Melbourne Airport Rail Link – finally some detail

A few days ago the next round of details was released for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, including the route that the new rail link will take into Melbourne Airport, and how the works will be delivered.

Arrival into Melbourne, looking over the Qantas domestic terminal

The scope

The Melbourne Airport Rail Link project has been divided up into three regions.

With the work to be tendered out as six ‘work packages’.

Which include:

Airport Station Package

The Airport Station package will be responsible for the following scope:

• construction of the new Airport Station including operational control systems (OCS);
• construction of a new 1.5km track pair from the new Airport Station to Mercer Drive;
• overhead wiring system and structures;
• land clearing and minor civil works for traction power substations and Digital Train Radio System (DTRS) Towers;
• Combined Services Route (CSR);
• utility services relocations;
• civil structures; and
• roadworks.

Viaduct Package

The Viaduct package will be responsible for the following scope:

• construction of approximately 5km of twin track viaduct commencing at Mercer Drive and continuing above the median strip of Airport Drive towards Steele Creek North and across the Western Ring Road;
• overhead wiring system, wiring and structures;
• land clearing and minor civil works for traction power substations and DTRS Towers;
• CSR;
• utility services relocations;
• civil structures and grade separations; and
• roadworks.

Corridor Package

The Corridor package will be responsible for the following scope:

• construction of approximately 6km of new track and associated civil works;
• overhead wiring system, wiring and structures;
• land clearing and minor civil works for traction power substations and DTRS Towers;
• CSR;
• utility services relocation;
• modifications to Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) tracks and supporting infrastructure including ARTC signalling works;
• shared user path works; and
• modifications to existing road bridges spanning the rail corridor.

Maribyrnong River Bridge Package

The Maribyrnong River Bridge package will be responsible for the following scope:
• construction of a new elevated twin track rail crossing to the West of the existing Albion Viaduct; and
• associated earthworks, drainage, lineside fencing and maintenance access.

RPV note that the Maribyrnong River Bridge package may ultimately be delivered as part of the Corridor package rather than as a standalone works package.

Rail Systems Package

The Rail Systems package will be responsible for the following scope:

• High Capacity Signalling (HCS);
• Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) system;
• Traction Power System (TPS) including:
– intake substation;
– new traction power substations and 22kV AC reticulation systems;
– 3.3kV Essential Services Distribution System (ESDS) Cable pulling, jointing and any required field equipment;
• Rail Control Systems;
• Communications Systems;
– Fibre optic network;
– Digital Train Radio System; and
• Systems integration and assurance.

And the controversial part

And the most complicated and controversial one – the Sunshine/Albion Package. The state government released the details of this work package back in March 2021 – an ‘exclusive’ media drop made to the Herald Sun by the State Government in return for not asking any difficult questions.

The headline feature – a rail-over-road-over-rail bridge at Albion station.

The rest of the work including.

Sunshine/Albion Package
The SAP Works primarily comprise of works in and around Sunshine Station, extending to the southern end of Albion-Jacana corridor. Key scope will include:

• modifications to the Anderson Road rail underbridge to accommodate the new Melbourne Airport Rail lines and the adjusted positions of the existing lines;
• construction of a new elevated viaduct for the Melbourne Airport Rail lines to span over Ballarat Road bridge, St Albans Road bridge and the Stony Creek;
• Overhead Line Equipment (OHLE) works between Sunshine Station and the Albion-Jacana corridor, crossing Ballarat Road, the Sunbury rail corridor, St Albans Road and Stony Creek;
• upgrades to Sunshine Station, including platform and car park modifications and the construction of a new concourse;
• upgrades to Albion Station car parks and forecourts;
• Shared User Path (SUP) works to connect the Principal Bicycle Network and the Strategic Cycling Corridor;
• relocation and implementation of rail systems;
• modifications to existing substations;
• diversion, relocation and protection of existing utilities and underground services;
• signalling, including relocatable equipment buildings (REB), signalling HT locations, axle counters in the Sunshine/Albion area; and
• CSR works in the Sunshine / Albion area and on the new Melbourne Airport Rail lines to the Corridor package interface.

Resulting in a tangle of new track between Sunshine and Albion.

To be delivered in three parts.

