Photos from ten years ago: March 2012

Another instalment in my photos from ten years ago series – this time it is March 2012.

Trains

A decade ago the Melbourne CBD skyline as viewed from Ascot Vale was much shorter.

Alstom Comeng arrives into Ascot Vale, with the CBD skyline behind

As was that of Docklands viewed from North Melbourne station.

X41 leads X42 on the up train past North Melbourne station

A handful of Hitachi trains were still kicking about.

Hitachi 292M about to depart from Flinders Street platform 2

But a new inspection train had just entered service.

T377 trails the push-pull lashup

Commissioned following a spate of overhead wire failures., from a glass cupola atop the carriage, staff and video cameras onboard the carriage monitor how the pantograph tracks along the overhead wire.

Pantograph on IEV102 in the raised position

Going bush

I made up trip north to the Murray River at Echuca, and ran into four museum pieces hauling a freight train.

Crew change at Echuca station

And an equally antiquated signalling system at the junction station of Barnes.

Semaphore signals for down trains approaching Barnes

The four diesel locomotives were on hire from railway preservation groups.

Quad VR liveried locos haul the train on the down side of Barnes

I followed the train north, passing local wildlife.

T320 chasing down a fox (I didn't notice it in the shot until I got home)

Until we reached the Sunrice mill at Deniliquin, where the wagons were shunted into the plant for loading.

S313 and the rest of the locos pushing the empty wagons into the Sunrice plant

Rebuilding Footscray station

In 2012 work on the ‘Colander Bridge‘ at Footscray station had finally finished.

Grass knoll outside the Irving Street forecourt

But it was still surrounded by a sea of car parking.

Rather large car park along the Irving Street frontage of the station

Stretching all the way to Barkly Street.

I'd presume there are better used of land beside Footscray station than massive car parks

But work on Regional Rail Link was about to start.

Looking out over Footscray

The shops along Irving Street had been demolished to make way for two new platforms.

Looking back towards the shopping area over the cleared land

As had the service station at Hopkins Street.

Demolishing the former service station on the Hopkins / Irving Street corner

The shops along the Nicholson Street bridge.

Almost all of the shops on the eastern side gone

And even the trees along the rail cutting.

Cutting trees back on the north-west side of the cutting

A spot of luck on the trams

In March 2012 the Tramway Museum Society Of Victoria chartered ‘Royal TramZ3.185 to run a special tour around Melbourne. Along the way we paid a visit to Royal Park.

Photo line at Royal Park, waiting for a suburban train to pass over the top

And posed our tram for a cliché train over tram photo.

Cliché shot at Royal Park: a Siemens train passes over Z3.158

And parked at the end of the Footscray Road siding, a location passengers never visit.

Z3.158 beneath the big wheel at Footscray Road

In my travels I also paid a visit to Clifton Hill, and happened to catch a route 86 tram passing under a train bound for South Morang.

Passing beneath X'Trapolis 75M at Clifton Hill, B2.2010 heads into town with a route 86 service

Back in 2012 this shot at Domain Interchange was nothing special.

B2.2101 turns onto St Kilda Road from Domain Road at Domain Interchange

But this piece of tram track no longer exists – route 8 is now route 58, and the tram tracks disused – diverted via Toorak Road in 2017 to make way for the construction of Anzac station.

The tram restaurant was another unremarkable sight.

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant #4 (SW6.938) departs Port Junction on the dinner run

But no longer exists – the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant last ran in 2018 after Yarra Trams grounded their fleet, and there is no sign of a possible solution.

A decade ago City Circle trams were still in the maroon livery, and were running out of North Fitzroy depot on Nicholson Street.

Headed into service from North Fitzroy depot, W6.981 heads onto Nicholson Street

closed in 1993, but reopened in 2008-2012 to stable W class trams used on the City Circle while Southbank depot was undergoing refurbishment.

After months of inaction, work finally starting to happen on platform stops along Swanston Street.

D1.3502 passes the tram stop works on Swanston Street at Collins Street

Excavators having moved in to work on the platforms themselves.

