Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The Gippslander

Gippsland is a region in our State of Victoria to the east of Melbourne and stretches to the New South Wales border. The Gippslander is one of the trains that services the area. I say this advisedly, as it has not serviced the section from Traralgon to Bairnsdale for many months because of train detection problems at level crossings. It is almost unbelievable that it has taken this long to restore the service. There was clearly no will to rush. It has finally began to run again from the 31st of October. The locals must be excited by its return.

I decided to make a trip to Warragul by train. I have strong childhood memories of Warragul. It was where my father's solicitor and bank were and in the early days of us living it Gippsland, a weekly shopping destination. It was also a stopping point for a break on the journey from my grandparents in Oakleigh and the farm north of Warragul.

Never mind the FKN line, what about my train? The text does not quite fit the board. The Traralgon train is at 11.30 but I initially saw it as 1.30. The train left on time, 11.30 and arrived on time, 12.57. The time passed quickly.


This train is not in service and at a new platform that is not yet in service.


I am on the train. I expected it to be a Vlocity train, but it was a Sprinter, same sort of thing, but older. I have never been on a Sprinter train before and although the seats were comfortable, there was a terrible squeaking. The podcast I was listening to could not drown out the noise, although my podcast did drown out the conductor when he asked to see my ticket. He quite aggressively tapped me on the shoulder three times. People travel on these Sprinter trains for long periods. The squeaking really was intolerable. I could have moved towards the back of the train, full of kids, but I thought the squeaking was the less of two evils. It is probably time that Sprinters were replaced.


A woman left her pram in the luggage area while she tried to deal with her five children under five. She did not put the pram brake on. It rammed the suitcase belonging to to the woman above a few times as it sailed back and forth  with the train braking and accelerating. I hope the woman above did not have ├ęclairs in her suitcase.



I alighted at Warragul Station. After our Geelong train trip when the down Vlocity travelled quite fast maybe at 160km/h, I looked at google maps on my phone to see if it could measure speed. Apparently not, so this time I was armed with a speed measuring app. Top speed of the Sprinter, above, was 120 km/h.


I existed the station and walked down to the main street at the corner of Queen Street and Smith Street. I don't remember this clock being there.


In the late 19th century many of the timber shops and businesses were burnt down, in one case a whole street going up. The buildings that replaced were mostly fine Victorian buildings and many of them survive.


I think this used to be called the Criterion Hotel. It is now La Porchetta, a pizza restaurant.


The Shire Hall, which I expect when I was young, was the Shire Hall. It now houses a museum and the local historical and genealogy societies.


My childhood memories of the bridge over the railway line are defective. It is not nearly as steep or as twisting as I remembered it to be.


This was and still is a solicitors office. I remembered the wrought iron fencing.


One of these shops or where the new shop is was a restaurant and Mother has since reminded me, soup, a delicious roast main course and a fine desert for 6 shillings. The food arrived, much to our fascination, in a dumb waiter from below. The staff below sent the food up and the serving staff hauled on the thick rope to sent the used dishes back down.


Pretty roundabout. Not so pretty modern shops.


The war memorial surrounded by a nice garden. There were lots of annual flowers in beds in Warragul. You rarely see them nowadays.


Warragul is located within the Shire of Baw Baw and the Shire has a no smoking policy in shopping areas as well as many other areas. I think it is somewhat overkill, but I must say, it was nice to not see butts lying around on the footpaths.


I headed out of town for a bit. Guess what this? Wrong. It was but it has a another use now.


Quite a reasonable view as I climbed the hill to the north of the town.


This may or may not be an operating church.


See the chimneys on the other side of the valley? When we were kids my brother and I were convinced they burnt bodies there. They are actually the hospital's boiler chimneys.


This scene looked ok to my eyes, but clearly not the camera lens. There are some very nice houses. It is such a contrast to the similarly aged town of Moe, about 20 minutes away. It feels like there is some wealth in Warragul, not so in Moe.