• Final Sunbury and Bendigo Commissioning Works – all track works, signalling works, substations and OHLE in relation to the Sunbury and Bendigo lines and all station works at Sunshine Station;
• MAR Spur Works – all works relating to the new Melbourne Airport Rail lines contained within the SAP scope; and
• Balance of SAP Works – the balance of works contained within the SAP scope.

Locals up in arms

Brimbank City Council had big plans for a ‘super hub’ at Sunshine and a rebuilt Albion railway station.

Their plans made public back in February 2021.

The Sunshine Super Hub and Albion Station precinct is a landmark project that is set to reinvent Brimbank as a thriving economic centre.

The council is hoping the hub will help unlock Brimbank’s investment, development and employment potential.

In preliminary designs for the hub, included in a document presented to last week’s council meeting, the council highlighted two possible scenarios for the future of Sunshine and Albion stations.

– The first scenario will result in both Sunshine and Albion stations being upgraded as dual ‘existing’ stations, with Albion station to move to the north.

– The second scenario involves moving Sunshine station to the north and into the new super hub.

Mayor Ranka Rasic confirmed the council had undertaken preliminary design work on the project.

“These options are indicative and exploratory only and further work is needed on the state-led project to determine the best outcome for our community and the western region.

“The Sunshine Super Hub and Albion Station upgrades could create Sunshine and Brimbank as the economic powerhouse of Melbourne’s west.”

The council has also commissioned art impressions to highlight the enormous transformation potential that could be delivered as part of this major infrastructure project.

Cr Rasic said the council will be discussing these preliminary options with the government.

So the announcement of the rail-over-road-over-rail bridge didn’t go down well.

Poster for the 'Save Albion Station' community rally on Sunday 2 May

The locals disappointed with the reduced scope of the project.

The proposed concept plans for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link will drive a “lethal stake through the heart of Sunshine,” according to a local advocacy group

The Greater Sunshine Community Alliance’s convener Stephen Torsi said the group was concerned by the plans which were released last month by the state and federal governments.

The plans include a new bridge over the Maribyrnong River and elevated twin tracks between Sunshine and the Albion Junction.

There was no mention in of the Sunshine Super Transport Hub in the plans.

Mr Torsi said community members were concerned by the information that had been released so far.

He said the alliance was concerned about two issues in particular: the omission of the Sunshine Super Transport Hub and the skyrail between Sunshine and Albion Junction.

As reported by Star Weekly, Brimbank council has raised also concerns that the hub has been overlooked.

“The fact that it looks like the superb hub has been downgraded is a massive blow as a community,” he said.

“We’re keen to work with developers and all the stakeholders and push back on something that looks like it will be second rate.

“We want to make sure we get the best for Sunshine, we don’t want just another track that divides the city.”

Mr Torsi said the proposed elevated tracks from Sunshine to Albion Junction would split Sunshine.

“They split Sunshine in two in the 60s due to bad planning and this goes further in splitting the city,” he said.

“It drives a lethal stake through the heart of Sunshine. We will fight hard on this, Imagine the uproar if this was Toorak.

So what is Albion station like anyway?

The disused railway substation and John Darling & Son Flour Mill form a distinctive industrial backdrop to the area.

Former Albion substation in the foreground, the John Darling & Son Flour Mill behind

But the pebblecrete station building has all the charm of a public toilet block.

EDI Comeng with 'Movember' moustache on the up at Albion

Seedy at dusk.

Siemens 763M departs Albion on a down Sunbury service

And more so at night time.

Late night at Albion station

Sections of the platform are made of timber.

Timber deck platform extension at the up end of Albion station

Which is rotten away.

Crumbing section of platform at the down end of Albion platform 2

And the concrete Ballarat Road bridge is crumbling.

Cracking concrete parapets on the Ballarat Road bridge at Albion

And the wider area

A non-DDA compliant ramp is the only access to Albion station.

Ramp between platform and pedestrian subway at Albion station

Connecting to a dank pedestrian subway.

Pedestrian subway at Albion station

Car parking dominates the entire area.

7:30am and still plenty of car parking spaces at Albion station

The Ballarat Road bridge overshadows the Albion side of the station.

Alstom Comeng 676M departs Albion on the down

Making the car park feel even seedier than they usually are.

