Photos from ten years ago: August 2009

Another instalment in my photos from ten years ago series – this time it is August 2009.

Lots of construction

On the Craigieburn line, a new $38 million railway station was taking shape at Coolaroo.

Lift wells and supports for the footbridge at Coolaroo

While at Craigieburn the second platform was being prepared for the use of suburban trains.

Work on electrifying the up line at Craigieburn

Both projects were originally intended to be part of the Craigieburn Rail Project completed in 2007, but descoped to a lack of funds.

Down on the Werribee line the $92.6 project to add a third platform to Laverton station was well underway.

Most of the piers for the new platform in place

The old ramp was ready to be demolished.

Existing ramp to the footbridge

To be replaced by a steep set of stairs, and unreliable lifts that are too small to take an ambulance stretcher.

Base of the footbridge above the island platform

Work was also well underway on the new footbridge at Footscray station, with the site cleared.

Cleared area beside platform 4

And the first bridge span waiting to be lifted into place.

First part of the new footbridge waiting to be lifted into place

And a short distance away at Sunshine a different rail bridge was under construction.

Span over the suburban tracks not yet in place

Three spans already in place, work on relocating power lines

Costing $15 million, the 8 span 220 metres long ‘Brooklyn Sunshine Triangle Bridge‘ enabled freight services from the north and west of Victoria to pass through Melbourne, removing the need for trains to stop at Tottenham Yard and reverse direction.

Regional Rail Link kicks off

August 27 saw the media circus roll into Southern Cross Station, as state and federal politicians turned the first sod for the Regional Rail Link project.

A few media, and a lot of minders

The crowd of minders having arrived an hour earlier, including a construction worker charged with making sure the pile driver was spotless.

Making the pile driver sparking clean

The politicians and media scrum had to make their way through the old Spencer Street subway.

Headed into the subway

Where they emerged at the future platform 15/16.

Pollies emerge from the subway

Victorian Premier John Brumby, Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and Victorian Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky were there.

Brumby arrives to the TV cameras

Where they slowly raised and lowered a pile driver head.

Pile driver on the way down, very slowly

I also headed out to Wyndham Vale, where a long empty strip of land marked the site of the future station.

Looking south towards Greens Road and Geelong

Dennis Family Homes, developer of the Manor Lakes estate, couldn’t believe their luck – their advertised ‘transport link’ was actually happening.

Initially planned for the 'Middle Ring Road' (Melway 2007) it will now be for a railway

The new line opened to passengers in June 2015.

Around Melbourne and Geelong

At first glance Southern Cross Station didn’t look that different, with promotional stands blocking the main entrance.

Honda advertising stand in the station concourse

But from up top the view was different – one could enjoy a drink in the bar, as late evening commuters trickle in.

Some enjoy a drink in the bar, as late evening commuters trickle in

The bar and food count on level 1 of the Collins Street concourse closed in 2011, replaced by a Woolworths supermarket.

Out in the boondocks of Campbellfield I crossed over the Western Ring Road onboard an Upfield line train.

Western Ring Road Greensborough bound at Sydney Road

The freeway has gone from six to eight lanes, upgraded by the ‘Tulla Sydney Alliance’ in May 2013 but the railway line is still single track, despite the removal of the nearby Camp Road level crossing in 2018.

While on the western edge of Geelong I drove out to the newly developed ‘Highview Estate’ in Highton, where houses were taking over the Barrabool Hills.

Sunset over spreading suburbia

Today the fields are covered with houses, with many of the residents probably driving to Melbourne for work via the recently completed Geelong Ring Road.

And a few trains

August 2009 saw me take a ride around suburban Melbourne with Steamrail Victoria, with our seam train visiting Cranbourne, Upfield, Craigieburn and Williamstown.

D3 waiting to lead the train out of Cranbourne

I also followed a Connex Melbourne train through the open countryside of the Ballarat line.

Arriving into Bank Box

The train was bound for the Alstom Ballarat workshops for upgrades to the passenger information and CCTV systems.

893M leads through Lydiard Street

Also in Ballarat I found two accident damaged Comeng suburban trains.

