Then and now at West Richmond station

Time for another railway themed ‘then and now’ post – this time at West Richmond station on the Mernda and Hurstbridge lines, circa 1905.


John Henry Harvey photo, SLV image H92.150-302

And today.

 X'Trapolis 184M arrives into West Richmond on the down

West Richmond station opened on 21 October 1901, along with the line from Princes Bridge station to Collingwood. However this section of railway is a little different to much of the Melbourne network…

The track

The first railway in the area opened in 1888, linking Victoria Park (then named Collingwood) and Heidelberg on what is now the Hurstbridge line.

However the route towards the city was different to today – trains had to take the ‘Inner Circle‘ towards Royal Park, where the joined the Upfield line.

A year later in 1889 a second railway opened from Victoria Park, running north to Whittlesea along the route now taken by the Mernda line. In the years the followed the railway to Heidelberg was extended north – to Eltham in 1902 and Hurstbridge in 1912.

The locomotive

The steam locomotive in the photo is a Victorian Railways M class – a 4-4-0T tank locomotive designed for hauling suburban passenger services.

The first example was acquired in 1879 from Beyer, Peacock & Co, with a further 21 locomotives built by the Phoenix Foundry of Ballarat between 1884 to 1886. Their coal bunker capacity limited their usefulness, so they were rebuilt at the Newport Workshops as 4-4-2T locomotives between 1901 and 1905.

However electrification of the Melbourne suburban network commenced soon after, sounding the death knell for the M class locomotives, the last of which was scrapped in 1922.

And what came later

With steam locomotives gone, electrification triggered new growth – the wires were strung as far as Reservoir and Heidelberg electrified by 1921, and extended to Eltham in 1923 and Hurstbridge in 1926. Further extensions were completed to Thomastown in 1929, Lalor in 1959, Epping in 1964, South Morang in 2012, and finally Mernda in 2018.

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3 Responses to “Then and now at West Richmond station”

  1. andrew says:

    I’d suggest it’s earlier that 1905 – the station building is being erected. It’s more likely to be very shortly after October 1901.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      Thanks for that – I didn’t pay enough attention to the station building. 😛

    • Paul Westcott says:

      Yes, the ballast and the platform wall look to be very clean, particularly given steam locomotive operation. The building on the up platform is still under construction.

      The photo might have been taken to record the new station. It all points to a date of October 1901.

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