Power Station, with just 18 diesel generators.

Apparently a few dozen diesel generators can be called a 'power station'

A one way freeway?

A reversible one way freeway sounds bizarre, but Adelaide used to have one – the Southern Expressway between Bedford Park and Old Noarlunga. The three lane road was setup for traffic in either direction.

Driving down the Southern Expressway - it only *looks* like I'm going the wrong way

Changing direction twice a day.

Opening hours of the  Southern Expressway

On and off ramps opening and closing based on the current direction of travel.

Northern end of the Southern Expressway closed to southbound traffic

Indicated by rotating prism signs at interchanges.

Closed entrance to the  Southern Expressway, due to traffic running in the reverse direction

With warnings signs to ensure motorists didn’t drive down the wrong way.

Open entrance to the  Southern Expressway, due to trafifc flowing in my direction

Opened in 1997, work on upgrading the freeway to two way operation commenced in 2011, and was completed in 2014.

And ghosts of the past

Adelaide would have to go down as a graveyard of Australian manufacturing.

Graveyard of Australian manufacturing

Home of the former Mitsubishi engine plant at Lonsdale – closed in 2005

Entry to the former Mitsubishi Lonsdale engine plant

The Mitsubishi vehicle assembly plant at Tonsley Park, closed in 2008.

Abandoned Mitsubishi factory in Adelaide

And Mobil’s mothballed Port Stanvac Refinery – demolished in 2014.

Port Stanvac Refinery abandoned upon the hill

But Adelaide also had an abandoned shopping centre – the top floors of the Myer Centre.

Abandoned top floors of the Myer Centre in Adelaide

And an abandoned international airport terminal.

"International Terminal" signage on the old terminal at Adelaide

Replaced by a combined domestic and international terminal in 2005.

Abandoned arrivals hall of Adelaide Airport's international terminal

But time to fly home

The ‘real’ Adelaide Airport was rather nice.

Looking along the departure gate lounges at Adelaide Airport

Big windows looking out over the city.

Looking through the Adelaide Airport windows towards the CBD skyline

And a view of aircraft on the apron.

Regional Express Saab 340B with the Adelaide skyline behind

So farewell to Adelaide circa 2011.

High over West Beach, departing Adelaide

I ended up returning in 2015 and 2019 – but travelling on The Overland instead.


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

Photos from ten years ago: December 2011

Another month, another instalment in my photos from ten years ago series – this time it is December 2011.

Christmas in the CBD

Christmas decorations were everywhere.

A2.266 on route 11 leads a classmate westbound on Collins Street

Crowds aplenty to see the Myer Christmas Windows.

Myer Christmas Windows on the Bourke Street Mall

With the massive ‘Merry Christmas’ sign at Flinders Street Station finally finished!

The massive 'Merry Christmas' sign at Flinders Street Station finally finished!

And Yarra Trams even rolled out a Christmas themed variant of their “Beware the Rhino” campaign.

A big hole in the ground

Around the corner at thr former Myer Lonsdale Street store was massive hole in the ground.

Construction work starts on the new 'Emporium' shopping centre

Work continuing to clear the site for the new Emporium Melbourne shopping centre.

Stopped work at Myer for the Christmas break

Which exposed the ‘S’ in the ‘MYERS’ name on the Lonsdale Street façade.

Reverse view of the 'MYERS' sign

And the ‘secret’ tunnels that connected the Myer store to neighbouring buildings.

Constructing a subway beneath Little Bourke Street

Flying into Melbourne

I returned from my trip to Adelaide (which is a story still to come).

Looking over the West Gate Bridge and Yarra River towards Port Melbourne

Passing over Truganina.

Brand new housing estates in the western Melbourne suburb of Truganina

Melbourne Airport’s terminals are still stuck in the 1970s.

Arrival into Melbourne

But at least the Ansett Australia carpet was only 10 years out of date.

Luggage carousels at Melbourne Airport

But one thing that has since since 2011 is the wall of yellow taxis.

Queue of taxis at Melbourne Airport

The requirement for taxis to be painted yellow was dropped in 2013, and taxis themselves have been in decline since the 2012 launch of Uber in Australia.

Down the docks

I went for a squiz at the container ships down at Swanston Dock.

'MSC London' berthed at Swanson Dock East

And the Bass Strait ro-ro ships at Webb Dock.

Melbourne skyline from Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne

Both locations are no longer accessible to the public – covered by expanded terminals at the Port of Melbourne.

Williams Landing

I seem to keep on coming back to Williams Landing.

The new suburb at Williams Landing, slowly covering the former airfield at RAAF Williams

In December 2011 the southern end of the former RAAF runway was still there.

Looking north along the former RAAF runway

But work was underway to clear the site for the new Williams Landing railway station.

Looking down the line, LX over the standard gauge to access the site. Note the new stanchion bases in the dirt, the down line will be slewed for an island platform

Abandoned hospitals

A decade ago Melbourne was full of abandoned hospitals.

Former Royal Women's Hospital on Swanston Street, Melbourne

The old Royal Women’s Hospital in Carlton was locked up.

South facade of the "3AW Community Service Board Block" of the former Royal Women's Hospital

Empty inside.