Comeng cars 1109T and 533M still stored

Both have since been scrapped – carriage 1109T having been damaged in the 2002 Epping collision while carriage 553M was destroyed by fire in 2002.

And to finish – we see the Maryvale paper train waiting at North Dynon, before another trip east.

Loaded container wagons at North Dynon for the Maryvale train

And another load of grain headed west from Geelong, with a rainbow overhead.

Last WGBY wagon departs Gheringhap, with a rainbow overhead


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

Freight trains through Flinders Street Station

Flinders Street Station isn’t just the hub of Melbourne’s suburban network, but also a key route for rail freight.

Life extension EDI Comeng 378M arrives into Flinders Street platform 9

Early in the morning, a load of gravel heads east to the Hanson concrete plant at Westall.

Down V/Line service arrives at Sunshine, as the up Apex train waits for a signal across to Brooklyn

After morning peak the train returns, headed back to the quarry a Kilmore East for another load.

G512 leads the up empty Apex train from Westall through Flinders Street track 9A

Just before lunchtime the southbound steel train passes through, headed for the Bluescope steel mill at Hastings.

Coil steel wagons leading butterbox containers on the down Long Island steel train

After lunch, a load of containers rolls through bound for the Port of Melbourne.

Qube containers roll through Flinders Street track 9A on the up Maryvale paper train

The freight trains cease for the evening peak, and passenger trains take over.

Busy times at Flinders Street platform 6

But after suburban service frequencies drop, the freights start rolling again – first the return steel train, bound for the Melbourne Freight Terminal.

BL29 and G541 leads the up steel train through Flinders Street track 9A

And then the return Maryvale paper train, headed back to Gippsland

VL356 leads VL360 on the down Maryvale paper train through Flinders Street Station

Which tracks do freight trains use

There are ten ‘through’ platforms at Flinders Street Station – platform 11 no longer exists, platform 12 and 13 are extensions of platform 10, and platform 14 is out of use.

New schematic diagram of Flinders Street Station on display for passengers

But there are a total of 12 through tracks – the extras being track 1A between platform 1 and 2.

X'Trapolis 147M arrives into Flinders Street platform 1

And track 9A between platforms 9 and 10.

Siemens train heads along track 9A bound for platform 12, with another train waiting in platform 10

Freight trains are usually routed via track 9A, but they will occasionally be seen passing through platforms 7 through 9, depending on what other trains are running.

Road trains carting rubbish across Melbourne

Last week the Monash Freeway was closed for hours thanks to a crash between two massive trucks and four cars, that thankfully resulted in no serious injuries. But for me the interesting part was the truck stuck in the middle of the pile-up – a massive A-double truck operated by Cleanaway.

Cleanaway started operating their fleet of massive A-Double trucks from May 2017, following the opening of the South East Melbourne Transfer Station in Dandenong.

Outside Cleanaway's South East Melbourne Transfer Station in Dandenong South

The facility acts as a consolidation point for rubbish collected from residential and commercial customers in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, where it is compressed into semi-trailers.

Cleanaway rubbish truck on the West Gate Freeway in Brookyln en-route returning to the South East Melbourne Transfer Station in Dandenong from the Melbourne Regional Landfill at Ravenhall

Then trucked 60 kilometres across Melbourne.

Cleanaway rubbish truck on the West Gate Freeway in Brookyln en-route returning to the South East Melbourne Transfer Station in Dandenong from the Melbourne Regional Landfill at Ravenhall

Eventually ending up at Ravenhall, where it is dumped into the Melbourne Regional Landfill.

Cleanaway semi-trailer return after dumping another load at the Ravenhall tip

On opening the South East Melbourne transfer station accepted a total of 580,000 tonnes of waste per annum, and has EPA approval to increase to a peak of 650,000 tonnes by 2029.

Assuming 286 operational weekdays per year, this means 2028 tonnes of rubbish needs to be moved per day – increasing to 2273 tonnes per day once the transfer station reaches design capacity.

Transported by A-double vehicles with an average load of 43 tonnes per truck, this give as weekday average of 47 trucks per day, increasing to 53 trucks per day at the peak – or six trucks per hour!

