Caulfield to Dandenong skyrail nears completion

Now that the new Noble Park station (aka “Area 3” of the Caulfield to Dandenong “skyrail”) is open, what of the rest of the project?

It’s moving fast. “Area 2” in the Clayton area is coming along, and a rail line closure from the 3rd to the 15th of April will allow construction workers to hook up the new elevated section and get Clayton station opened.

This will remove the crossings at Clayton Road and Centre Road. Clayton Road in particular will bring huge benefits by improving safety and cutting delays — for passengers trying to get to/from the station, for ambulances going to/from Monash Medical Centre, motorists, cyclists…

Clayton station

Clayton station under construction

Importantly, grade separation at Clayton Road will also markedly cut delays for buses. Three routes currently cross the rail line here, often suffering delays due to train delays keeping the boom gates closed, or faults. All three are quite long routes, so this will bring benefits to bus passengers right across the east and south-east of Melbourne.

  • 631 – Southland – Waverley Gardens via Clayton, Monash University
  • 703 – Middle Brighton – Blackburn via Bentleigh, Clayton, Monash University
  • 733 – Oakleigh – Box Hill via Clayton, Monash University, Mt Waverley

703 buses

The 703 is also my local bus route. Twice this month I’ve spotted two buses arriving at once at Bentleigh in morning peak, meaning one was delayed at least 15 minutes. (Clayton may be the worst crossing it encounters, but it’s not the only one; this bus route also crosses the Sandringham line at the North Brighton level crossing.)

Bus/train interchange will also be easier at Clayton, as northbound buses will use a service road which means passengers no longer have to cross multiple roads to between bus stops and the station. (This won’t be the case for buses at the other rebuilt stations.)

So by the time the Easter school holidays are finished, the new Clayton station should be open, with trains running above Clayton and Centre Roads.


Meanwhile in “Area 1” (Caulfield to Hughesdale), the straddle carrier is expected to have finished by the time you read this.

The main reason it’s been used to build the elevated railway in this section is because of the lack of space in the rail corridor – which is also why this section has been so controversial.

Courtesy of the Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRA), I got to go up onto the elevated structure and take a closer look at the straddle carrier last Tuesday, along with various other advocates, bloggers and stakeholders.

Daniel at Murrumbeena Station under construction (Pic: LXRA)

The big blue things towering above the rail line (behind me on the left) are gantry cranes, designed to lift the pre-built sections of elevated structure up off the ground, to where the straddle carrier (on the right) can get them.

From there, the carrier drives along the existing structure, to where the new sections are lowered into place – as shown in this video from the LXRA from February:

The existing Murrumbeena and Carnegie stations are both operational as works continue. Hughesdale has been closed for some time, as this is where the trains will come back down to street level.

Murrumbeena Station under construction

Murrumbeena Station under construction

Shown above, at Murrumbeena, the main wraparound shelter for the new station is taking shape. Platforms will accommodate the new 7-car High Capacity Metro Trains, with future provision for platform extension to 10-cars.

This photo supplied by the LXRA shows the view from the elevated structure, looking from Carnegie towards Caulfield:

Level crossing removal project, towards Caulfield (Pic: LXRA)

Work will be ongoing as trains continue to run underneath. Not confirmed yet, but expect a shutdown during the winter school holidays to hook up this section and get it operational.

Because the new Clayton station is being built alongside the existing station, they’ve already installed escalators, and lifts should be available from day one of operation, just like at Noble Park.

But it’s a different story at Carnegie and Murrumbeena, where the new stations are directly above the old ones. It sounds like temporary stairs may be necessary – with those requiring stepfree access initially using a shuttle bus to another station until lifts are installed a few weeks later.

Murrumbeena Station notice

Mostly this project seems to have been achieved without long disruptions to rail users, at least, not as long as those felt on lines where tracks have been dug up and lowered into a cutting/trench.

That said, those who travel in the evenings (particularly Sunday to Wednesday) must be getting used to regular replacement buses.

And I’m told rail shutdowns will continue after all the level crossings from Caulfield to Dandenong have been removed. Upgrades to signalling and power and platforms to cater for the new High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMTs) will be ongoing for a while yet, until they come into service sometime next year.

Tens of thousands of people use the Dandenong line every day, and it’s only going to get busier. It’s great to see it finally getting the investment and upgrades it has needed for so long.

