Melbourne Metro tunnel mentioned in Playboy

When you think of Playboy magazine, you normally think of nudie pictures, and not diagrams of major infrastructure projects – but for April Fools’ Day in 2015 their website turned up the latter.

Tunnels at the Playboy mansion

Titled ‘So, There Were Tunnels to Celebrity Homes Below the Playboy Mansion’, plenty of news outlets picked up the story and didn’t question it, but others said the tunnels were too good to be true.

I’m a sucker for stories about tunnels, so I kept reading, until I reached a schematic diagram of the supposed tunnel beneath the Playboy mansion.

Tunnels at the Playboy mansion - schematic diagram

It was then a strong feeling of deja vu hit me – I could have sworn I’d seen a identical tunnel profile diagram somewhere else.

Tunnels at the Playboy mansion - full size schematic diagram

A few years ago I found a diagram of the proposed Melbourne Metro tunnel profile beneath Swanston Street and posted it online, so I dug it out again.

Proposed Melbourne Metro tunnel profile beneath Swanston Street

Do you see the similarity?

A check of the diagram featured in the Playboy article showed plenty of detail.

Tunnels at the Playboy mansion - notes on the schematic diagram

Detail that was almost identical to the original Melbourne Metro rail tunnel diagram, other than the mentions of Melbourne.

East-West Rail Link Analysis on Rail Capacity - tunnel profile notes

So how did a diagram of the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel end up in Playboy? I’m guessing the staff behind the prank hit up Google Image Search for a diagram that matched the look and feel they were looking for, then used it as a basis for their artwork.

Note that version of the tunnel diagram is 3000 pixels across, which is three times as large as the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel diagram that I originally shared – in all, some pretty clever work from the team at Playboy.

Footnote

Playboy set the record straight on the tunnels a few days later, with an ‘April Fools!’ message from Hugh Hefner.

As to the original Melbourne Metro diagram, the notes on the bottom indicated that it was produced by two staff from Maunsell Australia Pty Ltd (now AECOM) – J. King and C. Stout. Both can now add ‘published in Playboy’ to their resume!

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