Saturday, January 16, 2016

Nine Hours on a Train

A heritage train trip to Maryborough:
Early this morning we drove to Lara to board the train.
Most people on the train had travelled from Melbourne, although some were probably die-hards who got on at Newport at the crack of dawn.

Just outside Geelong the train had to stop because there was a fire beside the tracks somewhere in front of us. And although the emergency web site described the fire as small and safe, it was quite a while before the train line was re-opened and we could proceed. About an hour, in fact!

Eventually we were on our way. Next stop Ballarat! View inside our "heritage" saloon carriage:
Those two little kids did really well. They were on the train before us, so had at least a ten-hour trip. But they were quiet and happy all the way.

So why didn't we just get on the train in Ballarat? Because normally only goods trains run between Geelong and Ballarat, so it was a rare chance to be a passenger on this line.  Not that I managed to get a photo of Lal Lal station as we zoomed through:
That bluestone structure isn't even the main station building, just a shed of some sort beside it. Stay tuned to see the brilliant shot I got on the way back...

The people who got the best photos were probably in the convoy of cars that raced from crossing to overpass to bridge to vantage-point. At each such point, we saw them running back to their cars with their cameras. Between those points, we could at times see them racing along roads ranging from highways to dirt tracks, trying to get in front of the train before the next photo opportunity!

After losing many passengers at Ballarat (who were going to the Beer Festival), we continued on to Maryborough and its amazing station.

The undercover area of the platform is incredibly long.

What about the ceiling?
 Or the floor:

 It's an impressive building!
 Mark Twain visited it in 1895 (5 years after it was built), and apparently described Maryborough as "a railway station with a town attached". And Maryborough was three times as big then as it is now! I didn't get to judge for myself, as we had to make up the hour lost waiting for the fire, so there was no time to explore the town.  But the station was definitely worth seeing! 

Not your average station building.

Time to go home.
Stop in Ballarat to pick up the beer drinkers:

Zoom through Lal Lal station again:
The only down-sides to the day were that the air-con wasn't working properly in our carriage (and it was a pretty hot day) and that this window was filthy! I think for a scenic tour, they should have made sure that everyone could actually see the scenery.

Last stop for us, back at Lara at 7:30:
Then a one-hour drive home. The end of a very long day!


  1. It was a very interisting trip, didn't you feel like it was a trip along the past? Love the tile on the floor, very inspiring.

  2. I have heard about the amazing Maryborough station before - great photos! Love the timber ceiling & tiled floor. Might have to go for a drive and have a look one day.

  3. Shame about the windows. Is it a V-Line train?
    It takes me back to going to school on the train. You get a different view from that on the road!

  4. What does it mean when heritage carriages are modern in your memory? I was terrified crossing the grating to go between the compartmentalised carriages coming up from Traralgon in the '50s.

  5. Maryborough is a beautiful station building, we sometimes go there for lunch. A train trip is so very relaxing.