Three bus stops outside Huntingdale, Victoria

Monday was Labour Day, and I went for a long morning walk. Well okay, I caught a 703 bus from Bentleigh to Centre Road/Huntingdale Road — despite the PTV app incorrectly claiming it wasn’t running most of the day.

Then I walked to Huntingdale Station, then west along North Road, and gradually back home. Here are some things I saw along the way.

Huntingdale has got a new bus interchange. There’s some confusion about the cost — in 2015 the State Government said it was $7.6 million ($5 million for the bus interchange, a 2014 election promise, and $2.6 million the rest for parking). PTV now says $11.6 million. Hmmm.

Anyway, the upgrade is a good accompaniment to the 601 shuttle bus to Monash University, which was first introduced in 2011, running on semester weekdays every 4 minutes 7am-7pm, then every 8 minutes until 9:30.

Although not finished yet, at first glance the interchange looks rather good – apart from the 601, it’s also used by, the 900 Smartbus (Caulfield, Chadstone, Monash, Rowville) and route 630 (Elwood to Monash, eastbound). They enter and do a short loop around to exit.

It provides a much quicker and closer connection to the railway station, and means passengers don’t have to cross Huntingdale Road to change to a bus to the university.

Huntingdale Bus interchange

Sensibly, the 601 to Monash University has the prime spot, next to the station entrance. The 630 to Monash also stops nearby.

The 900 is over the other side. I’m betting this is to try and prevent people who just want Monash Uni swamping this service, so people going further can get onto it.

Universities Some universities don’t observe public holidays that aren’t national public holidays. Labour Day is one of these, so there were quite a few people headed to campus.

Thankfully the 601, normally a weekday-only route, also runs on such days. Other bus routes were running a Saturday timetable.

On this day, buses were replacing Cranbourne/Pakenham line trains, so passengers were actually changing off other buses. Given the large numbers of people involved, perhaps when there are rail works on university days, they should run some rail replacement buses via campus?

601 at Huntingdale Bus interchange

The 601 buses are prepaid-only (no Myki purchases or top-ups on-board), and board by all doors, to help speed things up. Ironically most people queuing used the back door, so it was almost as slow as boarding by just the front door.

Just as the near-full 601 completed loading and headed off, another one arrived. One of the challenges for this route is keeping buses coming through at an even frequency.

Crowds on some mornings in the past few weeks have resulted in long queues, and apparently this happens every year at the start of semester. This was the scene on 7th March (via Darren):

Queue at Huntingdale bus interchange (via Darren)

The long wait for a bus to campus was cited last week in The Age, with queues contributing to one campus commuter giving up on public transport. (The article reckoned she’d drive the following day. That was the day that a truck breakdown in the Burnley tunnel caused widespread disruption, so it may not have been any less painful!)

While some would like to see a rail link, the obvious short-term upgrade is more buses, even just for a few weeks when demand is highest… or bigger buses — it looks like the new interchange can handle long articulated buses, and hopefully the same can be said for the stop at Monash, and the route between them.

(Double-deck buses would also cater for more people, but have longer dwell/loading times, negating the benefit somewhat.)

Also at Huntingdale, they have installed a new style of bus stop sign. The “B” is a bay indicator, rather than a Sydney-style B for Bus.

Huntingdale Bus interchange

I’m surprised to see it says “Hail bus”. I wouldn’t have thought that was needed at the terminus of a point-to-point shuttle.

Note the absence of any operator or PTV or even Transport For Victoria branding.

It also looks like further (automated?) signage is coming. (Around the interchange there are also some Smartbus signs, not yet activated.)

Anyway, I kept walking and found this on North Road – a rather splendid looking brick bus shelter.

Looks like it’s a few decades old. Being north-facing it may not provide much shade, but at least unlike its newer cousins, it’s not plastered with ads, and it doesn’t block the footpath as it’s set back (onto council land).

Bus stop on North Road

Further along, I found this stop on Warrigal Road near North Road. Someone’s forgotten to take down this old sign from the former operator, Ventura.

Old Ventura Bus sign in Warrigal Road

Also here: the intersection was recently resurfaced. It seems to me they missed an opportunity to provide a jump-start lane for buses. With or without a “B” priority light, it would help the busy route 630 buses get ahead of the other traffic.

Warrigal Road/North Road intersection

Similarly, the bus jump start lane at Wellington Road/Princes Highway westbound should be made 24/7 instead of peak only. Cars clog it up outside peak times, which just seems silly.

Buses play a vital role in filling gaps between the trains and trams. The alignment along North/Wellington Road to Monash University and Rowville is a big gap.