Something resembling work on the Swanston Street platform stops

On route 86 some new platform stops along High Street, Northcote had been built.

B2.2103 on route 86 stops for passenger at one of the new platform stops on High Street, Northcote

But route 96 services along Nicholson Street would have to wait – fancy yellow low floor ‘Bumblebee’ trams plying their way along the tracks, but with no platform stops to board them.

C2.5103 'Bumblebee 3' on an outbound route 96 service stops outside the Melbourne Museum on Nicholson Street

The trams got a repaint in 2014, but building accessible tram stops had to wait until 2018.

And under “something things never change” we have the route 57 terminus at West Maribyrnong terminus – the same high floor Z3 class trams still run there today, stopping outside the abandoned explosives factory.

Z3.121 at the West Maribyrnong terminus, the defence establishment in the background

Buses

Ventura blue and National Bus yellow were the colours of the buses at North Fitzroy depot.

National Bus fleet stabled between peaks at the North Fitzroy depot

The operation became Transdev Melbourne in 2013, then refranchised to Kinetic Melbourne in 2022.

In 2012 SkyBus was still boasting “20 minutes to the airport“, with a fleet of articulated buses plying the Tullamarine Freeway.

SkyBus articulated bus #74 7487AO on the Tullamarine Freeway near Essendon Airport

They acquired their first Bustech “CDi” double deck bus in 2015, which now form the core of their airport fleet.

Out at Highpoint Shopping Centre I found a high floor bus operated by Westrans.

Westrans high floor bus #33 4927AO on a route 408 service at Highpoint Shopping Centre

Followed by a Melbourne Bus Link bus.

Melbourne Bus Link #401 5901AO on a route 223 service at Highpoint Shopping Centre

Melbourne Bus Link was merged into Transdev Melbourne in 2013, with Westrans rebranding as CDC Melbourne in 2014.

Finally, route 509 in Brunswick – a single minibus making the 2 kilometre long journey back and forth along Hope Street all day long.

A few minutes later, the westbound bus heads along Hope Street

I paid a visit because it was about to be discontinued, but despite how useless the service looked, locals appealed the decision, with the route eventually reinstated in 2016.

Emporium Melbourne

The big hole at Myer’s former Lonsdale Street store has featured in previous months.

One more bit to go, and it's all gone

And now it was complete.

Excavator at work next to the ever growing basement

The Lonsdale Street facade overlooking an empty hole.

Just a facade on Lonsdale Street

Exposing tunnels to neighbouring buildings.

A bit more work on the tunnel leading into the David Jones

And the other stuff

March 2012 was the F1 Australian Grand Prix, and the usual merchandise stalls were stinking up access to Southern Cross Station.

Yes, that is a shop erected in the *middle* of a staircase [headdesk]

Remember Melbourne Bike Share?

Ute transferring Melbourne Bike Share bikes between stations

Since people can return their bike anywhere, leading to some stations becoming full and others empty, so management needed to drive around Melbourne rebalance bikes between the stations.

After years of lacklustre usage, the system was finally shut down in November 2019.

Out at Airport West I strolled past the Tullamarine Freeway.

Tullamarine Freeway at English Street

Back then six lanes squeezed under the bridge at English Street, but in 2017 the bridge was rebuilt to allow eight to pass under, as part of CityLink Tulla Widening stage 2.

And finally – the Racecourse Hotel all boarded up in Flemington.

Racecourse Hotel all boarded up in Flemington

Next door to the roundabout with trams passing through the middle.

Z3.180 on a route 57 service passes through the middle of the roundabout at Epsom and Racecourse Roads, Flemington

Abandoned since at least 2009, an arson attack in June 2012 destroyed the hotel, with the 22-storey apartment tower ‘ONLY Flemington’ now occupying the site.

Footnote

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

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2 Responses to “Photos from ten years ago: March 2012”

  1. Jake says:

    Although the Colander bridge at Footscray Station looks more of a modern feature, they have demolished the front entrance at Irving Street just one year later when the RRL project took place. (Wonder if such structures could have been future-proofed in the first instance.)

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