Car park on the western side of Albion station

Go for a walk down the west side of the tracks, and you’ll find a cyclone fence with rusty barbed wire at neck height.

Barbed wire at neck height beside the footpath under Ballarat Road at Albion station

Or head towards Sunshine North via St Albans Road, where you’ll find a narrow foothpath squeezed beside cars.

Dysons bus #755 3144AO on a Sunbury line rail replacement service along St Albans Road, Albion

Keep going, and you’ll find a second bridge over the Albion-Jacana railway.

Alstom Comeng 628M on the down at Albion

Squeeze between the road and the fence.

Narrow footpath on St Albans Road links Sunshine North to Albion station

Hopefully you don’t need to pass someone coming in the other directions.

Narrow footpath on St Albans Road links Sunshine North to Albion station

Or get crushed into the steel guard rail by a wayward motorist.

Narrow footpath on St Albans Road links Sunshine North to Albion station

So I’m not exactly surprised that a rail-over-road-over-rail solution was chosen for Albion – a penny pinching State Government doesn’t want to spend money on fixing the problems of the west, so they’re just throwing a new bridge over it all, so the rest of Melbourne doesn’t have to look at it.

Update – Albion isn’t completely forgotten

Turns out an upgrade to the shared use path between Albion and Sunshine North is in scope.

Designing and undertaking all works for the SUP between the Albion eastern car park and Gilmore Road including:

• SUP along the east side of the eastern Albion Station carpark; and
• SUP connection along St Albans Road under the Ballarat Road underpass and a new stand-alone bridge over the Albion-Jacana corridor.

As is ‘public realm’ improvements to the area:

• the architectural gateway feature including public artwork or creative design treatments associated with the viaduct near Ballarat Road;
• boulevard landscaping treatment to Ballarat Road between Anderson Road and Adelaide Street;
• public realm, shared use zone, public artwork and creative design treatments between rail corridor and John Darling Flour Mill site;
• landscape treatments to Talmage Street;
• establishment of forecourt area, including street furniture, from Albion Station eastern entry to pedestrian underpass;
• landscape upgrade works to existing Albion Station car park on eastern side of rail corridor; and
• temporary creative works to ameliorate construction-phase impacts including creative hoarding treatments, pop-up parklets, street furniture or other pedestrian infrastructure, lighting, programmable spaces, and creative wayfinding.

So at least Albion station is getting something other than a new row of concrete pylons.

Rail staff left out in the cold

It’s coming into a cold Melbourne winter, so it means one thing – railway station staff left out in the cold, waiting to assist any passengers unable to pass through the closed ticket gates.

Passengers with paper tickets waiting to exit the platform, as the sole V/Line staff member on the ground having to assist other passengers with directions

Freezing at Southern Cross Station

It isn’t just the diesel fumes at Southern Cross Station causing issues – back in 2017 staff left in the bitter cold got a run in the Herald Sun.

Rail staff complain of the bitter cold
5 July 2017

Freezing ticket inspectors at Southern Cross Station have complained that they’re too cold to work with newly installed heaters not working.

Both Metro Trains and V/Line have provided shelters for their barrier staff but only V/Line has provided heaters.

However, the overhead heaters have providing little respite to shivering staff as they are yet to be connected to power.

Metro Trains says it is planning a new “employee shelter” at the Etihad Stadium end of the station and is “prepared to explore the installation of heating” as an additional measure.

One V/Line staff member, who asked to remain anonymous, said staff were freezing on the Bourke St footbridge.

“It was so cold this morning that I literally could not feel my hands,” he said.

“It’s like a wind tunnel up here.

“As you can see we’ve been given heaters but we are unable to plug them in as there is no power.”

Rail, Tram and Bus Union branch secretary Luba Grigorovitch said she visited the station and it was “freezing”.

“The Bourke Street airwalk is extraordinarily cold, especially when it is windy,” she said.

“This is not something new and both companies should be prepared ahead of the season change.

“Metro has made their staff feel like the poor cousins to V/Line as they are yet to even commit to installing a heater.

“This is absurd given the barrier staff for both operators stand in the same position, just metres apart.”

V/Line spokeswoman Catalina Filip said the heater in the Myki barrier booth was installed about a fortnight ago.

