Friday, July 01, 2005

Spirit of Progress

Today I travelled on "The Spirit of Progress" to Seymour. This was a special steam train ran by Steamrail Victoria for the June/July school (and uni) holidays. Over these holidays a number trips are being run to places such as Traralgon, Bacchus Marsh and Seymour. The consist for the train was R761-PCP292-BZ269-BS206-BRS9-BS2-BK700. Photos online at my fotopic site.

I asked my friend Daniel to come along and he arrived bleary eyed at my house at the ungodly hour of 8.30 am. From there we managed to bum a ride to the station in time to catch the 8.38 train to the city. in order to get to Footscray where the special was departing from we needed to change trains in the city, I decided Parliament would be the best place to do this. We boarded the first train to arrive on platform 3, which was supposedly only going to Flinders Street. On arrival at Flinders Street we discovered it had become a Sydenham train so we got back on and were soon on our way to Footscray.

We arrived at Footscray with nearly 20 minutes before the scheduled departure time of 9.57am. The first thing I noticed was the lack of a crowd waiting. More people did arrive towards departure time, but there were not as many as I thought there would be. Pretty soon the train steamed around the bend and had pulled into the platform. Once on board we bought tickets at the kiosk and found ourselves in a comfy compartment of ex Westcoast Railway car BS206.

Pretty soon we were pulling into the platform at Sunshine to pick up more passengers. After the short stop we were again on our way towards Albion where the train would take the goods line towards Broadmeadows. Soon after entering the goods line we came to a halt for about 15 minutes for what we were latter told was a point failure further down the line.

After an extremely short stop at Broadmeadows at around 15 minutes behind schedule, we left the wires and were making progress north towards Seymour. Along the line between Broadmeadows and Cragieburn prepatory works were under way for electrification. Soon after Cragieburn we passed through Donnybrook, then Wallan, followed in quick succession by Heathcote Junction, Wandong and Kilmore East. A few minutes after that we passed through Broadford followed some time latter by Tallarook. It wasn't long before we slowed down for the Goulburn River bridge and arrival in Seymour only about 15 minutes behind Schedule at about 12.30pm.

Not long after arrival the train cleared the platform and made it's way to Seymour loco where R761 could be turned, serviced and re-attached to the other end of the train. Unfortunately it was raining when we arrived so it was a bit wet to be standing around taking photos, so we made our way across the road to the bakery where we had lunch. Unsatisfied we then found a fish and chip shop to get some chips. By the time we left the fish and chips it had stopped raining. For the next half an hour or so we hung around the station and saw the midday (ex melb) down Albury train arrive and depart. Just after 1.30 our train had docked in the platform and everyone went nuts taking photos of the loco. After a few minutes of this we decided to find our compartment and settle in for the return journey.

Departing Seymour at 2.02pm (2 minutes down) the return journey was uneventfull, the exception being a short unscheduled stop at Heathcote Junction. We arrived at Footscray near enough on time at around 3:43pm. After everyone had de-trained the train made it's way back to North Melbourne. From Footscray we caught an up Werribee spark to Spencer Street and changed there (via new concourse) to the 4:13pm down Eltham.