This might become a regular series. Following my posting of old photos from when I first got my digital camera, here’s a batch from early and mid-May 2003.
This building next to the Orica building in Nicholson Street (near the corner of Lonsdale) looks like it’s two-dimensional, at least from some angles. Worth a look in person if you’re around that area.
Around this time, Yarra Trams were removing large numbers of seats from B-class trams. In this photo for the PTUA’s “BYO Seat” campaign, John checks the time of the next tram, seat at the ready.
Finally, here is my desk at work, back in 2003. Probably tidier than today. To the right you can see my old organiser/diary. These days I tend to put my appointments into Google Calendar, and sync them to my phone.
The Phase 2 Report from the High Speed Rail study was released last week — predicting that although HSR would cover its recurrent (running/maintenance) costs, it’d first take some $114 billion and 45 years to build it.
As I’ve said before, I think a 3-ish hour trip from Melbourne to Sydney would be time-competitive with flying.
$114 billion is obviously an incredible cost, and taking decades to build it is a totally unambitious timeframe. I’m sure if you outsourced it to those who have built such lines elsewhere, they could get it running much more quickly and cheaply. Or if they got tough on the airlines and proclaimed a forced heavy future reduction in emissions, and particularly if oil prices skyrocket and a second Sydney airport is put on hold, they could coax Qantas and Virgin into the railways business.
(It’s interesting that much of the debate since the report was released has ignored emissions issues, and focussed on the benefits to existing rail passengers, not those currently travelling by air.)
But even if you assume it could be built quicker and cheaper, the question is: should one heed the calls of the optimists and start building it now? Or follow the cynics who say it’s all too expensive, that we don’t have the population, and we should forget it?
I’m not sure. Fact is, across the country, there are probably a lot more important infrastructure projects that need building first. That money (even if you assumed it could be built for half that cost) could solve a lot of other problems.
And realistically, the political and economic climate means there’s no hope of it being built right now.
All that said, it seems prudent to plan and protect a corridor. It’s not overly expensive to work out a detailed alignment and preserve it from incompatible land development. This does little harm and ensures we can move forward if and when circumstances change and/or the time is right.
This is a must. Not doing so — even if actual construction work isn’t to start in the foreseeable future — could make it impossible for it to ever happen later.
- Insiders on High Speed Rail — a great watch
Flin der Street
Victoria Park and Clifton Hill (of course!)
and his brother Wes Tona
Dennis and Chelsea!
I wonder how many people notice gems like this, high up above our streets. It’s on a building on William Street, between Collins and Bourke.
The Victorian Government is pushing ahead with reform in emergency and disaster management.
I can’t say I know a lot about it, but one reform that I’ve long thought they should consider is a re-drawing of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade/Country Fire Authority boundaries.
They simply don’t make sense. The CFA covers large areas of outer-suburban Melbourne, including Springvale, Dandenong and Frankston. It’s as if the boundaries were set 50 years ago and not updated since:
My understanding is that — in contrast to “typical” regional CFA stations staffed by volunteers, the suburban stations are run similar to the MFB, with largely paid workforces.
Surely it would make sense to reform the boundaries, and bring all urban fire fighters and facilities under the MFB, with the CFA specialising in regional non-urban areas, and training and equipping their volunteers?
Or is that all too simplistic?
The other one that’s similar is the metropolitan taxi zone; some parts of Melbourne are off in a separate zone, which apparently makes life difficult for some. We might find out if this is set to change when the Taxi Industry Inquiry report is released by the government — expected later today. The draft report did talk about zone reform.
Along Little Bourke Street, in the block between Queen and William Streets, are a couple of stunning buildings.
According to iOS6 maps, North Melbourne station is in South Melbourne, Collingwood Station is in the CBD
In the Apple Store at Southland the other day, I noticed they had all the iDevices maps set to satellite.
It wasn’t hard to see why — it took all of a minute or two to find some glaring errors in the street maps. It’s not just that tram lines are completely missing; they’ve put whole railway stations in the wrong suburbs.
It’s been well over a month since iOS6 was released… I wonder how long it’ll take them to fix this stuff?
How do mistakes like this even happen?
Something I never noticed until yesterday — in an obscure building in Little Bourke Street are the consulates of Malawi and Moldova. Who knew?
I wonder how many visitors they get. Bet the security isn’t as strict as at the US Embassy, where you have to place virtually all your belongings in a locker before going through metal detectors to get in.