She said V/Line was working with Southern Cross Station maintenance providers to install a power point and connect the heater to electricity.

“We’ve listened to our employees and have installed heaters in the myki barrier booth at Southern Cross Station to keep staff warm during the colder months,” she said.

“The comfort of our team members is a priority and we’re always looking at ways to create a more comfortable workplace for our staff.”

Metro spokeswoman Sammie Black said all its station staff were provided with gloves, scarfs, beanies and a range of winter jackets.

“We are currently commissioning a replacement employee shelter at the Etihad Stadium end of Southern Cross Station and exploring the installation of heating in this shelter as an additional measure,” she said.

The V/Line shelter on the Bourke Street footbridge is a glass cabin.

V/Line barrier staff member shelters from the cold wind on the Bourke Street bridge

With an electric panel heater inside.

Heated booth on the Bourke Street concourse to shelter barrier staff from the cold

Metro staff have a warm booking office to sell tickets from.

Long line of passengers waiting for tickets at the Bourke Street booking office at Southern Cross

But staff on the ticket gates next door are still left to huddle in a glass cabin.

Main gate array for the Bourke Street end of Southern Cross Station: seven normal and one wide gate

Down on the main concourse at Southern Cross the big roof theoretically provides shelter, but the freezing wind still cuts through – so V/Line staff have a heater behind their customer service desk.

V/Line's new customer service desk at the Southern Cross Station ticket gates

But it doesn’t have to be

With good station design, there is no need for station staff to be left out in the cold – just place the ticket barriers beside the station office.

The brand new Reservoir station is one example.

Ticket gates and ticket office at Reservoir station

Bayswater is another.

Myki gates at the entrance to the new Bayswater station

Williams Landing.

Bank of five Myki gates at Williams Landing

And even older stations like Melbourne Central.

Booking office at Melbourne Central, now reopened

And Flagstaff.

Booking office at Flagstaff station closed for the removal of Metcard equipment

So close, yet so far

Yet despite so many Melbourne examples that place staff beside the ticket gates, some stations neglect it entirely.

Ringwood platform 3 put the gates opposite the ticket office.

Myki gates at the entrance to Ringwood platform 3

As did the brand new St Albans station.

Vix ticket gates at St Albans station

Footscray put the ticket gates beside the station office, but a fence prevents passengers from inside the paid area accessing it.

Changing to a City Loop service at Footscray, and you have to touch on again

The staff at South Yarra received a glass shelter instead of a window between the ticket office and the paid area.

Glass booth at South Yarra station to shelter Metro Trains barrier staff from the bitterly cold winds

But the ticket office at Ringwood platform 1 and 2 takes the cake – explicitly designed to put the ticket gates beside it.

Myki gates lead from the overhead concourse to Ringwood platform 1 and 2

But staff still sent out onto a cold bridge, but with a glass booth to shelter them.

Glass booth at Ringwood station to shelter the barrier staff from the icy winds blowing through the overhead concourse

And I missed one

As soon as I shared this post on Twitter, someone pointed out a group of rail employees I’d missed – the hundreds of contract staff providing customer service for rail replacement buses. Some of them get a tent to huddle under.

Dysons bus #749 8181AO and #284 on Sunbury line rail replacement services at Sunshine station

But the bulk of them have to stand around inches from traffic, ready for the next bus to arrive.

Dysons bus 5456AO on a Sunbury line rail replacement service at Sunshine station

Further reading

Daniel Bowen looked into ticket gates in Melbourne further in The ins and outs of fare gates.

Radial streets and ‘The Circle’ in Newport

When you look at a map of Melbourne’s older suburbs, a grid network of streets dominates. However on edge of the western suburb of Newport is an interesting street layout – with ‘The Circle’ in the middle, and streets radiating out at 45 degree angles.


Google Maps

The story starts in the 1927, when the open paddocks between Mason, Mills and Hansen Streets and Blackshaws Road were subdivided for speculative development.


1929 Plan for General Development

The 2017 Hobsons Bay Heritage Study stating.

This estate was originally made up of two Lodged Plans, LP 12379, and LP 12834, which were subdivisions of Crown Portions C & D, Section 6. They were declared by solicitors, Bullen & Burt, lodged by the surveyor GT Little (later Little & Brosnan) in 1927, and the consent of Council was given in the same year. The official stamp was given in 1929 and there was even a ‘Little Street’ included in the plan named after the surveyor.