In public transport, “software” — routes and operating hours and frequencies that meet passenger needs, is essential.

But “hardware” (infrastructure) is also important.

It’s good to see the upgrade at Huntingdale, and it’d be even better to see upgrades to the 601 service to keep up with demand.

More bus priority, especially an easy win such as at Warrigal/North Road would also be very welcome.

Ten things about London Underground, and lessons for Melbourne

Britain is a place many Australians look to with fondness, with many of us having relatives there, and it being a top destination for Australian tourists.

As a result, London is sometimes seen as a city to emulate, especially as our cities get bigger.

Our current crop of public transport managers certainly have links to Britain — the current CEOs of PTV, Metro and V/Line are all Brits (though the current and recent Yarra Trams CEOs have been French).

London Underground (aka The Tube) carries vast numbers of people. Could Melbourne’s Metro be more like them? Well we seem to have copied some of the Tube map’s colours for our rail map.

Here are some things I’ve learnt about London Underground – both from last year’s trip, from recently reading Christian Wolmar’s book about the history of the system, and from other research – and how they might relate to Melbourne.

Earls Court station, London Underground

1. Underground, overground

Most of London Underground isn’t underground. Tunnels are very expensive. Mostly it’s the central core of the network, where there was no other practical choice, that’s underground. Outside the central core, for the older lines, there was space to go aboveground, though recent network expansion has mostly had to go under.

This map actually shows you where the tunnels are on the network.

Melbourne lesson: it’s only recent new lines in heavily built-up areas that have been or will be underground: the City Loop, Metro 1 (under construction via Swanston Street) and the proposed but not funded Metro 2. Other new lines such as Regional Rail Link and Mernda are aboveground, because they’re either in new areas or along existing reservations.

2. Oyster isn’t perfect

The popular narrative is that Myki is crap, Oyster is perfect. Oyster is terrific, but perfect? No.

On our trip, most of us used credit cards; one used an Oyster card. We found we couldn’t top-up the Oyster card online, because our account was linked to a non-UK address. Instead it has to be done in person.

Fares also aren’t fully integrated. You will pay extra to change between tubes, other trains, buses, trams, river boats.

And we (occasionally) saw Oyster readers not working, mostly on buses. And “heritage” Routemaster buses don’t accept credit cards.

That said, on all other services, the system’s terrific “contactless” capability to accept most Paypass/touch credit cards directly is a real boon for tourists.

Melbourne lesson: Myki has a way to go to improve, especially with regard to reader response times. Only the new model readers are fast enough — over time this might be resolved as older equipment gets replaced.

We probably won’t get credit card options anytime soon, but phone apps may be on the way.

London Underground station information

3. Branches and junctions

Conventional wisdom will tell you that a metro system has no branches — that trains run simple patterns from end to end.

Many of the more modern metros are like engineered like this. Singapore for instance, where each line is self-contained. Even getting to the airport involves changing to a shuttle service.

London Underground actually has lots of branches, which complicate operations, but are a legacy of it being such an old system.

And yet they’re replicating it on the new Elizabeth Line (aka Crossrail) — a central tunnel, with two branches in the east, and three in the west.

Even so, “flying junctions” and other infrastructure are used to avoid conflicts, and the interactions between lines are minimised. It helps prevent delays on one line quickly spreading to another.

Melbourne lesson: there’s been a gradual shift to separating out the lines, not just in terms of timetables but also maintenance and drivers.

But there’s a way to go yet. Currently in peak hour, the V/Line Gippsland and Dandenong lines share tracks, with the latter interacting with the Frankston line in the Loop, which in turn connects with the Werribee line, which (in the morning peak) also shares tracks with some Sunbury direct trains. The Sunbury line in turn shares tracks with the Upfield and Craigieburn lines, which share with V/Line Seymour trains. The Sunbury line also shares tracks with the Bendigo line, which in turn shares with the Geelong and Ballarat lines.

So during the morning peak, about half the rail lines in Melbourne and beyond (and many of the busiest) are actually interlinked! Sometimes you wonder how your morning train ever arrives on time!

The Metro 1 tunnel will help this when it opens in 2025, but timetable changes in the meantime would help minimise line interactions.

Line map on District Line, London Underground

4. Some Tube lines are quite long

Conventional wisdom also says that metro lines are fairly short, which is why it’s okay if carriages are designed for high capacity, with most passengers standing.

