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.
It’s 1:08 AM at Flinders Street Station, and the Solari split-flap display has been switched off for the night.
A few hours later at 4:07 AM, and when I strolled past Southern Cross Station it was locked up tight.
Inside the station a new facility was under construction – the Myki Discovery Centre.
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.
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.
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.
We rolled through abandoned stations, like General Motors on the Pakenham line.
Over the viaduct that links Southern Cross Station to Flinders Street.
And across the Avon River bridge in Gippsland.
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.
But a new railway station at Roxburgh Park was being built.
As was grade separation of the Somerton Road level crossing.
And new automated signalling – the manually operated signal box at Somerton was almost due to be decommissioned.
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.
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!
Here you can find the rest of my ‘photos from ten years ago‘ series.