Cleanaway A-double truck heads through the rain, returning to Dandenong South for another load of rubbish from the South East Melbourne Transfer Station

No wonder pedestrians avoid the road to Caroline Springs station like the plague.

One hardy passenger walks along the narrow footpaths to reach Caroline Springs station

A short history of these ‘monster’ trucks

Back in 2009 VicRoads commenced a two year trial of bigger ‘High Productivity Freight Vehicles’ serving the Port of Melbourne.

'High Productivity Freight Vehicle' at the Port of Melbourne

But with plans to introduce them elsewhere:

The use of next generation High Productivity Freight Vehicles (HPFVs) on key dedicated routes has the potential to reduce the number of trucks by almost a third, and reduce emissions and the cost of travel by up to 22 per cent on these routes.

With Victoria’s freight task forecast to approximately double by 2030, next generation HPFVs will be an important way to mitigate increasing congestion, emissions and the cost of our goods.

The trial of next generation HPFVs is an important step in the implementation of a Performance-Based Standards approach to heavy vehicle regulation in Victoria and the broader introduction of new, safe and efficient freight vehicles.

In 2013 the number of roads available to these massive trucks was expanded, following the adoption of the ‘Moving More with Less’ plan, and the types of trucks expanded to include 30-metre long A-doubles in 2017 thanks to the Performance Based Standard (PBS) scheme for trailers.

Midfield Meats A-double refrigerated truck displaying 'Road Train' signage on Kororoit Creek Road in Laverton North

But is there another way?

Travelling from the Cleanaway transfer station at Dandenong South to the tip at Ravenhall is a 60 kilometre long trip across Melbourne, that takes around an hour via the Monash Freeway, CityLink, West Gate Bridge, Western Ring Road, and Deer Park Bypass.

But the Boral quarry next door to the Ravenhall tip already has a railway siding.

T373 and T369 stabled at the Boral siding at Deer Park

Which branches off the Ballarat line at Caroline Springs station.

VLocity VL48 leads a classmate past the new Caroline Springs station

With just a 1.3 kilometre drive between it and the tip.

The South East Melbourne Transfer Station is also near a rail siding.

Disused cement siding at Lyndhurst

Located on the Cranbourne line at Lyndhurst.

EDI Comeng on a down Cranbourne service passes the disused cement siding at Lyndhurst

It may be a 7 kilometre long drive across Dandenong South.

But the siding is the site of a future inland port:

Salta’s Lyndhurst terminal is located near Dandenong
• 50,000 m/3 warehouse constructed for Bunnings
• Terminal yet to be constructed
• PRS shuttle trains would use:
• Broad gauge Pakenham & Cranbourne suburban rail lines
• Broad gauge V/Line & ARTC lines between Southern Cross and the Port

So why wasn’t the South East Melbourne Transfer Station built at the Lyndhurst intermodal terminal, with rubbish loaded into containers then transferred by train across Melbourne to Ravenhall, then trucked the last leg of the journey to the tip face?

Sydney proves it works

In 2004 Sydney ran out of space to bury their rubbish, so the Woodlawn open-cut mine near Goulburn was converted into a rubbish tip. Rubbish is loaded at the Clyde transfer station in western Sydney, but instead of a fleet of trucks, it is loaded onto a train.

Each week six 55-carriage trains make the 250-kilometre journey, carrying 1200 tonnes of rubbish each time.

And back to Melbourne

Think moving bulk freight across Melbourne by rail won’t work?

Well, every weekday 1500 tonnes worth of worth of gravel roll through Flinders Street, loaded at a quarry in Kilmore East and bound for Westall.

Empty wagons on the Westall to Kilmore East run at Southern Cross

As does 2000 tonnes of containers headed from Gippsland to the Port of Melbourne.

Up Maryvale train rolls through Flinders Street Station

And 3000 tonnes of coil steel, headed for Hastings.

Coil steel wagons leading butterbox containers on the down Long Island steel train

All three trains have been running since the 1970s – which proves that if there is a will to get freight onto rail, there is a way.


Melbourne Regional Landfill – Ravenhall.

Bigger trucks.

Rubbish trains in Sydney.

