Photos from ten years ago: September 2008

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

It seems that every month sees me start in Geelong, where this time around I photographed a boring blue bus at Geelong station.

McHarry's bus #55 rego 1555AO in GTS livery picks up route 45 passengers at Geelong station

The ‘GTS’ stood for Geelong Transit System and was the operating brand for public transport in Geelong between 1983 until 2000, when it was replaced by a mishmash of bus operator branding. Today no sign of it remains, Myki being the ticketing system, and the Public Transport Victoria livery has been applied to buses.

I also took at look at progress on the Geelong Ring Road through the Barrabool Hills.

Wandana Drive looking north

Barrabool Road had been slewed to one side, allowing construction of the bridge over the future freeway to be carried out without interference with traffic.

Barrabool Road looking east

Excavation work on the long cutting towards Waurn Ponds was well underway.

Barrabool Road looking south

As was the massive climb uphill from the Barwon River.

Barrabool Road looking north

Another ongoing theme is the decline of rail freight – I found a rake of redundant superphosphate hopper wagons in storage at North Geelong Yard.

VHFF superphosphate hoppers in storage at North Geelong Yard

As well as a rake of much older cement hoppers.

Old VHCA cement hoppers at North Geelong Yard - transferred from Tottenham this morning, probably to be scrapped

Both were destined for the scrap yard – the superphosphate traffic was completely lost to rail in the early 2000s, but cement traffic was still barley holding on but in smaller volumes, hence the retirement of older wagons.

But there was one new traffic that rail won – the transport of containerised mineral sands from the Iluka Resources processing plant outside Hamilton to the Port of Melbourne for export.

Outside Corio, El Zorro T386 leads the first containerised mineral sands train to Portland

The service was run by small operator El Zorro, with the transport of the mineral sands between mine and processing plant also moving to rail in 2011.

And another success was the transport of Geelong football fans to Melbourne, where they would see the Cats get thrashed by Hawthorn in the 2008 AFL Grand Final.

Geelong cats fans waiting for the footy special at South Geelong

A number of special 8 car trains ran between Geelong and Richmond during the finals seasons, with one of the trains on grand final day wearing a special ‘Geelong Cats’ headboard on the lead locomotive.

P11 with a special headboard on the up with an 8 car all-refurbished push pull outside Lara

Up in Melbourne I took a walk through Flinders Street Station, where Connex had opened a new customer information booth on the main concourse.

New customer information booth at Flinders Street Station

The booth still exists today, just rebranded for Metro Trains Melbourne.

I also photographed the ‘split flap’ Solari boards hidden on the main concourse, which once listed train departures for each line.

Covered over Solari boards on the main concourse at Flinders Street Station

Installed in the 1990s, the screens were decommissioned in 2007 but remained in place for a few years, hidden by advertising.

Over at Southern Cross Station I followed a speedy piece of construction – a new loading ramp at the north end of platform 1.

Work on the motorail dock

Built to enable the provision of motorail services on The Overland between Melbourne and Adelaide, two weeks later it was virtually complete.

Motorail dock completed

The first cars were loaded onto The Overland in February 2009, but today the ramp stands unused – the motorail service was withdrawn in November 2015.

Finally, we end this month with a trip to Ballarat.

In the small township of Millbrook I came across a level crossing on Old Melbourne Road, protected by bells and lights but no boom barriers.

Old Melbourne Road level crossing

VicTrack funded a upgrade of this level crossing during the 2012/13 financial year, but the railway line is due to be closed in a year or two time, made redundant by the Ballarat Line Upgrade.

On the shores of Lake Wendouree is the Ballarat Tramway Museum, where I photographed tram 33 departing the St Aidans Drive terminus.

Tram 33 departs the St Aidans Drive terminus

While a short distance away I paid a visit to the future Wendouree station site.

Track slewed from platform

The railway past the station was still being used by trains to Ararat, so the tracks were slewed away from the platform, allowing construction to be completed without delaying V/Line services.

I also had a look at the Alstom workshops at North Ballarat, where the sidings were full of abandoned trains.

Stored Comeng cars 1109T and 533M at Alstom Ballarat

I found Comeng carriages 1109T and 533M showing plenty of accident damage; as well as classmate 671M stored in a stripped condition, minus windows, doors, cab front and who knows what else.

Comeng 671M stored at Alstom Ballarat

Comeng carriage 671M was eventually made part of a new MFB training facility at Craigieburn in 2014, while 1109T and 533M were scrapped in 2010.

I also found Hitachi carriages 204M and 203M.

Hitachi cars 204M and 203M stored at Alstom Ballarat

Both scrapped in 2010.

But there was also signs of new life – Hitachi carriage 225M was under refurbishment.

Hitachi 225M under refurbishment at Alstom Ballarat

It reentered service soon after, remaining in service until 2014.

Along with a number of Great Southern Rail carriages being upgraded for use on the Indian Pacific and The Ghan services.

Indian Pacific carriages under overhaul at Alstom Ballarat

They also saw use on the ultra expensive Southern Spirit service that operated between 2010 and 2012.

But we end some something I just stumbled upon – the abandoned Joe White Maltings factory at Wendouree.

Overview of the silos from the north-west side

The factory itself had already been demolished, with the silos meeting the same fate in 2010. Houses now occupy the site.


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

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5 Responses to “Photos from ten years ago: September 2008”

  1. Mark says:

    Iluka’s plant is 80km outside Portland. That is, 5km out of Hamilton. It would be like calling Corio, outside Melbourne.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      That was a brain fart on my part – the train itself ran from Portland to Melbourne, the loaded containers being moved from Hamilton to Portland by road, due to the lack of a rail loading facility at the time.

  2. Paul Westcott says:

    It’s misleading to say that since 2008 in Geelong, Public Transport Victoria livery has been applied to buses. Although all CDC buses have had PTV livery applied, which seems to be CDC company policy, *not one * McHarry’s bus sports the PTV livery, which is obviously that company’s policy.

    As well, McHarry’s has enthusiastically embraced vinyl wrap adverting on their buses, which annoys passengers and covers their own livery. The reason isn’t hard to discover – McHarry’s is half-owner of “Big Bus Media”:

    • Marcus Wong says:

      Thanks for the correction – it seems an odd turn of history that McHarry’s held onto the GTS livery for so long, yet have rejected the change to the PTV livery.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      As for bus advertising, it’s interesting to compare the advertisements on the buses around Victoria.

      Melbourne buses usually have adverts for national or international brands, while the buses in Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo only seem to advertise two bit companies that only people in a specific suburb would know about – pubs, car dealers, home improvements, real estate agents, housing estates, and so on.

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