Thursday, 15 October 2015

Geelong: A 19th Century Survivor

Geelong is the second largest city in the state of Victoria with a surviving Nineteenth Century railway station that dates back to 1876. Yet the first railway station to open in the city was a private affair, constructed in 1856 as the end terminus of the Geelong and Melbourne Railway Company. Just 3 years after opening, the company was running at a loss and was sold to the Victorian Government in 1860 for the huge sum of 800,000 Pounds. When the Victorian Railways began extending the Geelong Line west to Colac in 1876, Geelong Station was rebuilt in its present location alongside Gordon Avenue.

Geelong boasts one of only two surviving train sheds in the state of Victoria, photo 2015.

What makes Geelong Station unique, is the cast iron footbridge that sits beneath one of only two surviving 19th Century train sheds in Victoria, the other one being found in the city of Ballarat.

A Warrnambool passenger service waiting for a clear line through the single track South Geelong Tunnel, 2015.

Although a modern wheelchair-friendly lift and pedestrian overpass now links platforms 2 and 3, it is located at the southern end of platform 1, leaving the historic character of Geelong Station relatively untouched.

An Southern Cross bound train arriving at Geelong through the South Geelong Tunnel, July 2015.

Another interesting characteristic of the Geelong Railway Station precinct is that it boasts one of the few active railway tunnels in the state of Victoria. The 422 metre long South Geelong Tunnel is single tracked and connects with South Geelong and the remainder of the Warrnambool Line. Southbound trains are often forced to wait at Geelong for an arriving Melbourne bound service.

A Velocity Train bound for Southern Cross arrives at Geelong Station, July 2015.

Geelong Railway Station lies on the 270 km long line to Warrnambool, and sees regular commuter train services to Melbourne's Southern Cross Station. The line originally ran 297 km south west to the town of Port Fairy, with a cross-country connection leaving the line at Koroit and joining to the Portland Line in the west of the state. Today, Velocity services operate over the Geelong Line between Waurn Ponds and Southern Cross Station, while freight trains and a twice daily passenger service run all the way to Warrnambool. But if stepping back in time to a by-gone era of Victoria's railway history is your thing, then Geelong may just be your destination.

Geelong Railway Station is still oozing that Victorian Railways charm from yesteryear, July 2015.

And what's that I can see through the waiting room windows on platform 1?

The Spontaneous Express Cafe in Geelong Station's waiting room. Photo taken July 2015.

Yes, Geelong Station still has an operating Railway Cafe. I think I have just enough time to grab a cappuccino before catching the next train back to Melbourne.

Geelong was an amazing destination to visit on my 3 day railway adventure around Melbourne. From Gembrook to Geelong and the MCG, I covered 365 km by train in just 72 hours while exploring some of Greater Melbourne's most scenic locations. If you enjoyed reading this post, then for just 99 cents I know you will enjoy discovering the history, facts and funny stories I unearthed while exploring Melbourne from the window of a train. What happens when you cross 83 brightly coloured bathing boxes, a much-travelled cottage, a band from Little River and a 9 story shot tower? You get this self-guided railway adventure that is the perfect companion for exploring Melbourne from the comfort of a train.

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