The longest one seat ride on the Tube is 34 miles (54 km) from Epping to West Ruislip on the Central line, taking 82 minutes.

That said, this would take you through Central London and out the other side, which is probably not a common trip.

Still, a trip from Piccadilly Circus in Central London to Heathrow Airport is about 50 mins on the Tube, so there are some long trips being made.

Melbourne lesson: Flinders Street via the Loop to Pakenham is 80 minutes. Some have said this is too long for trains with few seats. The new High Capacity Metro Trains will have more standing space, but with more carriages as well, and an overall slightly higher number of seats than the current train fleets. Hopefully this is a good balance between seats and capacity, so most people won’t be standing for too long.

Canary Wharf Underground Station, London

5. Different lines, different trains

While the whole Tube network is standard gauge, different lines are built to different load gauges, in other words, how big each train is.

Deep level tunnels on the older lines are much smaller than some of the “subsurface” lines, and have noticeably smaller trains. Victorian era engineering wasn’t up to the task of building larger deep level tunnels.

This means the fleet is segregated, with many trains unable to run on certain lines.

Melbourne lesson: You wouldn’t deliberately design it like this.

It does may make sense to run trains of one type on a line (same acceleration/deceleration characteristics can help with punctuality and timetabling, and dedicated fleets running to specific depots mean easier maintenance and repairs).

But you wouldn’t want this on a permanent basis, as it’s useful to shuffle the fleet around as newer trains arrive — just as is happening on Melbourne’s trams with the Cascade Plan.

London Underground District Line train

6. The term “metro” may have come from London, not Paris

The term “metro” is now used around the world.

It originated with the Paris Metro, which came from the original operating company name: La Compagnie du chemin de fer mรฉtropolitain de Paris (Paris Metropolitan Railway Company). It’s unclear, but some believe the company name was inspired by the London Metropolitan Railway, which had opened about 40 years earlier.

Melbourne lesson: Well, you probably know this bit. In 2009 or thereabouts the State Government chose to call the suburban rail system “Metro” for the new operating contract that started that year.

Yes, the government owns the name, not the operator, so hopefully it’ll stick around now.

That still hasn’t stopped them partly rebranding again since then, when the umbrella “Public Transport Victoria” (PTV) brand took over from Metlink. And now we’re seeing an even bigger umbrella brand “Transport For Victoria” over the top of that, though thankfully so far that’s only appeared on printed material, not all over the system itself.

Earls Court Station, London Underground

7. Much of the Tube is not accessible

Many of the stations were built before accessibility was seen as important, and 19th century engineering certainly didn’t prioritise something extravagant as ramps when building entrances to underground stations.

At the time, lifts were an emerging technology, not ready for prime time. So many Tube stations are still not step-free, though they’re slowly upgrading them.

Melbourne lesson: Thanks to enlightened thinking from the 1890s, and no underground stations at all until the 1970s, thankfully almost all our stations are step-free, though many are not compliant with DDA, and only some of these will be resolved via level crossing removal-related upgrades.

London Clapham Junction

8. The Tube is only part of London’s rail network

London Underground comprises 11 lines, but numerous other railways also serve London.

In the rejuvenated Docklands area, there is the Docklands Light Railway, an automated mostly elevated system runs.

Privatised “National Rail” operators run services from beyond London, including many commuter routes. This causes some issues, with some long distance trains running with moderate loads until they reach the commuter belt, where they get crowded.

Some suburban routes have been taken over by Transport For London and are being upgraded and run as “Overground” services, offering high(er) frequencies, thus becoming more like The Tube.

Melbourne lesson: The issue of long distance trains serving commuters is a well-known problem on V/Line’s Ballarat and Geelong lines, where passengers from Caroline Springs, Tarneit and Wyndham Vale (and to a lesser extent, other stations on other lines) add to capacity pressures for those from further out.

There’s little question that something will need to be done to serve both demographics better. More short-run services in the short term, and better track separation and Metro services to growing suburbs in the medium to long term.

Melbourne’s rail network is of course supplemented by its trams and to a lesser extent, buses. London has a small number of trams, but a very extensive bus network as well.

London Transport Museum: original Metropolitan Railway timetable

9. Frequent since opening

The Tube has run frequent services from the start. Wolmar’s book talks about 4 trains per hour on lines from day one — also shown on this timetable (above) from the opening of the Metropolitan line.

This reflects that the first lines served mostly busy built-up areas, not empty paddocks. Mind you, later some lines did expand in an effort to prompt residential development.