However the Metropolitan Town Planning Commission then became involved, and the street layout was redesigned.


1929 Plan for General Development

In what became a poster child for new subdivisions in the 1929 ‘Plan for General Development’.

Many subdividers and owners of land in the past have viewed with suspicion the efforts to induce them to adopt town planning principles. In some instances subdivisions which are intended to be town planning layouts are fantastic, and do not comply with requirements from a general development standpoint; in other cases they are extremely wasteful, and not in the interests of the city, the future residents, or the owners. These “so called” town planning schemes have retarded the general adoption by many owners of more scientific subdivision of land.

As examples of the above, the plans on page 261 are submitted. Scheme “A” the layout which was surveyed and forwarded to the Council for approval and seal in accordance with the usual practice, and the sealing was duly authorized. Prior to the subdivision of this area, the Commission had given considerable attention to the problem of road transportation in the western suburbs, and had adopted a general scheme of thoroughfares. This scheme was not known to the subdividers nor to the Council at the time this particular subdivision of the area was approved by the Council. As the approved subdivision seriously affected the Commission’s scheme, the subdividers were approached, and although they had incurred the considerable costs of subdivision and had received the approval of the Council as required by existing law, so satisfied were they with the proposal that they agreed to replan the area in accordance with the Commission’s general scheme.

Scheme “B” shows the amended subdivision, including two main roads, ‘”The Highway” and “Broadway”, each 84 feet in width. The general design of the subdivision is a marked advance on the old checker-board layout which was previously intended, and is an excellent example of the benefits to be gained by adequate control.

It should not, however, be necessary to amend plans on which large sums have been spent,and usually subdividers are loth to change their plans when expense has been entailed. Those who do are to be commended for their interest in the development of the metropolis on sound lines, and they are realising that it pays them to do so.

Some sources state that the estate was planned by Walter Burley Griffin’s Company, though the heritage study states that it is more likely the work of well-known planner, Saxil Tuxen.

In the years that followed little happened – this 1945 aerial photo shows empty paddocks.


Victorian Department of Lands and Survey photo map

And this MMBW plan from 1947 reinforces this – a sea of empty streets, with the nearest houses back at Newport station.


MMBW Plan No. 282

However the end of WW2 saw development take off, land along Blackshaws Road first to be sold from the mid-1950s.


The Age, 28 February 1955, page 8

Real estate agents promoting Newport West as “the district of the future”.


The Age, 11 October 1958, page 45

Land sales soon ramped up.


The Age, 18 July 1959, page 40

And supporting infrastructure followed soon after, including a Dutch speaking doctor who set up shop at The Circle, and a library branch in 1966.


MMBW Plan 9D

The shopping centre was finally built out by 1970.


The Age, 28 March 1970, page 48

Resulting in the suburb of 1950s weatherboard and 1960s brick veneer houses seen today.


Google Maps

Footnote

The 1945 aerial photos shows nine large circular tanks located at the north west corner of the estate, at the corner of May Street and Blackshaws Road. I’ve got no idea what they were for – any ideas?


Victorian Department of Lands and Survey photo map

And an update

I dug up the plan of subdivision for the area once occupied by the mysterious tanks – it was lodged in February 1962, and B.P Australia of 131 Queen Street, Melbourne was the vendor.

So oil tanks it is!

Photos from ten years ago: May 2011

Another instalment in my photos from ten years ago series, but for May 2011 it’s something different – a road trip through New South Wales.

Approaching a Safe-T-Cam camera installation

Heading east from Melbourne

I took the Monash Freeway out of Melbourne, passing the site of the future Lynbrook station on the Cranbourne line.

Western side of the station site

And Cardina Road station on the Pakenham line.

Level crossing at Cardina Road looking towards the station platforms

I detoured via the Hazelwood Power Station, since demolished.

Hazelwood Power Station - 1960s chic

And followed the railway east to the end of the line, where trucks had taken over the transport of logs from Bairnsdale.

Up end of the Bosworth Road log sidings

The Raymond Island Ferry was another non-railway detour.

