Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday Selections

River and others participate in Sunday Selections. Mine used to be random photos, but now they are mostly theme based. 

The wheels on the train go round and round, tra la la, grinding away the track and the wheels as they go. This is normal but our trains have been grinding excessively, quickly wearing out wheels and tracks. I began my outing at Windsor Station, as that is where I was. We have some quite ugly train stations but I like Windsor Station.



An old style travel poster, promoting a family train trip to the tourist attraction, Sovereign Hill in Ballarat.


Is this a path or is it not a path? I and others were using it as a path and you can see where people step off the concrete to get around the pole.


I had heard about this train viewing platform via the blog of Daniel Bowen. I don't mind stopping to watch a train or two pass by, but that is about my limit. I am not an 'enthusiast', not that there is anything wrong with that mind.


Train wheels are very topical here in the State of Victoria. It is clever how these old wheels were incorporated into the structure.


The platform gives an excellent view of what is known as the North Melbourne Fly Over, a substantial new structure to get regional trains over suburban trains lines. The trains were crawling along the track at an absurdly low speed. The track has since been replaced, as have many train wheels, but the repercussions will not end until mid year, with bus substitution for many regional train trips.


It seems that the tracks were not been regularly lubricated and on these tight curves, wheels and tracks were wearing out very quickly. In the ten or so minutes I stood there, quite a number of regional trains slowly crawling over the fly over.



It is hard to believe that trains have been running their iron wheels on steel track for over 150 years, yet some quite basic things in this case seem to have not been done. Rapidly wearing track from rapidly wearing wheels has also seen some early wear on our suburban trains too. The wheel is a very good object and does not need re-inventing, but it does need to be cared for. Here comes one of our high speed Vlocity trains, that can run at 160 km/h, crawling along at something like 25 km/h. Sorry and excuse me, but you are not impressed that our regional trains can travel at 160 km/h because you recently heard that the Flying Scotsman, a steam train, could travel at 160 km/h between London and Edinburgh back in 1923? We've come a long way baby, not.



Later: I futilely hoped to install some outrage in R by telling him our regional trains travel at the same speed as the Flying Scotsman did back in 1923. After being together for 37 years, he then informed me, my Uncle Alex (his mother's brother) used to sort the mail on the Flying Scotsman. No sweetheart, you had not mentioned that before. It is not the sort of thing I would forget.

24 comments:

  1. Learning about each other all the time. Presumably R hadn't thought about his Uncle Alex's job until you reminded him...
    The train viewing platform is bizarre. I can see its charm - but wonder how much use it gets.

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    1. EC, I don't know how much use it gets. I expect passers by might stop for a minute or so. I was a commissioned work of art.

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  2. Andrew the city reminds me my region looking at tracks

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    1. The same the world over, Gosia.

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  3. That weird narrow path is really perplexing. They should have just concreted the bit to the right too but it looks like they've actually put in some plants.

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    1. Ad Rad, I suspect the path funding was from the Regional Rail Link budget. It is not a path, but edging. Obviously is used as a path.

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  4. Here, there are those obsessed with toy trains. I have an older friend whose husband spends all his time building small train replicas and scenes then all the men and boys of the toy train clubs come by twice a month to watch the trains go around and around in circles in his shop. then they go to another's shop and watch that persons' toy train set up. They go to conventions, in this state, then regionally too. Lots of money spent. Sometimes they go on trips, just to sit and watch big trains, too. My friend does not go and thinks its something like grown men playing with dolls.

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    1. Strayer, in my old age I thought I might turn the spare room into a model train track. I went to a model train exhibition and saw some brilliant model trains in excellent miniature settings, but really, it was quite boring. Perhaps when I am old and need to occupy my time, I will start a blog.

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  5. I feel sorry for those who live in the regional areas and have to rely on such a shitty service.

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    1. Fen, you can bet the politically marginal areas will have more trains running than the safe seats.

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  6. Informative post for me as I know nothing about trains or train stations...thanks Andrew.