My Open House Melbourne 2019 round up

I can’t remember the last time that I did the rounds of Open House Melbourne, let alone upload the photos I took, but this year I decided to pull my finger out and do something about it!

First stop – the MIRRAT terminal at Webb Dock.

Looking down on 'Victorian Reliance II', 'Hercules Leader' and 'Trans Future 6' at Webb Dock

Where every car in Victoria is now unloaded.

Unloading cars from 'Trans Future 6' at Webb Dock

Up to the top of the Melbourne GPO, at the DesignInc architecture studio.

Looking down on the H&M store at the Melbourne GPO

Emporium Melbourne, riding a 25 tonne truck hoist 12 metres down into the basement.

Riding the 25 tonne Safetech truck hoist 12 metres down into the basement at Emporium Melbourne

And then up to the fifth floor, to see the empty void behind the Myer Lonsdale Street store facade.

Empty room on the reverse side of the retained 11-storey Lonsdale Street store facade

Watching passing trains from the ‘Signal’ youth arts centre.

Watching passing trains from the 'Signal' youth arts centre

And finally – Australia 108, where a room full of diesel powered fire water pumps occupy level 42.

Fire water pumps on the level 42 plant room of Australia 108

More photos still to some – though I wonder how long it will take me to upload them!

The Coles Supermarket with no customers

Next door to East Richmond station is car park full of Coles delivery trucks. The nearest Coles supermarket is a few blocks away at the former Dimmeys store – so why are the trucks there?

Coles Supermarket delivery trucks parked outside the Richmond South 'dark' store

I found four in this row.

Coles Supermarket delivery trucks parked outside the Richmond South 'dark' store

A few more here.

Coles Supermarket delivery trucks parked outside the Richmond South 'dark' store

And over there.

Coles Supermarket delivery trucks parked outside the Richmond South 'dark' store

Outnumbering the cars!

Coles Supermarket delivery trucks parked outside the Richmond South 'dark' store

But on the other side was the reason for the trucks – a nondescript loading dock.

Loading docks at the Coles Supermarket Richmond South 'dark' store

The only branding being a big red “Click & Collect” sign the sole doorway, which gives away the owner – Coles!

'Click and Collect' window at the Coles Richmond South 'dark' store

In June 2016 the Sydney Morning Herald explained the logic behind this ‘secret’ supermarket.

Wesfarmers-owned Coles is testing its first online-only store in inner-city Melbourne as it pushes to drive volumes in online sales, which have jumped 25 per cent this year alone.

Coles boss John Durkan said the chain planned to roll out one or two more of the so-called “dark stores”, which have a dedicated team picking stock for online customers.

Mr Durkan said the idea was to test if Coles could become more efficient in handling online shopping and avoid clogging up the supermarket aisles with the bulky online order trolleys.

The online-only outlet was opened in April at a former Coles site in Richmond, and serves customers living within about five kilometres, taking in some of Melbourne’s most densely populated suburbs.

So what’s inside? Issue 7 of ‘Coles Supply Chain’ magazine had an article on the store.

In April 2016 Coles opened their first-ever stand alone online ‘dark store’ in Richmond South, catering for Coles Online customers living within a five kilometre radius of the store.

Although there are no customers walking the aisles, the store is setup exactly as a normal shop would be and has a team of approximately 150 staff, including more than 50 Customer Service Agents dedicated to delivering orders.

Measuring more than 2650 square metres, the store layout has been specifically designed for increased picking efficiency, with a dedicated cool-room for picking chilled products and a bulk pick area for fast-moving products.

The store has five loading bays, providing the capacity to efficiently fill and dispatch a feet of vans throughout the day.

As well as a photo of the bulk pick area.

Coles photograph

Navigating supermarket aisles is a pain in the arse at the best of times – let alone keeping the shelves faced up! So a dedicated ‘pick and pack’ venue makes a lot of sense for a supermarket chain.


In February 2015 the original Coles Supermarket next to East Richmond station was replaced by the current store at ‘Richmond Icon’, which freed up the site for the current ‘dark’ store.

In August 2017 the store was part of a trial where Uber drivers supplemented Coles delivery vans to make same-day deliveries of items that were missing from online orders.