Melbourne lesson: A parallel might be the trams, many of which were built in already established areas, and were mostly reasonably frequent as soon as they opened (and still are today) whereas the trains ran farther afield, originally beyond the metropolis to developing areas, and were (and mostly still are) not terribly frequent – every 20 minutes is typical outside peak.

We need to catch up. There’s huge scope to run Melbourne’s trains at least every 10 minutes all day on most parts of the network, vastly improving the experience for passengers whether it’s a one seat ride, or involves connections.

London Victoria Underground station disruption, Saturday lunchtime

10. Less peaky = busy all day

Melbourne’s rail network is very peaky. The most extreme case might be the Ringwood (Belgrave/Lilydale) line, where the number of trains through Camberwell in peak hour (approaching 20 per hour) is ten times the number in the late evening (2 per hour).

Peaky means we’ve built substantial infrastructure and fleet which only gets a workout for a relatively brief period every day. There are probably quite a few trains in the fleet that only run two services everyday – once every peak hour. This might be a product of demand, but it also means that outside peak times, passenger wait times are much longer, which suppresses public transport demand, even though overall travel demand is strong.

London Underground’s service, at least measured by trains per hour, is much flatter, with for instance the Piccadilly line running 21 trains per hour at most times of day, though the weekend Night Tube (overnight service) is “only” 6 trains per hour.

And this is reflected in passenger journey figures. A quick comparison:

  • Route length: London Underground about 400 km / Melbourne also about 400 km depending on how you count it
  • Train service kilometres per year: Underground 84 million km / Metro 23 million km
  • Total passengers per year: Underground 1.37 billion / Metro 233 million

So it’s not that London Underground is a bigger network with longer routes; Melbourne’s rail network is a similar size (but not as well supported by other related systems like London’s DLR and National Rail, as noted above).

The key is that London Underground is a far more intensive network, with more frequent services, and far more passengers.

It also means that unlike Melbourne, London’s system better reflects overall city travel demand, not just CBD peak hour demand. Outside peak hour, travel demand (in both cities) is substantial, but the broader Melbourne public transport network’s lack of all-day frequent service isn’t good at capturing it — trams do okay, but trains and buses (which fill the gaps) are an issue.

Handling billions of passenger trips every year means making use of the latest technology. London Underground uses platform screen doors at some of the newest stations, as well as in-cab (high capacity) signalling to allow very high frequencies on the busiest lines. We’ll start to see those rolled-out when Metro 1 tunnel opens.

Peak hour at South Kensington Underground Station, London


London is a bigger city than Melbourne, about twice the population. It’s got a 1900 year head start.

But Melbourne is growing fast. Our transport system needs to mature, and any sane policy should dictate that the backbone of the transport system should not be moving individuals in cars, but by mass transit.

City planning will also play a role, by concentrating development around public transport.

We might never have such an extensive rail network as London, but we can do a lot better than we are now — starting to adapt some of the best practices and technology from London and other big world cities would be a great start.

Is the Smartbus branding dead? Why not make every bus a Smartbus?

Smartbus was devised in the dying days of the Kennett government originally as a mostly hardware-based upgrade: traffic priority, real-time information at stops, distinctive bus stop signs and buses.

Originally it didn’t include service upgrades (which sparked derision from the PTUA at the time), but this was changed early on during the Bracks government, with a trial on routes 703 and 888/889 (now 902).

It was a success, with patronage growing strongly. In 2006 the Bracks government announced more Smartbus routes, including four orbital routes (of which two and three-quarters were eventually built) and four Doncaster area “rapid transit” routes under the sub-brand “DART”.

Most of these replaced existing routes, but they’re now some of the busiest bus services in Melbourne.

This old data (which was the most recent published by PTV, and has now disappeared off their web site) shows that Smartbus (90x and 703) make up 5 of the top 7 routes — in part due to their length, no doubt.

Melbourne annual bus patronage 2011-12

(Monash Uni shuttle route 601 is probably ranked at about 7th, but the figures are so old, it’s not included, as it only started in late 2011.)

Silver and orange

Part of the appeal, apart from a better quality of service, was a distinctive silver livery, to set Smartbus routes apart from others.

Transdev, which operates most of the Smartbus routes, seems to be doing their best to kill it off.

Regular orange buses are turning up regularly on Smartbus routes.

Smartbus-liveried buses are turning up regularly on non-Smartbus routes.

