Photos from ten years ago: May 2009

Another instalment in my photos from ten years ago series – this time it is May 2009.

We start over at Flinders Street Station, where Hitachi trains were still in service with then-suburban train operator Connex Melbourne.

Refurbished Hitachi awaiting departure from Flinders Street Station

Connex was replaced by Metro Trains Melbourne in November 2009, but the Hitachi trains hung on until December 2013.

Nearby signal box Flinders Street ‘A’ was being rebuilt as part of the ‘Signal’ youth arts centre.

Flinders Street A box being rebuilt

But around the corner was the abandoned trackbed of platform 11.

Looking east along the trackbed of platform 11

It has since been turned into the ‘Arbory’ bar, opened in 2015

We’ve been watching the construction at North Melbourne station for months now, and in May 2009 the temporary scaffolding was coming down, exposing the new concourse at the city end.

Half of the tracks for moving the roof into place now removed

Down near Moonee Ponds Creek I photographed a V/Line train headed out of the station.

N467 heads out of town at North Melbourne

Since Regional Rail Link opened in 2014 these tracks are only used by suburban trains, with V/Line now using their own tracks that bypass North Melbourne station entirely.

Once upon a time passenger trains all over Victoria once carried parcels as well as passengers, but in 2009 the ‘Green Star’ parcel service still operated using V/Line trains.

The last parcels traffic on V/Line - blood products

The public parcel service was wound up in 2010, but V/Line still continues transporting blood products for the Australian Red Cross Blood Service as part of a separate agreement.

Another much heavier freight task is the movement of steel products from the BlueScope Steel plant at Hastings, to the Melbourne Steel Terminal next door to Docklands.

8115 shunting butterboxes at the Melbourne Steel Terminal

A decade on the trains still run, this freight terminal no longer exists – the site was cleared in 2015 to make way for the ‘E’ Gate development, only for Transurban to acquire it in 2016 as part of the West Gate ‘Tunnel’ city access ramps.

Around the corner at the South Dynon depot, I found a 114 tonne diesel locomotive being lifted by a crane.

Trailer gone and ready to lower the loco

B64 originally entered service in 1952 and was in service with V/Line for 40 years until retired in 1992. It then went through a succession of owners who intended to restore it to service, but to naught – it’s currently dumped out the back of the railway workshops in Bendigo.

Another similarly aged locomotive is steam engine R761.

Finally arrived into Ballarat

It also entered service in 1952, but was withdrawn far earlier in 1974, but retained for use on special trains, such as this run to Ballarat.

The steep climb out of Bacchus Marsh drew quite a crowd.

Still climbing upgrade to Bank Box

As did the spin on the turntable on arrival at Ballarat.

R761 getting turned at Ballarat East

Along the way I stopped into the ghost town that was Rockbank station.

Another VLocity with a buck tooth - VL19 at Rockbank

The station is currently being upgraded as part of the Regional Rail Revival project, but there is nothing ‘regional’ about Rockbank – the new station is intended to serve sprawling new suburbs of Melbourne.

While I was up in Ballarat, I stumbled upon for the former Joe White Maltings plant in Wendouree.

Railway sidings parallel the main line towards Ararat

A complex series of conveyors and elevators once moved grain around the facility.

'Joe White Maltings barley intake system' diagram

But by the time I visited the plant had closed, bulk of the site having been demolished in 2006, leaving just the silos.

Overview of the partially cleared site

The site then lay empty, with the silos demolished in late-2010 after plans to convert them into apartments fell through.

We end down in Geelong, where I picked up a “Short Term Ticket”.

Short term cardboard myki ticket from a Geelong bus

They were a cardboard single use smartcard ticket, sold on buses in Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong following the introduction of Myki in 2009.

The rollout of short term tickets was cancelled by the Baillieu government in June 2011, acting on advice contained in a secret report by consultants Deloitte. Supposedly the continued rollout was cancelled because the cards cost $0.40 cents to manufacture – making up almost half of the $0.90 charged for a concession bus fare in Geelong!

Despite the objections of locals, the sale of two hour and daily short-term tickets ended in Geelong on Friday 19 April 2013.

Footnote

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

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