Abandoned foyer of the former Royal Women's Hospital

Replaced by the current hospital a short distance away on Grattan Street.

Main entrance to the former Royal Women's Hospital

The old Royal Children’s Hospital was also closed.

'South East Building' of the former Royal Children's Hospital

Replaced by the new Royal Children’s Hospital next door.

'Main Building' of the former Royal Children's Hospital

And the only signs of life being a table surrounded by random chairs.

Empty foyer of the former Royal Children's Hospital

Ding ding

I photographed a Z3 tram headed along route 55 on Flemington Road.

Z3.150 northbound on route 55 on Flemington Road at Gatehouse Street

Route 55 merged with route 8 to become route 58 in 2017, and low floor E class took over from high floor trams just a few weeks ago.

And finally – trains

At Southern Cross Station new shops were being added wherever they’d fit.

Work on the new Loco Bar balcony at the Collins Street end

The ‘mX’ newspaper was still being handed out.

Docklands workers dodge the new shops at the upper level Collins Street entrance

V/Line was still running 7-car trains on express services to Geelong.

It's only 6pm and the first empty cars run is departing Geelong - a 7-car consist passes through North Shore on the up

Signs of the past

I headed past the Newport Workshops, and found a Hitachi train stabled in the sidings.

Siemens 725M stabled beside Hitachi 282M at Newport Workshops

But when I revisited a few days later, they’d multiplied!

Trio of Hitachis trains stored at Newport Workshops - 273M, 279M and 282M

Down at Fyansford the old silos at the cement works were still in place, but the railway had been lifted.

No track left at Fyansford, except for that buried under the resurfaced level crossing, and a crossing light

Level crossings removed, and the road resurfaced.

Looking down the line over the Thompson Road level crossing

While at North Geelong, I found the ancient ‘Train Staff’ safeworking system still in use by grain trains.

Signaller at North Geelong C ready to hand over the Train Staff for the Grain Loop

The signaller passing the metal ‘Train Staff’ to the crew of incoming trains, indicating they had permission to enter the single track section.

Signaller holds the Train Staff for the Grain Loop, the second person ready to grab hold of it

It took until 2020 for a modern remote controlled signalling system to be installed – but not without causing a level crossing irregularity during the commissioning process.

Progress on Regional Rail Link

At Footscray station the William Cooper Bridge had finally been finished.

Finished forecourt at the eastern end

Grass and trees cover what was an abandoned wasteland on Irving Street.

Grass and trees cover what was an abandoned wasteland on Irving Street

But with Regional Rail Link adding two more platforms to the station, it had to go.

Shops to the west of Footscray station demolished, only the doughnut caravan left

But thankfully the Olympic Doughnut caravan survived.

Doughnut van still in place, everything else demolished for the upcoming RRL works

Down the line at West Footscray, the old station was unchanged for now.

VLocity 3VL27 passes through West Footscray on the down

But there had been massive changes at Middle Footscray.

VLocity 3VL41 passes Middle Footscray on the down suburban line

The entire row of compulsorily acquired houses had been demolished.

Excavator digging up the now cleared site

To make way for the future railway tracks.

Big blue fence along Buckley Street

Changes had also been made at the opposite end of Regional Rail Link, where the standard gauge tracks had been relocated to make room for the junction at West Werribee.

Power van trails a VLH set at Manor Junction

New tracks to South Morang

December 2011 saw a new station opened at Epping.

Kiosk in the forecourt of the new Epping station

As part of the extension of the railway to South Morang.

Down the line from Epping, a second set of baulks in the distance

The new station at South Morang was almost ready.

Overview of the new station at South Morang from the up end

Which would see the end of the route 571 ‘TrainLink‘ bus service between Epping and South Morang.

East West #192 rego 0930AO crosses over the new South Morang railway station with a route 571 Trainlink service

Level crossing removals

There was no Level Crossing Removal Authority a decade ago, but the Anglesea Road level crossing on the Warrnambool line at Waurn Ponds was being removed.

N460 leads the down Warrnambool out of Geelong at the temporary Anglesea Road level crossing

A new road-over-rail bridge being built as part of the Geelong Ring Road project.

Three span bridge in place over the railway line, looking west

And a new pedestrian underpass was being built on Furner Avenue in North Geelong, replacing a pedestrian crossing as part of an ARTC-led upgrade of the freight railway into the Port of Geelong.

Still going slow, G528 and G539 roll through the gauge splitter at North Geelong C

A bright spark

In Melbourne’s west millions were being spent on road duplication projects – like Kororoit Creek Road.

Looking west over the completed bridge

And railway station car park upgrades – such as this one at Newport.

New car park on the western side of the down end curve

But a new rail freight terminal also opened in December 2011 – the Sadleirs Logistics siding at Spotswood.

Rake of RLSY louvre vans in the recently opened Sadleirs Logistics siding at Spotswood

And something odd

Down in Geelong the local telco Neighbourhood Cable was bought out by the Canberra based and ACT branded TransACT – a rather odd sight.

Benders running buses up in Canberra? Nope, TransACT bought out Geelong-based telco Neighbourhood Cable

But it only lasted a few years – TransACT was then bought out by iiNet.


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