Jonathan Lee

Worldly Images

Melbourne Freight – 11th December 2012

Courtesy of Virgin Australia we had to get out of bed at 0445, having only got into them at 2230 the previous night. They’d moved us from our nice sociable 0950 Launceston – Melbourne flight to a rancid 0600 flight instead. The check-in staff told us it wasn’t a regular thing but it was the only time they’d done it that week; the 0950 flight being cancelled outright. We only found this delightful news out a few days before the trip, by which time it was too late to re-book with Qantas. Being deposited into Melbourne at 0645 did have its advantages, although we weren’t looking forward to our overnight XPT to Sydney that night.

As we’d had to change our plans due to the derailment between Werris Creek & Narrabri our time in Melbourne was cut short by a day so we had to make the most of it. A quick exit from the airport onto the very frequent Skybus to get into the city, handily dropping off at the bus station attached to Southern Cross, allowed for breakfast while we came up with a plan of action for the day.

We’d originally had grand plans of going out to Geelong to attempt to photograph some El Zorro trains and then trying to get to Dynon shed but out of all the plans photographing  from Bunbury Street with the Melbourne skyline in the background was our priority. I used a V Line ticket, which I’d use to Wallan & Deer Park later, on the metro to Footscray. Myki cards are also handy to get there, it wasn’t worth me getting one though as it wasn’t valid to Wallan.

We spent 2 hours at Bunbury Street, overlooking the City. Unfortunately only one freight came out of town, while three went in, the rest of the traffic was light engine’s coming onto the bridge to reverse back into Dynon. The better shots are in the afternoon when the sun is behind the tunnel exit portal and on the City; beggars can’t be choosers though and we had to make do with what we got.

I chose to spend my afternoon doing a V Line trip out to Wallan, unbeknownst to me I managed to chose the 1 hour of the day to fester there when the only freight train of the day would run back towards Melbourne down the main line. A very kind member of railway staff, who looked like she was acting a COSS for some platform works, gave me the tip-off it was coming once she’d had the gen over her radio to stop work.

The train was 9340 Sunday Creek – Kilmore East “Apex” Stone train worked by a pair of PN X Classes, X49/42 which hammered through Wallan and off into the distance. Not bad for GM’s I have to say.

Back into Southern Cross I made the 1520 to South Geelong by seconds and had decided I was going to have another crack at Bunbury Street, the sun being almost perfect by that point. I was meeting my mate on the V Line A Class turn, the 1615 Bacchus Marsh so had 55 minutes between trains at Footscray. I technically wasn’t valid on the 1520 South Geelong to Footscray as it’s pick-up only, the next stop being beyond the Zone 2 boundary, but there wasn’t a grip so nothing to worry about.

Just as I got to the bridge there were a pair of QRN locos heading over it, unfortunately light engine. They were the only locos I saw coming out of town by the time I had to make a move back to Footscray station. CFCLA’s T Class T371 had run back into town but that was it. The weather was perfect too.

I’d been talking to a local “gunzel” on the bridge and no sooner had I turned my back and started to walk away as he walked to his car, did he shout me back. He’d spotted something coming out of town, which by the time I’d got back to the bridge was just approaching on the City side. It was only a T Class with a trip freight but it was glorious and nothing short of perfect and had the guy I’d been talking to not shouted me back I’d have had a pretty disappointing 45 minutes waiting for nothing that afternoon and feeling very pleased with myself I headed back to Footscray station to see what V Line would offer up on it’s evening commuters.


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