Photos from ten years ago: November 2012

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

Sparks to Sunbury

We start the month at Sunbury station, which was in the final days of being a station only served by V/Line trains.

P14 and P11 waiting in platform 2 at Sunbury, before returning to Melbourne

Upgraded as part of the Sunbury Electrification Project, the new overhead wires had been installed, but Metro Trains had yet to take over the operation of the rail service.

P11 arrives into Diggers Rest with an up push-pull from Sunbury

But at Diggers Rest station the toilets were locked up tight – a ‘closed due to staff shortage’ sign a forerunner of the complete abandonment of the station building when it was handed over to Metro.

Sign at the waiting room entrance - 'Diggers Rest station closed due to staff shortage'

The first electric trains carried passengers to Sunbury on Sunday 18 November 2012, with the country platforms at Southern Cross receiving ‘Sunbury trains depart from platform 11’ signage to redirect passengers who previously had to catch V/Line services.

'Sunbury trains depart from platform 11' signs on the country platforms at Southern Cross

However Sunbury passengers were still allowed to use V/Line trains to travel to Melbourne, as an exception to usual V/Line travel rules, which was withdrawn in 2015, only to be backflipped on soon after.

Forgotten trains

One warm autumn evening I captured a Hitachi train heading through Ascot Vale bound for Craigieburn.

Hitachi 299M leads a down Craigieburn train at Ascot Vale

It took until December 2013 until the last one was finally withdrawn from revenue service.

And on a hot Sunday afternoon I made my way to the dustbowl that was the old Rockbank station…

Not much at Rockbank station...

Waiting for sixty year old V/Line locomotive A62 to lead a 10 car long train of similarly aged carriages from Melbourne to Bacchus Marsh, ready to form two commuter trains the next morning back to Melbourne.

A62 leads the carriage transfer through Rockbank

These now 70 year old locomotives were eventually retired from V/Line service, but the carriages are still in use today, including occasional trips to Shepparton, Warrnambool and Swan Hill thanks to incompetent V/Line management.

But one upside – Rockbank got a modern new station in 2019.

The Myki rollout drags on

My 10 years ago series keeps on bringing up the extended saga that was the Myki rollout, and this month is no different.

One morning I was greeted by every single Myki gate at Flagstaff station being completely dead, forcing passengers to trudge through the pair of remaining Metcard ‘Frankenbarrier’ gates.

Middle of morning peak, the Myki gates at Flagstaff station are completely dead

Defective Myki readers onboard trams were an even more common sight – this one was stuck in a reboot loop, giving a stack trace from the open source ‘log4net‘ library.

Error message on a Myki FPD stuck in a reboot loop

But still the rollout pressed on – ‘Myki Mates’ deployed to CBD tram stops to assist passengers making the switch from Metcard.

Myki Mates at the Swanston and Collins Street tram stop

And ‘Myki is the only ticket you can use from 29th December’ posters covered the public transport network.

'Myki is the only ticket you can use from 29th December' poster on tram Z1.95

Thankfully in the decade since these drams are mostly forgotten, as the system “just works”.

Ding ding on the trams

I paid a visit to Preston Workshops, where I found an aging W class tram parked outside the sheds.

SW6.870 sitting outside road 13

The entire complex has since been redeveloped as New Preston Depot to run services on route 11, 86 and 96; but the W class trams haven’t been as lucky – they’ve just been dumped in a paddock at Newport Workshops.

I also wandered down to Ascot Vale for Stakes Day at Flemington Racecourse, and found a row of stabled trams at ‘Showgrounds Loop’, awaiting the flood of drunken racegoers wanting to kick on in the city.

D2.5005 leads a row of stabled trams at Showgrounds Loop for Stakes Day

Special trams continue to service major events at Flemington Racecourse and the Melbourne Showgrounds, but the service levels leave something to be desired.

Meanwhile on Sydney Road I found a pitiful scene – a high floor tram on route 19 stuck behind slow moving cars, fenced in by parked cars, a ‘dooring zone’ bike lane, and no platform stops.

B2.2066 heads north up Sydney Road at Glenlyon Road, Brunswick

The only difference today is you might find a low floor tram along Sydney Road – but with no platform stops on the 5.5 kilometre stretch between Brunswick Road and the Coburg North terminus, the service is just as inaccessible as ever.

And something different

Who remembers Melbourne Bike Share?

Trio of tourists head down Swanston Street with hired Melbourne Bike Share bikes and helmets

After years of little love from the public, it finally closed down in November 2019.

And finally, we close the month with a train ride on this dinky little train.

Only one carriage on the train this time

It’s running on the Kerrisdale Mountain Railway, a 2ft narrow gauge tourist railway running up a hill in the Tallarook Ranges outside Seymour.


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: November 2012”

  1. Kev says:

    “A ‘dooring zone’ bike pane”. Perhaps you mean “pain”?!

  2. Jake says:

    Since it has been a decade since the first Metro service to Sunbury, there has been major changes to various infrastructure over the years (and still there were some disruptions, this time as a result of the Sunbury Line Upgrade).

  3. […] think here I caught the same Flagstaff Myki gate outage that Marcus also captured (more dramatically) from another […]

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