Smartbus livery on non-Smartbus route

Transdev of course have well-publicised problems with their fleet, which has led to a shortage of buses. But you also see these issues on weekends, when there should be plenty of spare vehicles. (The above photo is from a Saturday. That day, at least two Smartbus liveried-buses were observed running on route 223.)

Ventura has also been spotted occasionally running regular orange buses on Smartbus route 900, and they also run route 703, one of the original trial Smartbuses, which has never been upgraded to reach the supposed Smartbus service standard, and always runs orange buses (albeit with internal passenger information displays, which are only seen on Smartbus routes).

Is it time to ditch the special livery?

There might be some benefit to having a distinctive Smartbus livery in terms of attracting new users, but I don’t think it’s ever been quantified.

There is, self-evidently, a cost to bus operators of having a specific fleet of buses that can only be run on certain routes. This is the same reason they are reluctant to run mini-buses at quiet times – as this video from Florida notes, it would involve having an entire separate fleet for particular runs.

Should all buses be Smartbuses?

Smartbus routes are not actually the most frequent on the network, so the current distinction is somewhat arbitrary.

What if we gave all bus routes the benefit of Smartbus technology?

One benefit of Smartbus is real-time information at stops, but data feeds for this are now available for almost every Melbourne bus route (via the PTV app and others).

Maybe where regular and Smartbus routes share stops, they should be displaying all routes on the Smartbus kerbside signs?

Perhaps they’re already trialling this. A couple of weeks ago I spotted this displayed on a Smartbus sign at Caulfield Station – it was alternating between non-Smartbus route 624, and Smartbus route 900. (Yes, refer to printed timetable isn’t very useful. In fact, that default message should probably now be “refer to printed timetable or PTV app”.)

Route 624 on a Smartbus display

Smartbus 703 internal display

Another Smartbus amenity not currently seen on other routes is passenger information displays inside the buses, alongside automated announcements for each stop.

During my UK trip last year I found similar displays in every single London bus that I rode. I found it helped a lot when navigating an unfamiliar route.

London bus internal passenger information

This is also increasingly standard on Melbourne trams.

The obvious question is: why not here on every bus? This would also assist ensuring those with hearing or vision difficulties are informed about their location.

As for the liveries themselves… arguably it is useful to distinguish between bus routes by more than just the number. But equally there’s value in a uniform fleet, to emphasise there’s a network.

Perhaps the answer is to make more route number displays standard on all new buses — not just the front, but also the side and rear too. Make them super prominent.

And perhaps some innovative new way of providing individual route markings/colours (within the standard orange design) could be found, such as a coloured stripe or other design along the side that can be displayed clearly, yet easily changed when the bus gets switched to another route.

All options worth exploring.

Non-liveried Smartbus arrives

Of course, putting more automated information at stops and on buses won’t solve issues of poor scheduling, infrequent services, spaghetti-like route structure, on-road delays (and a lack of traffic priority), cleanliness, and reliability…

But starting a rollout of Smartbus features onto every bus route — including regional town buses — would be a step forward to providing an easier to use bus network.

Old photos from February 2008

Ten years ago I was surviving (somehow) with no hot water, after the water heater packed-up. The solar system I had installed to replace it is, thankfully, still going nicely.

Anyway, it’s the last day of Feb – just time for some old photos from ten years ago – another in my series of rehashed content looking through the archives.

Firstly though, a sound recording – an automated announcement absolutely delighted to be telling you about Craigieburn.

As blogged at the time, a hairdresser on the train one evening spontaneously gave a girl a haircut.
Haircut on the train, February 2008

February back then meant we’d do a PTUA stall at the Sustainable Living Festival. At the back of the tent you can spot a youthful looking Tony Morton, now PTUA President.
PTUA stall at Federation Square, February 2008

The Southbank skyline hasn’t changed that much, but most of the trams have had a new paintjob since then. At the time the “Obey The Yellow” campaign to keep tram lanes clear of cars was in full swing.
Tram at Federation Square, February 2008

A Saturday afternoon brings out lots of people onto the trains. Even by 2008, it was apparent that Melbourne was transitioning to a big city.
Flinders Street platform 5 on a Saturday afternoon, February 2008

Flinders Street platform 4. It’s unusual to see V/Line departures here; normally they’re over the other side of the station. I’m sure there was a good reason.
Flinders Street platform 4, train to Sale, February 2008

Finally, from my backyard. I found this big scary-looking spider one night getting busy with web construction.
Spider in the backyard, February 2008