Photos from ten years ago: April 2011

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

On the road to Ballarat

We start off on the Western Highway headed to Ballarat, where work was underway on the $200 million Anthony’s Cutting upgrade outside Melton.

Warning sign before Anthony's Cutting on the Western Freeway

The winding road over Djerriwarrh Creek was about to be bypassed.

Crossing Djerriwarrh Creek on the Western Highway at Anthony's Cutting

As well as the steep drop down into Bacchus Marsh.

Approaching Bacchus Marsh at Anthony's Cutting on the Western Freeway

The reason for my visit – another brand new X’Trapolis suburban train was about to leave the Alstom factory at Ballarat.

82M and 83M in the middle of the 6-car long set

So I followed it on the diesel locomotive-hauled delivery run to Melbourne.

Paralleling the main road at Yendon

Passing the abandoned bluestone station buildings of the Geelong-Ballarat railway.

Running through the station at Lal Lal

And the V/Line coach that now links the two cities.

Crossing the V/Line Geelong - Ballarat bus at Yendon

Today there are 210 X’Trapolis trains on the Melbourne network, the bulk of them delivered since 2009 to cope with surging patronage.

Another train I captured leaving Ballarat was 122 year old steam locomotive Y112.

Time for an inspection at Meredith

It was headed from the home base of Ballarat for Geelong, where it hauled a weekend worth of special trips for happy passengers.

Climbing towards North Geelong with Y112 leading

Level crossings and bridges

At Anglesea Road in Waurn Ponds, I found a new level crossing about to be opened.

Temporary level crossing at Anglesea Road, still to be opened

But it was only a temporary one – constructed to permit the grade separation of the level crossing as part of Stage 4A of the Geelong Ring Road.

You can replace a level crossing with a bridge, but at Separation Street in North Geelong motorists still find a way to crash onto the tracks.

Bridge railings after some dimwit drove off the bridge

In 2010 $3.2 million was spent to replace the Melbourne-bound parapets with a concrete wall, with the Geelong-bound lanes similarly upgraded in 2020 at a cost of $4.2 million.

And finally, on nearby Thompson Road I found a level crossing with no trains.

Thompson Road looking up across the level crossing

Part of the mothballed Fyansford line, the line lay idle for twenty years following the closure of the cement works in 2001, until it was finally pulled up in December 2011.

Scenes that are gone

Ding ding on La Trobe Street, my usual hackspot for capturing trains headed out of Southern Cross Station, but this month the interesting bit is behind this W class tram – a clear view of the old The Age offices, and National Bank House at 500 Bourke Street.

W7.1022 westbound on La Trobe Street

And in the other direction, Docklands Stadium.

SW6.928 passes a construction site on La Trobe Street

Today all you’ll see is a wall of apartment towers along Spencer Street, and the fire damaged Lacrosse building in the other.

I also headed out to the abandoned RAAF Williams base to capture passing trains.

Locos LDP001, LZ3101, LQ3122, DC2206 and LZ3103 approach Melbourne with some haze in the air

In 2010 the location was named as the site of the $86 million ‘Point Cook’ station, which opened in 2013 as Williams Landing, along with the extension of Palmers Road into the namesake housing estate.

And you thought insurance is boring?

The clock on top of the Mercer Street silos in Geelong hasn’t worked for years, but the thing I noticed was the ‘We Are Geelong’ billboard.

NIB advertising atop the Mercer Street silos in Geelong

Back in 2010 Newcastle-based for-profit health insurer NIB started sponsoring the Geelong Football Club, in an attempt to butter up locals pending their hostile takeover of Geelong-based mutual health fund GMHBA. The takeover was rejected, and NIB pissed off with their tail between their legs.

On the same insurance note, I also paid a visit to National Mutual Plaza on Collins Street.

Northern facade of the National Mutual Plaza, on Collins Street Melbourne

Once the home of Melbourne’s first rooftop restaurant, National Mutual was demutualised in 1996 and sold to AXA, with Suncorp Insurance having taken over the building.

A year later part of the facade fell from the tower, narrowly missing people down below. In 2014 demolition of the building was approved despite a pending heritage listing, with the ‘pantscraper‘ now occupying the site.


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

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4 Responses to “Photos from ten years ago: April 2011”

  1. Simon Storey says:

    Thanks Marcus, again a most enjoyable post.

  2. rohan storey says:

    National Mutual didnt have heritage listing – though it was on a list of 10 places that were proposed to.

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