Thursday, January 12, 2017

Seeing Melbourne by train and tram for tourists part 2, trains

I always enjoy taking trains, be they long distance or short. I would recommend three train trips in Melbourne, one short and one long.

Let's start with the long one, to Hurstbridge. I suppose it is our longest suburban train trip at about 1 hour and ten minutes. Hurstbridge doesn't really feel like a suburb, more like a country town. You will pass by all the sporting complexes Melbourne is well known for, including the Melbourne Cricket Ground then you are elevated above the cheek by jowl housing and commercial sites of Richmond and Abbotsford then slowly the blocks of the land will become larger and the housing more grand as you head into the middle class eastern suburbs and then the 'mud brick house' area around the very conservation minded Eltham.

The gap between stations starts to increase and there is some single railway line, so at times there are pauses while waiting for a train to pass. The train reaches the countryside, with farms and some bushland. Hurstbridge itself has at least one very nice cafe near the station.

Oh yes, our train system is very modern. Photo from Heritage Council Victoria.


The other train trip I like is to the southern suburb of Sandringham, right on the beach. Beginning in the trendy inner suburbs south of the city, through the very expensive area of Brighton and the just expensive areas subsequently. Between Brighton Beach towards Hampton, the line travels along the seaside, so be sure to sit on the right hand side of the train. There is no shortage of cafes in Bay Road, Sandringham. You may want to break the journey by stopping off at what I suggest is Melbourne's nicest train station, Brighton Beach. There is a good cafe here too.



Right, here is an honourable mention for another train trip I enjoy, to Altona Village. While it is not very far, except in peak, a change of train is required. The change has worked well enough for me when I have taken the trip. I enjoy the trip across the paddocks and every time I have been, I have seen a rabbit in the grassland. The village in Altona is very peaceful and slow paced and a ten minute walk past the shops and cafes brings you to the very wide expanse of Altona Beach. The pier is not overly long and a nice stroll.





24 comments:

  1. Lovely.
    Like you, I like trains. And find them incredibly restful.

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    1. EC, restful except when locals stone your train, as happened to us in Vietnam.

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  2. I used to love the train to Sydney on Friday nights but the first plane back on Monday morning was just a blur.

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    1. Jah Teh, hedonistic Sydney has that effect on people. I'm sure you didn't miss out.

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  3. If only I had read this post prior to my Melbourne trip as I would love to have taken the train.

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    1. Marie, certainly now, you can find details like this online, but you can spend hour upon hour doing so. I would hope this comes up when intending visitors start googling. I could have put more detail, but how much is helpful and how much is too much. We were fortunate to have our own guide in London to take us on train trips ;-)

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  4. You know in all my years in Melbourne, I have never been to Brighton Beach railway station. Nor did anyone ever say there is a good cafe there. It is always an excellent idea to have a great coffee shop in or next to a railway station.

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    1. Hels, the building is so nice and it's a very large station with train storage on one side and the through tracks on the other. Note the station car park was once the terminus of the St Kilda to Brighton electric tram, run by the railways, not the tramways.

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  5. All of those train rides sound lovely with nice destinations. I'll have to get out my map of Melbourne to see just where they all are.
    I'd love to see the mud brick houses at Eltham. When I was younger I was all fired up conservation-wise and would have loved to build an energy efficient mud brick home with a self sustaining permaculture garden, but circumstances were against me. These days all I want is a place closer to the ocean with a yard I can truly call my own.

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    1. River, I am not sure if they are still building mud brick houses there, but there must be quite a number of them. We all have our wants. I want a terrace instead of a balcony. At least yours in reasonable. R's list of wants is very long.

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  6. As you probably know we don't have trains here that passengers can ride/travel from one point to another, not needed.
    B's Auntie in Brisbane said we will catch the train into town - not likely says B, we will drive, so that we did as we are not used to anything but taking our own vehicle. Know you can't in bigger cities, but B is tinny when it comes to parking :)

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    1. Margaret, just think of the passenger numbers for a high speed train between Hobart and Launceston. City centre to city centre in a third the time it takes to drive.

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  7. I enjoyed train trips when I was a kid. We often went by train to Mackay and back to Gympie again after Christmas/New Year to visit our uncle and his family.

    These days, I've not been on a train for ages. 2008 was the last time. And until then I'd not been on a train since New Year's Eve 1965. That's a long time between drinks!! I travelled from Brisbane to Gympie to attend a friend's wedding that was being held on New Year's Day! I ribbed her for years for choosing that day to marry!

    The train pulled into Gympie railway station about 20 minutes before midnight!!

    The trips you're describing sound like they'd be a relaxing way to get around....to take in one's surrounds without the hassle of vehicular traffic. There's something romantic about train travel...that kind of train travel.

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    1. Lee, if a train is your daily commute, it is not so romantic and can be stressful with crowded trains and cancelled trains, something Brisbane is rather aware of at the moment. But in other countries trains are serious business and resources are devoted to them which in no way resembles the way Australia does it. I catch trains in my leisure times or holiday times and I don't have to depend on them for daily travel.

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    2. I'd hate to depend on trains for daily travel. When I lived and worked in Brisbane I never used public transport of any description.

      As for the train problems here in south-east Qld at present...it's a disgrace. A good friend of mine who is not too well at the moment - he didn't want to drive himself - wanted to catch a train from the Gold Coast, taking him up to Nambour so he could spend Christmas with his brother and other family members. But that plan was vetoed when he was advised that between 24th December to 27th Dec, no trains would be running north of Petrie...a northern suburb of Brisbane!!! Bloody ridiculous. The weekend before Christmas with little or no notice whatsover no trains ran between Brisbane and the Gold Coast!!!

      Heads should roll!! There would be no point them being punished in the old Wild West style of the Saturday matinee movies where they tied people to the railway tracks! That idea wouldn't work with no trains running!! ;)

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    3. Lee, well a couple of heads have rolled. What has happened there really is a disgrace and there is no quick fix in less than a year.

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  8. Crikey Andrew ..... you've convinced Mum ..... we are going to try the rail system when next in Melbourne. Thanks for telling her not to put the muzzle on me unless called on to do so by the authorities. I'm most grateful.

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    1. Charlie, it takes me a little time but after a while I can judge character a bit and I think you are a thoroughly respectable dog and you would not be a problem for fellow passengers or officialdom. As a frequent tram user, I've never seen any of your kind challenged either. But Charlie, if the tram driver tells you to get off, then please do so and don't delay my journey on the tram behind.

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  9. I would like to take a train vacay at some point.
    Great info and pics. Thanks for sharing. Altona, especially, looked inviting.

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    1. Sandra, while it might be expensive, I think the trans Canada trip would be great. We have done the Rocky Mountains trip and it was very good.

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  10. I grew up in a railroad family. The men on my dad side work for railroad for three generation.
    Coffee is on

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    1. Dora, I am impressed. It is a very honourable job.

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  11. Every time I read about one of your train trips I get the urge to hop aboard. This year, and soon, I think we might take the train out to Toodjay, I've heard it's a pretty ride, maybe even up to Kalgoorlie! Thanks for the incentive Andrew ☺

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    1. Grace, the train to Toodjay sounds great to me. You reminded me to check something. Sami wrote it is 70km to Mandurah. I had no idea it was that far.

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