Photos from ten years ago: February 2011

Another instalment in my photos from ten years ago series – this time it is February 2011.

Porno bookshop on Flinders Street, closed down for good?

Rails out west

We start outside Footscray, where I captured a V/Line train sharing the suburban tracks on the way to the city.

N451 leads an up train ex-Geelong out of Footscray

In 2010 it was announced that Regional Rail Link would expand the cutting from four to six tracks, with V/Line trains from Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat moving onto their own tracks in stages between 2014 and 2015.

And a few kilometres away I found route 82 trams passing Highpoint Shopping Centre, where platform stops had recently been built.

Route 82 terminating at the end of the reserved track in Maribyrnong, due to platform stop construction work at the Footscray terminus

A decade on the elderly Z3 class trams still ply the route, forcing intending passengers to climb a flight of stairs to board.

At Southern Cross Station I found The Southern Spirit – a luxury rail cruise train operated by Great Southern Rail around the east coast of Australia, using carriages normally seen on The Ghan.

A shorter train this time: NR51 manages to fit into the platform without fouling the signal

The service ran in January 2010, January 2011 and February 2012 before being discontinued, however it was revived in 2019 as the Great Southern.

Late one night I found this pair of diesel locomotives making their way to Flemington Racecourse, Craigieburn and Williamstown – a driver training run to ensure that the train crew remained qualified on the routes.

Headlights on, T376 ready to depart Williamstown

Works trains continue to run over the Melbourne network, but now operated by Southern Shorthaul Railroad.

And at the Alstom Ballarat factory I found dozens of carriages wrapped in plastic – brand new X’Trapolis suburban trains waiting to be fitted out for use on the Melbourne network.

At least five 3-car X'Trapolis sets waiting fitout at UGR Ballarat

The final X’Trapolis train was delivered in 2020, leaving the Alstom Ballarat plant mothballed.

Building stuff

2011 saw work on the South Morang Rail Extension well underway, featuring the construction of 3.5km double track railway from Epping to South Morang, three new stations, and duplication of 5km of existing single track between Keon Park and Epping,

One night at Keon Park I captured a works train headed out to the works site.

T376 and T369 arrive into Keon Park on the rail train

Loaded with long lengths of freshly welded rail to form the new tracks.

Headed into the occupation towards Epping

Work on the project commenced in June 2010, with the extension to South Morang opening on April 2012.

On the road front, the $48.5 million Kororoit Creek Road duplication project was underway, including the removal of the level crossing at Altona North.

Earthern approach ramp underway at the west end

Work on the project was completed in December 2011.

And $200 million was being spent on the Anthony’s Cutting upgrade to the Western Freeway.

New road overpass at Hopetoun Park Road

Requiring a massive cutting was excavated west of Bacchus Marsh.

New stretch of the Western Freeway, westbound at Hopetoun Park Road

The upgraded freeway opened to traffic in June 2011.

And screw ups

Down at Caroline Springs, work had started on the access road to the future railway station.

Access road under construction to the site of the new station

But that is as far as the project went for years – work on the station was paused until 2015, with the access road needing to be rebuilt to suit the updated plans.

One morning at Ascot Vale I was unable to reach the railway station – the pedestrian subway had flooded!

Flooded subway at Ascot Vale: is it really that hard to maintain drains?

Thankfully newer stations in Melbourne don’t have the same problem – they keep the water off the tracks by pushing it back onto neighbouring streets.

Another day I was down at Yarraville station, where only a level crossing links the platforms. With trains running every 10 minutes the boom gates spend more time down than up, leaving passengers waiting and waiting, as the train they intend to catch prevents them from accessing the platform.

The level crossing finally opens at Yarraville, letting the passengers past

In the years since nothing has changed – there have been campaigns to reopen the pedestrian underpass, but the Level Crossing Removal Authority has no plans to touch the crossing.

And finally – the Siemens train braking saga. A spate of incidents in 2009 saw an investigation launched.

Since its introduction, the Siemens train has been involved in a relatively high number of reported overrun events when compared to other types of train operating on the network. The six platform overruns between 8 February and 3 March 2009 suggested that systemic issues remained unresolved and triggered this investigation.

The chosen fix – equipment to drop sand on the tracks.

Sandbox, control equipment and discharge hose beneath a Siemens train

The equipment was first trialled in March 2010, with installation across the fleet commencing in September 2010. By June 2011 the roll-out was complete, and speed restrictions removed.

A few buses

A decade ago bus routes still ran down Flinders Street in the Melbourne CBD.

Route 605 was one of them.

Eastrans #126 rego 8016AO at the route 605 terminus at Flinders Street Station

rerouted in 2017 to travel via Queen Street and Flagstaff station, as part of a package of changes made due to Metro Tunnel works at Domain Interchange.

And the other was route 238.

National Bus #545 rego 5841AO on a route 238 service along Flinders Street beside the Viaduct

The route was discontinued in 2014, replaced by route 235, 237, 234 and 236 services between Fishermans Bend and the CBD.

And finally… ding ding!

In 2011 retired W class tram SW6.969 was converted into a bar and parked outside the Arts Centre.

SW6.969 converted in a bar, located outside the Arts Centre

It reappeared every summer as ‘Tram Bar’ until it was closed permanently in January 2015.

Footnote

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

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3 Responses to “Photos from ten years ago: February 2011”

  1. Steve says:

    What do you think a grade-separated solution at Yarraville would look like? I’d be run out of town by the locals but I’d suggest closing Anderson St to through traffic. However getting a DDA-compliant pedestrian crossing there is problematic I think.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      My thoughts are much the same as yours – closed Anderson Street to cars, and put a nice wide pedestrian ramp from either end towards an short tunnel beneath the tracks.

  2. Benjamin Rayner says:

    No we need a competent government who provides free will on every project

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