Monday, July 08, 2013

Walking the Inner Circle 2

This map from Wikepedia shows very clearly where the Inner Circle Railway ran. The line branched off the Upfield mainline after Royal Park Station continued eastward and then south to finish in Fitzroy's Edinburgh Gardens. News to me from the map is that it was also linked to the Epping mainline. The line closed to passengers in 1948 and to freight in 1981. While much of the route is parkland, some of it has been built on, so there is no chance of anything ever running along there again.


Slightly curious are these metal tramway poles heading down Kelly Lane. The Lygon Street tram is only a few metres away so perhaps they are electricity feeder lines for the nearby tram.


Here I have reached Lygon Street and it appears I can go no further along the old line. Power staunchions are of minimal interest anyway. Here the line crossed Lygon St.


Just a little north is a disconnected tram track curve from Lygon Street into Holden Street.


Brunswick Road changes name to Holden Street and looking east, a little track remains. Just from memory, a double tram track ran along Holden Street to connect separate tramway systems that were amalgamated under the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board.  During WWII with the electric tram now running all the way down St Georges Road and Brunswick Street, tram track rails were needed elsewhere to extend a Footscray line to a munitions factory, and with little steel available, it was turned into a single track and the old rail used where it was badly needed. Into the fifties and sixties the use of the Holden Street line declined and was mainly used to move trams around the system. It was closed in 1976 and the track removed except for short sections at each end that could be used as sidings. As you can see, only this small disconnected sections of track remain. I don't think there is anything at the St Georges Road end now.


There are a few metal tramway poles at the beginning of Holden Street but they quickly peter out.


Melbourne's inner north used to be full of small factories like this with now the work being done in Bangladesh.


Looking down Rathdowne Street from Holden Street. The parkland of the ICRL can just be seen. This end of Rathdowne St was once a cable tram terminus. While the cable tram was removed, it was not replaced by an electric tram and unseen to the right of the the photo is a very large old building which may have been something to do with the cable tram. I had limited time, so I did not investigate. I will follow this up in time.


The housing along Holden Street is of a varying standard, I say most kindly.


Flogging or a day in the stocks? Both I reckon. Line up with your rotten tomatoes.


While this pole is timber rather than the usual steel tramway poles, its cute little metal cap indicates it was a tram wire support pole.


Also to note are the tramway inhouse telephone insulators. I am almost at the corner of St Georges Road but strangely the tram did not turn left into St Georges Road. Instead it turned left into Pilkington Street. You can just see the kerbing for the short street.


I am standing in Barkly Street now, at the other end of Pilkington Street. The tram would have been coming towards me, then turned right and gone right past me before it turned left into St Georges Road.


There are various reasons put forward as to why the tram took the short diversion rather than just turn left at St Georges Road. The best one I can see is to avoid the cable tram terminus in St Georges Road. This photo by Graeme Farrar shows a tram using Pilkington Street. It seems it was rarely used at this time as someone is carefully watching the wheels in case of derailment. Behind the tram was where the Holden Street Tramway Workshops were. Some of Melbourne's iconic W class trams, were built there and cable trams were also serviced there. The workshop fell to disuse and was demolished at the end of the cable trams in the 1940s and after the new Preston Tramway Workshops were built. Note that while it is single track when the photo was taken, there is still the second overhead wire hanging from when it was dual track.



To wrap it up, a little whimsy from the window of the tram in Brunswick Street on my way home.

10 comments:

  1. hm... now that I think of it my Aunt and Uncle live directly behind some tracks, I think railway rd or railway st or something like that runs directly parallel to Holden (Brunswick st nth). There are tracks there that we used to play on...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes M, Railway Street. Lucky you to have tracks to play on, even if the trains had stopped.

      Delete
  2. Very interesting Andrew. I love those old trams - what character. As the sign on the front says "special" indeed.
    Is it just me or does the neighbourhood look a little "dodgy" as we Brits like to say?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Craig, I didn't notice the sign. It must have been hired by tram fans. The area was originally very working class but with also some quite grand houses in the mix. The came the Mediterranean immigrants and Jewish post WWII, with the Greek and Italians mostly working in factories. The factories have mostly gone and the area is being gentrified in parts. It is certainly no longer a cheap area to buy or rent in and although the income of most locals in modest accommodation would not be very high, it is not an area I would feel unsafe in. The many overseas students in the area support that.

      Delete
  3. I never thought that there are such old trams in Melbourne and every name sounds so "british" !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gattina, although somewhat modernised inside, a few are still running and they have always looked much the same outside. The further out from the centre of Melbourne you go, the less British the names become.

      Delete
  4. I am a relatively alert and intelligent Melbournian with a passion for history, so how come I have never heard of the Inner Circle Railway? The line only closed to passengers in 1948 and both my mum and dad were passport-carrying Carlton residents.

    Who said progress is linear?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hels, well it is North Carlton, but still I expect they would know of it. So perhaps you don't know of the Outer Circle Railway line, or the spur lines to Springvale Cemetery and the Mont Park asylum or the train to Kew? As I am sure you know, public transport on rails had a huge effect on the way our suburbs grew and even now, a premium is paid by buyers to live near good public transport, or in the outer areas, just a railway station.

      Delete
  5. On closer inspection that IS a 'little' whimsey Andrew :)) What a great walk, i think it's really good that they leave little bits of the track along the way, it's always good to remember how things were, and they're just small visual reminders oui!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grace, I think there is more to see along the line, including bits of track, which I will see in time.

      Delete