With the morning having been spent successfully recording the arrival of the loco-hauled services into Southern Cross, and a tasty light-lunch had in tourist centric St Kilda, we decided to find a different location to record the afternoon departures from Southern Cross (rather than use La Trobe Street again). Under the guidance of fellow enthusiast Ernie, we settled on a bridge at West Footscray that showed us all traffic running to/from the Bendigo and Ballarat lines, as well as all of the North/West traffic on the standard gauge.
Within a few minutes of arriving, the signals on the up freight lines to Dynon flipped over to clear, and NR66 and NR99 rolled through with 2XW4 loaded SteelLink service from Port Augusta. The trains eventual destination would be Port Kembla – indeed, as this train is a daylight runner into Sydney, we were certainly familiar with it, although it was interesting to look at the loading that normally comes off in Melbourne. Only ten minutes after its passing, A66 returned to our lenses, racing north with 8129V, bound for Bacchus Marsh. A70 would appear at the head of a similar service at 1700, very nearly crossing fellow Victorian broad gauge veteran X37 arriving on the goods lines with a selection of wagons recently repaired in Geelong.
Shortly before leaving the footbridge, P17 and P18 worked a push-pull Sunbury service past our location at 1724, followed ten minutes later by classmates P16 and P14 on a Bacchus Marsh service. With word that the down freight to Tocumwal was due to depart Dynon in approximately an hour, we gave up our perch and relocated to the famous Bunbury St tunnel entrance.
Our arrival at 1808 could not have been timed any better, with A81, P20 and A78 growling into the tunnel within seconds of our arrival! Good thing we didn’t walk any slower from Footscray Station (the tunnel is only a five to ten minute walk down Bunbury Street from the station – a must visit location in Melbourne for the railfan). Only four minutes after “the down Toc” cleared the tunnel, N470 rolled through with the down Albury passenger service on the adjacent track. It was at this point that we bid farewell to Ernie, as he was moving to a different photospot on the far side of the river which offered a better view of arriving trains, while we were content to sit in the shade and sweat out the last few minutes of the (baking hot) day.
A sadly graffiti marred LDP005 led LDP004 north with 3MB7 at 1836, while 9318V empty quarry train to North Melbourne arrived at 1859 behind X44 and X41. The up Melbourne XPT from Sydney (another familiar train) arrived a little after 1900, followed by our final sighting of the day – the P&O Trans Australia freight from Horsham, behind S311, GML10 and 8030. Typically, the two units we wanted to photograph were tucked safely behind an S Class we’d seen plenty of times in P&O service in NSW!
Content with our haul, we packed up our gear and walked back to Footscray Station, keen for a quiet dinner and a good night’s sleep!
Those of you that come for the pictures and stay for the text will notice that there are some photographs missing – due to the nature of the Bunbury St location, it’s less than ideal for catching southbound traffic into Melbourne. I did try a couple of shots for the arrival of the quarry train and the XPT, but they didn’t work as well as they could have. The shot of the P&O train worked a little better, but I have some more ideas for inbound trains next time I use this location. As for the “missing” peak hour loco and freight trains at West Footscray, I don’t like uploading a lot of similar shots from one location, so I picked the better shots (basing my decision on the shot, not the “interestingness” of the movement), so apologies for any disappointment.