Photos from ten years ago: July 2008

Another instalment in my photos from ten years ago series – this time it is July 2008.

At North Melbourne station work was continuing on the new concourse, with a massive steel and timber crash deck at the city end of the platforms allowing construction to continue while trains continued running below.

Work on the station at North Melbourne

While in the rail yards next door I found a since-retired Hitachi train shunting into the sidings.

Hitachi at Melbourne Yard

In both views note how much sparser the CBD and Docklands skylines are – the current explosion of apartment developments had yet to take off.

Down in Geelong the first two stages of the Geelong Ring Road looked ready to drive on.

Midland Highway onramp Melbourne bound

With only the white lines remaining to be painted.

Almost ready to go

I mentioned crate men recently – and July 2008 saw a plague of them across Melbourne’s west.

Jumping a fence at Newport.

Milkcrate man at Newport

Atop the WC Thomas & Sons flour mill.

Crate man up the flour mill at Newport

Riding a crane in Spotswood.

Milkcrate man riding VR crane 31 at Spotswood

And having a smoko atop a South Kensington roof.

Another milk crate man at South Kensington

I also spent a morning at Newport photographing a procession of citybound trains.

First was a V/Line train hauled by diesel locomotive A62.

A62 with carset FSH25 on the up at Newport

This unit has been stored since 2013, and probably won’t run again.

I also saw A85 with the Waurn Ponds – Lyndhurst cement train.

A85 on the up at Newport with the Waurn Ponds - Lyndhurst cement train

The last cement train ran to Lyndhurst on the Cranbourne line in 2009, with the traffic moving completely to road in 2015.

And finally the train I was waiting for – The Ghan liveried locomotives NR74 and AN3 on a freight train ex-Adelaide.

Finally - Ghan liveried pair NR74 and AN3 on the up at Newport

Given The Ghan runs between Adelaide and Darwin, what were these two engines doing in Victoria? The answer is simple – they were due for scheduled maintenance at the workshops in Melbourne, and the easiest way to get them there was to pull a freight train headed this way.

At Southern Cross Station massive advertising banners are nothing new, but back in 2008 a company called Intralot was.

V/Line's on time performance seems to be a lottery too

July 1 saw the company start operations in Victoria, selling ‘scratchie’ lottery tickets in competition with incumbent operator Tattersall’s, after winning 10-year licence from the state government. By 2010 their Victorian operations were bleeding money, leading the company to sell out to Tattersall’s in 2014, restoring the previous monopoly status.

And I end this month with a train trip north from Seymour, to the Murray River town of Tocumwal.

Normally only traversed by freight trains, I was travelling on collection of museum pieces restored by the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre.

T320 on the front of the consist at Seymour

Our train had a V/Line locomotive up front to assist.

N468 at Tocumwal

And what looked to be the entire town of Tocumwal coming out to greet us.

Locals wave farewell at Tocumwal

On the way we passed the station building at Murchison East.

Boarded up timber station building at Murchison East

Destroyed by fire in 2014.

And Mooroopna.

Timber station building at Mooroopna

Destroyed by fire in 2018.

North of Shepparton we passed oil terminals that were once served by rail.

Shell oil terminal to the north of Shepparton

As well as a fertiliser depot, the rail siding covered with rust.

Incitec Pivot fertiliser depot siding at Congupna

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for rail freight – the container terminal at Mooroopna was still being used to load freight trains.

20 foot containers stored at the Mooroopna freight terminal

And the railway line itself wasn’t being neglected.

Track machines stabled in the siding at Wunghnu

With track crews hard at work.

Replacing timber sleepers over a small bridge north of Shepparton

Replacing timber sleepers.

Replacing timber sleepers over a small bridge north of Shepparton

Allowing the thrice weekly freight train to Tocumwal to keep running.

Footnote

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

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