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    1. Margaret, I see your Wilkie bloke is calling for new rail services in Hobart to overcome the 'terrible peak hour congestion'. I don't think he visits Melbourne and Sydney very often.

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  7. I think a couple of extra concrete pavers next to the path by that pole seems like a good idea; perhaps you could write to the local council concerned? Enclose the photo.
    I like the train viewing platform, it's nicely designed and a good place to rest awhile.
    I saw a few trains myself today, miniatures about 40 cm high or thereabouts, with small children riding on the "carriages", all kids being held on by an adult of course. I'll write about today soon enough.

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    1. River, it is just not meant to be a path. A path by default it is. It will never be officially sanctioned as a path and so nothing will ever be done with it. You are right, it is nice spot to rest, beyond any train viewing.

      I am intrigued by your miniature train outing today. I look forward to the post.

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  8. Sorry to be pedantic but steel rail AND steel wheels. Iron is just so 19th century - and when used as such in either rail or wheel was responsible for many major accidents. Pure iron is simply not tough enough for either.
    I think the viewing platform near North Melbourne has been around for many years; I am sure I visited it in the '80s only to be disappointed at the lack of traffic. I don't recall much visibility of the suburban trains either. Today may be different with the RRL's 20-minute services (give or take fifteen minutes) although many country - er, sorry, 'regional' - trains use the new platforms at Spencer Street, er, sorry, Southern Cross so don't use the flyover.
    A few weeks back the 'Herald Sun' listed several miniature railways in and around Melbourne including those at Altona, Diamond Valley and Box Hill. If you're interested I could scan the article and forward it, you might find some good ideas for a day out.

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    1. Chris, iron and steel, just a bit of colour about the iron rooster. I think the platform was installed in the 1990s but I can't remember which year. I just checked, 1994. Miniature railways are ok but I don't have a great interest. I have been on one at Portarlington and maybe at the train museum in Port Adelaide.

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    2. Andrew - fair comment about miniature railways, just about my view, I live near the one at Altona but have never visited - though I may do one day, if only to get a few lungfuls of steam, hot oil and coal smoke.
      Can't remember exactly when I visited the NM viewing platform but it would have been before I left Australia in 1997. I have made a point over the last week or two to look out and, yes, it is clearly visible even from platforms 5 and 6 at North Melbourne, though I stand by my comment that it doesn't really seem to be positioned for anyone watching the action at NM station, though that, in the 1990s, would have been the main focus of interest. In those days there wasn't really much traffic on the flyover.

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  9. Oh! And with all due respects to R, I seriously doubt anyone ever sorted mail on the 'Flying Scotsman'. There is a difference between a luxury passenger-oriented train named 'Flying Scotsman', leaving both Kings Cross and Edinburgh at 10.00 for the 8-hour trip, and a specific locomotive named 'Flying Scotsman', which would have worked all sorts of trains on the LNER system - though doubtless it was allocated to the 'Flying Scotsman' train service until the bigger and sexier A4s came along. The 'Flying Scotsman' train would have carried little, if any, mail; that sort of business was done by night trains which comprised carriages that could pick up and drop mailbags at speed while 'sorters' in the carriages er, well, sorted the mail. I'm sure that somewhere on the net you can find all the details of both Flying Scotsman and Mail Train operations. If I can ever find it again I have a book on night mail trains - I'll let you know if it comes to light.

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    1. Chris, I expect it almost became a generic term for the east coast line. I do know the difference and I expect you are correct about the mail being sorted on the night train.

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    2. Had the regional trains been travelling at some speed, I would have really enjoyed the viewing. I am prone to exaggeration but I reckon I saw ten country trains in ten minutes on the fly over.

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  10. What an enjoyable ride throughout your post, and funny thing now I have this tra la la going through my head! Enjoy your day.

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    1. Thanks Karen. I hope it is not annoying.

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  11. I'm hoping our train system will live up to expectations when you come over Andrew, I'm a little anxious :) :)

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    1. Grace, from what I have heard from those far more expert than myself, your train system has nothing to worry about, nor you.

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