Loading cars at Paynesville for the short trip across McMillan Strait to Raymond Island

As was Lakes Entrance.

Entrance to the Gippsland Lakes at Lakes Entrance

The Princes Highway continued on, where I found a disused railway bridge over the Nicholson River.

View from the north of the Nicholson River trestle bridge

And a timber trestle over Stony Creek, outside Nowa Nowa.

Stony Creek trestle bridge, outside Nowa Nowa

The Princes Highway outside Orbost was burnt out following bushfires.

Fire damaged trees flank the Princes Highway near Orbost

I turned off the highway at Cann River, where I found a retired Hitachi suburban train turned into a house.

Hitachi 32M located outside Cann River, on the Monaro Highway

And followed the Monaro Highway towards the Snowy Mountains.

Snaking across the plains

Passing through Bombala.

Station nameboard and footbridge

And arriving in Cooma as night fell.

Looking up the yard towards the station building

Across the Snowy Mountains

The next day I headed up into the mountains, where I found the Skitube railway.

Driver training run on Skitube with motor-trailer car set #3 climbing up the mountain

A rack railway that serves the Thredbo and Perisher Valley skifields.

Sleeper and rack railway detail

At Thredbo I found a fleet of shuttle buses parked during the off season.

Shuttle buses parked at Thredbo - ex-STA vehicles, regos AV33PD and AP59LD

Before I attacked 65 kilometres of winding road across the Great Dividing Range.

Winding roads for the next 65 kilometres?!

Reaching an elevation of 1580 metres.

The highest road in Australia?

With a dusting of snow.

Driving between the snow poles

I headed through Kosciuszko National Park.

Driving on the open road

Passing alpine huts.

Bradley and O'Briens Hut

And Australia’s highest town at Cabramurra.

"Town centre" of Cabramurra

But the thing I was really looking for was power stations.

Tumut 3 hydroelectric power station

I found high voltage power lines and pressure pipelines.

Hydroelectricity: water goes in and electricity comes out

High voltage electrical switchyards.

Murray Switching Station at Khancoban

And I went on a tour of the Murray 1 hydroelectric power station.

Overhead crane running above the generators

Into the Riverina

Every visit NSW ends up with me passing through Gundagai, and this time was no exception.

Timber trestle bridges at Gundagai, NSW

But this time I made a side trip off the Hume Highway to the Temora Aviation Museum.

Display hangar at the Temora Aviation Museum

They park their cars a little differently here.

Reverse-in car parking in New South Wales

I then doubled back to the Melbourne-Sydney railway at Harden.

Passing sheep for the slaughterhouse: NR37, NR87 and NR64 at Harden

Where I was surrounded by a flock of sheep.

Herding sheep to market in Harden, NSW

Grain trains also use the railway.

EL54 and EL60 lead a southbound El Zorro grain through Yass Junction

Cootamundra and Junee being the hub for grain movements.

Lineup at Cootamundra: 48149, GPU2 and 48127 on one road, X52 and X46 in another, then a solo 48123 outside the shed

Disused grain silos are found all along the railway.

8130 and 8105 pass the disused silos at Marinna with a grain train

But have been redundant by modern bulk grain facilities.

Loading silos and grain stockpiles at the GrainFlow terminal

Small towns like Gunning still had a railway station.

Overview of the station platforms from the down end

The Melbourne-Sydney XPT is the only public transport to towns like The Rock.

XPT slowing down for a single passenger at The Rock

But towns like Binalong have trains pass by without stopping.

Disused railway station at Binalong

Relying on road coach connections.

Pair of CountryLink road coaches parallel the Main South outside Cootamundra

And finally the Southern Highlands

At Bowral I found a CityRail interurban service stopping for passengers.

Endeavour arriving into Bowral on a southbound service

But the NSW Rail Museum at Thirlmere was my destination.

4201 on display outside undercover

Exhibits filling the display hall.

Southern Aurora and Indian Pacific advertising signboards

And steam train trips outside.

Awaiting departure from Thirlmere

And a last pit stop

The sun was setting, but I had one more stop to make before Sydney.

Back into the bush again to find the bridge

The ‘bridge to nowhere’ over the Cordeaux River outside Maldon.

Bridge to nowhere over the Cordeaux River outside Maldon

I found the bridge just before night fell – achievement unlocked!