Melbourne's rhododendrons have pretty well finished flowering now. It is a good bit cooler in Warragul and so they bloom later. Behind is part of the Baw Baw Shire offices and arts complex.


Where does this attractive looking path go? You will see in the second part of my journey.


21 comments:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful trip down memory lane.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was rather, Diane.

      Delete
  2. The worst problem with some of these services is that there is no first class carriage available. Honestly.

    As for the timetable signs on platforms... designed by the designers of myki [or the same abilities] and operated by... never mind.

    I did travel on this line once last year. 2 mins before departure an announcement that there were less carriages and seat bookings no longer applied. What a dog's breakfast. Then had to change to bus. Oy!

    Of course the line was never a priority. The people who live there are only people, not major corporations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FC, once these old locos and carriages are retired, it seems there won't be first class at all. Look for the quiet carriage on some VLocity trains.

      There is a change underway, that is more people who could drive, but choose to use the train, will not put up with crap as you described.

      I hate to say it, but my experience of VLine is old people, kids and the socially disadvantaged. This is what needs to change.

      Delete
    2. "This is what needs to change."
      So how do you propose old people, kids and the socially disadvantaged get around? should there be a separate train and bus service just for us so that you are not inconvenienced? As we already are by age, infirmity, serious lack of cash often through no fault of our own?

      Delete
    3. River, I don't mean to exclude them, but the groups I mention are not generally politically powerful. I mean people of influence need to be attracted to trains, the suits if you like and that is not going to happen when a substandard service is offered. The train is no competition with a car for the same trip. Unless it is, people who have cars will still use them and choose to use the train. I can't believe that the train can't be quicker than a car, but it isn't.

      Delete
    4. aha, suits, now I understand your meaning.

      Delete
  3. Your train adventure sounds very familiar to me, the trains in Belgium are like the Russian Roulette, you never know if they are late, if they are on time or if there is a strike ! Or they change platforms all the time ! There is always something. I had to laugh about the name of this Pizzeria, Porchetta means a piglet in Italian !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gattina, our train system is much worse than yours, believe me.

      Isnt' the French word for pig similar? I kind of knew it meant pig in Italian, but you say it is piglet, a young pig.

      Delete
    2. Traditional Italian Pork Recipes that vary from region to region. One of the country's treasured "national foods".

      Delete
  4. I have no memories of any of these areas, but I know that we lived in Gippsland and Moe when I was very young. I remember the names from hearing stories my dad told. This would have been just before coming to Adelaide I think. It looks like a lovely area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River, so you can't actually remember living in Moe? I lived there for a year or so. No doubt your father would have been familiar with the town of Trafalgar and what it sounded like when said backwards. As kids, we though Trafalgar was the only place with that name.

      Delete
    2. I believe we were only there for a short time after leaving the immigration camp at Bonegilla.

      Delete
  5. La Porchetta is a cancer, ugh!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most are Fen, but the South Yarra one is pretty good. We've eaten Pakenham, South Oakleigh and St Kilda and none of those were much.

      Delete
    2. I've had food poisoning 3 times from 2 different ones, never again :(

      Delete
    3. Fair enough. That isn't good.

      Delete
  6. La Porchetta boomed right from the first one that opened.
    My Ballarat rhodos are still looking magnificent. The one in your photo looks pretty healthy.
    Fruitcake your train experience is familiar to me too.

    I know what your "guess this building" is.
    Looks like you had a great day, thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ann, we were at Mt Macedon last week, future post, and the rhodies were glorious. I forget what guess this building actually is. Something community, I guess.

      Delete
  7. Some of the Victorian buildings are really lovely! The pub with the lacework on the veranda looks original; the solicitor's office looks like a terrific Victorian railway station; the houses seem to be in excellent condition and there is lush vegetation everywhere. Well done Warragual

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hels, I think it is quite a community oriented and wealthy town and it shows. A little further along is the tiny town of Yarragon, which has made itself into an arts and food destination.

    ReplyDelete