Photographing every railway station in Melbourne

Melbourne has around two hundred railway stations across the city, but for someone such as myself, taking a photo at each one should be easy enough to achieve. However I sat down the other week, and came to the realisation that after 10 years and over 35,000 photographs catalogued online, it is something I am yet to accomplish. So how many stations have I photographed so far?

EDI Comeng 346M leads a down Frankston service through Richmond Junction

The back story

My investigations commenced in July 2015, when I completed work on my post on Prahran station’s additional station entrance. The text was all ready to go, but when it came time to find a relevant photo – my collection came up blank!

By this point, I was now wondering what other stations I had never photographed, so I went into full trainspotter mode, putting the current list of 209 suburban stations into a spreadsheet, and started searching through my collection of photos to see what I had for each station.

The end result

As of August 2015, I had taken a photograph at 167 of the 209 suburban railway station in Melbourne, leaving 42 which I have no proof of ever visiting – a strike rate of just under 80%.

However, the above numbers are a little misleading as my subject of my photos isn’t necessarily a train – as the graph below shows.


Confused?

Some explanation

Before collating the data around which stations I have taken a photo at, I never intentionally set out to photograph every railway station in Melbourne – instead I take photos of trains…

  • when I think a particular location looks photogenic,
  • when I hear about a steam train running,
  • when I want to see V/Line and freight trains,
  • when I realise I need a photo to illustrate a specific blog post,
  • when I discover something is about to change and I don’t yet have a photo of it,
  • when I decide to head out and photograph every ‘X’ item.

But the most common reason – I take photos of trains when I’m out and about doing other things.

The end result of this is a selection of photos across Melbourne that primarily covers the areas that I’ve passed through for work, study and visiting friends; with a particular focus on railway lines that see V/Line and freight services upon them; and leaving vast swathes of the city undocumented by my camera.

This also explains the stations where I have never photographed a suburban train at…

If a location is photogenic, I might take a photo of a train near the station when I’m in the area – but not bother visiting the station itself.

EDI Comeng 354M departs Flemington Bridge station on the down
Upfield train passes through Royal Park after departing Flemington Bridge.

Over the years I’ve travelled on a number of special trains around Melbourne – resulting in plenty of photos featuring steam and diesel trains in strange locations, but no photos of the suburban trains that normally run to said stations.

D3 waiting to lead the train out of Cranbourne
Steamrail Victoria train awaits departure time from Cranbourne station.

When a weekend services run only every half hour, I don’t have time to wait around for the next train to show up – hence the stations where the only photo I have is of the station building.

Looking down the line at Murrumbeena station
Station building and footbridge at Murrumbeena.

And finally the ‘only substation’ category – I’ve been playing Pokemon with the substations that power Melbourne’s electric trains, and slowly photographing every example that I can find.

Seaford substation, commissioned in 1955 with 3,000 kW capacity
Traction power substation on the Frankston line at Seaford.

In the end, the very act of determining how many stations I have photographed has now changed my attitude to photography, and in the months since August I have stepped up my efforts to take a photo at every railway station in Melbourne.

The only question left is how long it will take me to achieve this goal!

Raw data

The raw data used for the above calculations as a Google spreadsheet.

Off on a tangent

Visiting every railway station in Melbourne in a day is another challenge a number of people have taken on:

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6 Responses to “Photographing every railway station in Melbourne”

  1. Matt says:

    And don’t forget ‘Blake’ who done every station in one day!

  2. ozzmosis says:

    Ross Thomson’s collection of photos of both modern and abandoned stations in Victoria is impressive. The photos are now about 10 years old, so even his photos of modern stations have some historic value. http://www.vicrailstations.com/

    • Marcus Wong says:

      I forgot about that site – thanks for reminding me!

      Back in the days of gunzels using Fotopic to host train photos, there were a few sites with similarly large collections of station photos.

  3. Tom the first and best says:

    That Flemington Bridge station photo does have some of the station, mainly a large chuck of platform 2, visible in the background.

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