Footnote: new and old at Wodonga

In 2008 Wodonga railway station closed as part of the Wodonga Rail Bypass project.

Looking down the platform and yard at Wodonga

Replaced by a new station at Wodonga West in 2011.

Road side of the new Wodonga West station

And my usual bits

Southern Cross Station management blocking the main entrance to the station is nothing new – May 2011 I found a skateboarding display there.

Skateboarding display blocking the main entrance to Southern Cross Station

Unfortunately it’s still a problem today.

Meanwhile queues at the Myki gates were only just emerging as a problem – it wasn’t until March 2012 that I first start taking notice of them.

Massive queues at the Flagstaff ticket barriers to exit the station

As an interim fix additional overflow gates were added at stations, but it took until 2014 for the first faster ticket gates to be rolled out.

And finally we end on something positive – X’Trapolis trains rolling out of the factory at Alstom Ballarat.

Still a long line of shells to be fitted out at Ballarat

The plant shut down in 2020 following the delivery of the final train, but is due to reopen following a 2021 budget commitment to build 25 X’Trapolis 2.0 trains at the site.

Footnote

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

Zombie advertisements during Melbourne’s COVID-19 lockdown

Months of coronavirus lockdowns in Melbourne had quite the effect on the city and everyone who lived through them, but one I didn’t notice was a plague of zombie advertisements around the city.

Coming to cinemas?

In March 2020 I spotted a bus with advertisements for ‘Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway‘ – in cinemas March 19.

Transdev bus #107 BS00SY on route 903 along Hampshire Road, Sunshine

The pandemic saw that date canned, the film being released a year later on 25 March 2021.

And in September 2020 I found a big advertisement for ‘Trolls World Tour‘ – in cinemas March 26. Did they mean 2020 or 2021?

Transdev bus #430 7830AO out of service on Harvester Road, Sunshine

Turns out it was March 2020 – the film was again delayed, eventually being released on 17 September 2020.

By December 2020 film studios must have learnt their lesson, and realised that your release date could be pulled out from beneath you – ‘The Dry‘ was advertised as ‘In cinemas soon’.

PTV liveried Transit Systems bus #129 BS00BT between runs on Hampshire Road, Sunshine

On 11 December 2020 the film premiered in Melbourne, with a full theatrical release following from 1 January 2021.

The bottom falls out of the ad market

With everyone stuck at home, why would an advertiser bother spending money putting their message out onto empty streets. As a result buses were stripped of outdated advertisements.

Transit Systems bus #128 BS00BQ between runs in Sunshine

Or covered with ‘house ads‘ for the Pigeon Project market research program run by outdoor advertising company JCDecaux.

Transit Systems  bus #52 5983AO on route 428 along Hampshire Road, Sunshine

But one winner

One company making money from people stuck at home was online streaming services – and they splashed out big on bus advertising. Amazon Prime Video was one.

Transit Systems bus #155 5355AO arrives at Sunshine station on route 428

Stan.

Transit Systems bus #26 6840AO on route 427 at Sunshine station

Disney Plus.

Transit Systems bus #121 9379AO on route 471 departs Sunshine station

And Hayu.

Transit Systems bus #49 6026AO on route 427 along Durham Road, Sunshine

And trams too

Travel writer Tim Richards was stuck at home in Melbourne, and discovered that trams were still advertising the cancelled 2020 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Further reading

Over on Curbed they wrote about a similar phenomenon elsewhere in their piece ‘The Zombie Billboards of Locked-Down New York‘.

Standing on a subway platform now, it looks as if Riverdance’s big 25th anniversary show just opened, David Byrne’s American Utopia is still enjoying a limited Broadway run, and Mrs. America, the Phyllis Schlafly miniseries, is set to hit Hulu next month — April 2020. In stations across New York City, LaKeith Stanfield and Issa Rae have now been touching foreheads in ads for The Photograph for two Valentine’s Days. It’s the same on the streets: Cars driving into the Midtown Tunnel from Queens throughout the year were reminded that A Quiet Place Part II was supposed to open on March 20; the film won’t hit theaters until this May, but the billboard stayed up nearly until March 2021.

The zombie ads have stayed up simply because no one is buying new ones.