Another instalment in my photos from ten years ago series – this time it is February 2007.
We start halfway between Geelong and Ballarat, where I found an empty grain train headed north for another load.
Grain trains continue to use the line today, the number depending on the size of the annual grain harvest.
Back home in Geelong I captured a photo showing the uselessness of the local bus network. Services on route 16 and 19 ran once an hour on a Sunday, leaving town just a few minutes apart, only to chase other down Moorabool Street as far as the Belmont shopping centre.
Over at South Geelong station I photographed a Melbourne-bound train before departure time, lead by a 1950s-era A class diesel locomotive.
These locomotives have had more farewells than John Farnham! Entering service in the 1950s as the B class, they were stripped down and rebuilt with new engines in the 1980s. The delivery of VLocity trains in the mid-2000s saw their use decline, but increasing patronage have seen the come back from retirement multiple times – the most recent being April 2013.
At Newport I photographed a 3-car Comeng train on an off-peak citybound Werribee service.
These trains are still in service today despite their increasing age, just with Metro Trains Melbourne replacing the Connex stickers, but increasing patronage has seen 3-car trains become a rare sight, due to increasing patronage across the suburban network.
Finally at Newport I spotted a 3-car Siemens train heading past without any passengers on board.
Back in November 2006 multiple Siemens trains were withdrawn from service after overshooting platforms, the number of trains eventually totalling 31. To find the root cause of the problem, soapy water was sprayed onto the rails to increase the amount of wheel slip experienced, in an effort to replicate the brake fault.
The chosen solution was a software change to the braking system, Connex and Siemens declaring ‘Mission Accomplished’ in February 2007.
Turns out the Siemens trains were never fixed properly – in March 2009 more platform overruns were experienced. This time around it was decided to install sanding equipment to the trains to improve their braking performance, a program completed in June 2011.
Here you can find the rest of my ‘photos from ten years ago‘ series.