Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Post seniors travel week

Any plans for today, I asked R. No? Let's go to Geelong for lunch. R has never used his two free train passes he receives each year, so here was an opportunity to use one. I checked the train times and there was an express with only a couple of stops at 11.00 and the country train from Warrnambool stopped at Geelong to pick up at 1.50, with only two stops between Geelong and Spencer Street. Perfect. We had to reserve seats on the country train for our return journey, so we did so at Southern Cross Station. We had time for coffee and a snack before boarding our train.

I hate this gambling advertising at So Cross Station. It makes the place look very cheap.


Our train was a VLocity, described as high speed multiple diesel unit, and was waiting at a platform I had never noticed before, 8S, the S for south. It was not too busy and we sat opposite some backward facing seats for extra legroom, club seats I think they are called. The seats are incredibly comfortable. I have been on a VLocity once before to Sunbury and back. They have a top speed of 160 km/h and I am sure we reached that speed at times on the way to Geelong. The only problem I have with them is that the motors are under the floor and are quite noisy, especially when under load, but the ride and air conditioning is quite good. A fellow traveller was ferreting around under a luggage area and found a power point to charge his phone. Three times the train had to slow for trackworks and once for bad track, I think by the way the train was moving around. Still, it reached Geelong only one minute late. It was a 52 minute trip with three stops along the way. (I assumed Vlocity trains had diesel engines connected to electric generators. Is this not the case? They are direct drive through a fluid transmission?)

Odd building just out of the station.

It appears the repairs to Melbourne's embarrassing large ferris wheel are complete. 

We kind of know Ryrie Street in Geelong and the waterfront, but little else. When Sister lived there, we usually just drove straight through, as we do now when going to The Bellarine. Malop Street proved to be quite interesting with lots of shops. I had no idea Geelong had so many fine, preserved and restored buildings. I won't bore you with them all but here are a few.


I have since read that a mayoral candidate wants to increase the building height limit in Geelong City. No, no and no. Nothing should take away from the existing buildings, least of all  glass towers.

We had some lunch and I bough a new pair of jeans in Myer. I was looking at them and I then said to R that I wasn't in the mood for clothes shopping. I seldom am. Then I saw a sign that said they were 25% off, so I decided I was in the mood for clothes shopping, tried them on and bought them.

We wandered around the shops for a bit. Had the weather been better, we would have gone down to the waterfront. 

On the way back to the station we walked through Johnstone Park, with what must surely be one of the best rotundas in the world. In the small but very nice park, lots of birds were darting around at speed. I don't know the name of the breed. They just flew around constantly without landing.

Here we are, back at the station. To the left out of shot are the bus parking bays.

The station waiting room had some interesting photos. There are no longer passenger trains from the regional city of Geelong to the regional city of Ballarat. It is now a coach service but I think the railway line is still operational for freight.

The opening of the railway line in 1857.

A tram waits in the forecourt. That would have saved us a walk. I suppose there are buses now but who could be bothered working out which one to catch. How good would it have been to just hop on the tram for a couple of stops.

Our journey back took much longer and was not so pleasant. We had been allocated seats facing backwards. The elderly couple opposite us never stopped talking. The seats were incredibly uncomfortable.  As it was a conventional train with the engine up the front it was quieter than the Vlocity we travelled on earlier. I later worked out the carriage must have been about thirty years old and it was showing its age. The N Class engine appeared to be unable to go much faster than 100 km/h and even with one less stop on the return journey, it took its full 64 minutes, that is 12 minutes longer than the down trip. We did have to stop at Little River, while another train passed by. I think it is double track, so that seemed odd. However, it arrived at So Cross on time.

We really do need some new country engines and carriages. In spite of the noise level, maybe more of these Vlocity trains could replace the old engines and carriages. Perhaps 1st class needs to be added to them, or is the present 'quiet carriage' adequate?

I sent an sms to Sister who replied and inspired this post's heading, and to Bone Doctor about the outing. Bone Doctor replied she was doing a sports medicine clinic in Geelong and could have met us for lunch. Later Sister said, you could have caught a train to Pakenham if you wanted a train ride. Where Mother lives? No thanks.

I think next year the Geelong train will follow a new route via the regional rail link project line. I am pleased to have have travelled over the old route before it closed.Well, not actually closing but used differently.

14 comments:

  1. I used my free pass last year but upgraded to 1st class because it was a 8 hour trip to go to my sisters place near Coffs Harbour.
    I really enjoyed the trip, the seats were good the staff lovely but don' t eat the food, next time I will take a cut lunch and many snacks.
    Merle...........

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merle, we can't upgrade them here. Unfortunate. Yes, train food is rarely much.

      Delete
  2. Yes!! Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Castlemaine, Echuca etc are gorgeous rural cities to visit, having saved at least some of their best 19th century architecture. But Geelong was an important port so its waterfront is very special.

    I worked in Geelong for a while in the early 80s and have very fond memories of the place. More recently I have taken the grandchildren to see the Wool Museum, Art Gallery etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hels, I am perhaps more aware of the other places you mention than I was of Geelong. Wool Museum and the Art Gallery are on the list. Not enough time that day.

      Delete
  3. And what were the sizes of those jeans? *wink*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 86 waist, 82 leg, same as the last pair I bought two years ago.

      Delete
  4. I don't like the look of the Carlton Hotel, but all the other buildings look nice. I'm rarely in the mood for clothes shopping, even when the stuff I have is falling apart. 25% off MIGHT get me in the store, but I still might not buy anything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really did need the jeans River. The old were getting shabby. Sometime I will be in the mood and buy a lot at once, but not often.

      Delete
  5. 25% is always a good incentive to BUY!! I'm thinking you may have a 'thing' about trains :)) maybe when you come over to Perth you should come via the Nullabor, takes three days I think!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vehicles that run on rails, really Grace. I may well do that trip when I am retired.

      Delete
  6. Three days to cross the Nullabor? I hope the train has a power socket to recharge my kindle, if not I'll stick with planes. I'd like to experience the train across or back at least once.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They would have to have power points River. Like what about power for your electric razor? Oh, well hot rollers in your case perhaps.

      Delete
  7. I love that 'odd' building, it's the new NAB one. I will visit it in the Open House thing next year for sure

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ah, ok Fen. All the banks are settling at Docklands.

    ReplyDelete