Old photos from June 2008

Here’s another in my series of old photos from ten years ago… this time, June 2008.

You might remember that Frank Woodley did TV ads for Metlink, to encourage bus usage. Here’s the cartoon version, on a bus stop.
Metlink Frank Woodley bus promotion, June 2008

Speaking of advertising, I quite liked this ad for the Get Smart movie (originally posted here). Come to think of it, I’ve still never seen the movie.
Get Smart movie advertising, June 2008

Hitachi train, sporting its Comeng-era seat covers
Hitachi train, June 2008

Gambling addiction is a serious problem, but this is still one of my favourite photos: The Machines Will Win. (See also: Part II)
You know in the end the machines will win (1/2)

(For those with short memories, that’s a Metcard machine; the predecessor to Myki, and just as disliked when it first got introduced.)

The signage at Bentleigh station, back when the train times worked.
Bentleigh Station Smartbus signage, June 2008

Punt Road – then, as now, sometimes the buses can’t reach the bus lane because of all the traffic. Hopefully the re-design of this intersection will fix that.
Punt Road, June 2008

The last few photos are from a visit to the Eureka skydeck in late June 2008…
Eureka Skydeck, June 2008

The view of the Westgate Bridge/Kingsway intersection. It conveys the vast amount of space used by motorway interchanges.
Westgate Freeway viewed from the Eureka Skydeck, June 2008

A more youthful looking me, back when I wore a tie, with Government House and The Shrine of Remembrance in the background
At the Eureka Skydeck, June 2008

The city skyline. Note despite the two lanes of traffic across Princes Bridge, the cars were still queuing.
Central Melbourne, viewed from the Eureka Skydeck, June 2008

Hitachi trains: forty years on

Forty years ago this week (on Christmas Eve to be precise) the first Hitachi train went into service.

Here’s an article and some blueprints published in the Victorian Railways internal newsletter in June 1970, showing off models of the then-proposed trains.

(Click on the pictures to view them bigger in Flickr.)

"New metropolitan trains"

Hitachi trains article

Hitachi trains plans

The “driving trailer” carriages were later converted to trailer carriages, with additional motor carriages built to make up the 3-car sets we see today.

Most Hitachis were scrapped during the 2000s, when it was originally thought they would be completely replaced by Siemens and X’Trapolis trains. Initially a few were kept for the Commonwealth Games, to be scrapped afterwards, but strong growth patronage meant they were saved, and some others brought back — famously some were bought back off a collector who had purchased some and kept them on his farm.

They don’t have air-conditioning and passenger intercoms, but are otherwise known for being a pretty reliable train. Air-con only really matters a few days a year anyway — on all except the very hot days, opening the windows does wonders. It’s far more important that they be around to relieve overcrowding. If you’d rather not travel in a Hitachi on a hot day, you’ve always got the option of waiting and catching the next train.

(With thanks to Chris G for the tipoff)

One day…

When the Hitachi trains were built in the early 70s, it was before the days of dot matrix displays. Destination rolls weren’t easily changed, so they included a few places they thought that might one day get rail services.

Forward planning, much of it in line with the stated rail extensions in the 1969 transport plan.

Here, courtesy of an old railways book I have, is a list of destinations which had been added in anticipation:

Hitachi train, ParliamentWERRIBEE[1]

Interesting omissions include Cranbourne (opened 1995) and Warragul (a few suburban trains went out that way during the 90s).

[1] Werribee — was electrified and got suburban trains in 1985.

[2] Sunbury — No electric trains yet, but funded and expected to open in 2012. Controversial because some locals would prefer to keep their V/Line trains, though I think the project brings numerous benefits.

[3] Deer Park West and Melton — Electrification and duplication from Sunshine to Melton is included as part of the Victorian Transport Plan, but is not currently funded.

[4] Craigieburn — Eventually got electric trains in 2007.

[5] South Morang — Funded and expected to open in 2013. Controversial because of the astronomical cost, partly explained by the project including lots and lots of other stuff. Interestingly the official government information now appears to be devoid of an expected opening date.

[6] Doncaster — Despite bridges on the Eastern Freeway being specifically built to accommodate a train line, it hasn’t eventuated. A big upgrade to bus services, under the name DART (Doncaster Area Rapid Transit) is about to start.

[7] Mulgrave — The State Coalition has pledged to do a feasibility study of the line to Rowville (including Mulgrave) if it wins the state election, one of its few policies announced so far.

[8] Baxter — Not planned, but the PeninsulaLink plans do include provision for expansion of the existing line underneath part of the freeway under construction. Extending to Leawarra (where Monash’s Peninsula campus is) and Baxter makes sense, if only to move the train stabling and massive car park out of Frankston, which can be redeveloped as part of the multiple CBDs strategy.

[9] Mornington — Gone backwards. The station and some of the train line that were there have been demolished/ripped-up… the only indicator left is Railway Grove.


Going back further, here are some that were on the blue (Harris) trains:


The red (Tait) trains appear to have listed only stations which today get suburban trains — or did at the time (St Kilda and Port Melbourne, for instance).

[10] Trains once ran here, though I don’t think they were ever electric trains.

  • Source: Electric Railways of Victoria”, by S.E.Dornan & R.G.Henderson, AETA 1979
  • The full lists that I once laboriously typed up and posted to Usenet — and include a few stations which are no longer used to terminate trains, such as Glen Huntly and Westona