Photos from ten years ago: January 2007

Another instalment in my photos from ten years ago series – this time it is January 2007.

We start on the Geelong line at the former railway station called Manor, where we see a Melbourne-bound service approach Werribee.

VL31 and VL35 Melbourne bound at Manor

It’s 1:08 AM at Flinders Street Station, and the Solari split-flap display has been switched off for the night.

It's 1:08 AM and the Solari board at Flinders Street Station is displaying no trains

A few hours later at 4:07 AM, and when I strolled past Southern Cross Station it was locked up tight.

4:07 AM and Southern Cross is locked up tight

Inside the station a new facility was under construction – the Myki Discovery Centre.

Myki Discovery Centre taking shape at Southern Cross Station

Opened in mid 2007, the centre was used as a promotional tool for Myki by the Transport Ticketing Authority, the organisation responsible for the rollout of the new smartcard ticketing system. It centre was later absorbed by Public Transport Victoria, who rebranded it as a ‘PTV Hub’ in 2012.

Down at Geelong I headed out to the southern suburb of Grovedale, where I found a freight train headed for the Blue Circle Southern cement works, climbing the grade towards what is now Waurn Ponds station.

H4 and X31 on the Waurn Ponds Cement at Grovedale

Today the paddocks to the left are covered with houses, with the new Armstrong Creek development doing the same to the paddock behind, and the freight train no longer runs – the cement is now all moved by road.

More big changes can be seen in the background at Footscray, where this citybound commuter train drops off a handful of suburban passengers at platform 1.

P15 trails a morning commuter train at Footscray

Now renumbered platform 3, the car park in the background has since disappeared, replaced by a new pair of platforms for suburban trains built as part of the Regional Rail Link project. In addition, the number of V/Line passengers using Footscray station has skyrocketed, thanks to the removal of the V/Line stop at North Melbourne.

I also went for a ride on a special train operated by the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre, bound for Bairnsdale, where I spent plenty of time on the rear balcony watching the tracks roll past beneath me.

On arrival into Bairnsdale

We rolled through abandoned stations, like General Motors on the Pakenham line.

General Motors station

Over the viaduct that links Southern Cross Station to Flinders Street.

Single check rail in the middle of the new Viaduct tracks at Southern Cross

And across the Avon River bridge in Gippsland.

Crossing the Avon River bridge

The same vantage point also allowed me to capture the progress being made to extend suburban electric train services north from Broadmeadows to Craigieburn.

The initial stages of the project pinched every penny possible, so only half of Craigieburn station was rebuilt for suburban trains.

Work on the new platform at Craigieburn

But a new railway station at Roxburgh Park was being built.

Footbridge at Roxburgh Park station in place

As was grade separation of the Somerton Road level crossing.

Half of the Somerton Road overpass built, level crossing still in use

And new automated signalling – the manually operated signal box at Somerton was almost due to be decommissioned.

Last days for the signal box at Somerton

The penny pinching was also applied to the stabling yard at Craigieburn, where only a single siding was constructed – so that suburban trains could get out of the way of V/Line trains bound for Seymour.

Work on the stabling yard at Craigieburn, only a single track initially provided

Since then both platforms at Craigieburn have been upgraded, and a a massive train maintenance facility occupies the sidings, featuring a train wash and enough room for the stabling of two dozens trains!

Footnote

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

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2 Responses to “Photos from ten years ago: January 2007”

  1. Kevin says:

    10 years this year since the Craigieburn extension opened.

    The penny-pinching resulted in very poor designs of both Craigieburn and Roxburgh Park stations. We’re paying for it these days!

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