Alamein railway line, Melbourne

Alamein railway line, Melbourne

VictorianRailwayLineInfobox
type = mel
name = Alamein
yearcommenced = 1890
yearcompleted = 1948
yearclosed =
fate =
lengthkm =
stations =6
tracks = Double track to outside Ashburton, single track beyond
users = Connex Melbourne
servicepattern = Shuttle to Camberwell station offpeak, stopping all stations to city in peak
RollingStock = north
connections = Belgrave and Lilydale lines
formerconnections =

The Alamein railway line is a suburban electric railway in Melbourne, Australia. It serves part of the City of Boroondara, to the east of the central business district. It has 6 stations and branches from the Belgrave and Lilydale lines at Camberwell station. It is entirely within Metcard ticketing Zone 1.

Description

The Alamein line head south from Camberwell across gentle hills, with some moderately heavy earthworks. The line crosses under or over several roads by means of bridges, and only has two level crossings, one of which carries tram tracks, one of four such tram/train crossings in Melbourne. The area served by the line is fully built up and a mostly residential area.

The line is operated as a shuttle service between Camberwell and Alamein stations during off-peak periods, while trains run the whole distance to Flinders Street Station during peak hours.

Infrastructure

The line is double-tracked from the junction at Camberwell station to just before Ashburton station; changing to a single track for the rest of the distance, a short enough section that it is not a serious bottleneck. The maximum permissible train speeds range from convert|65|km/h|mph|abbr=on|lk=on on most of the double track sections, to convert|40|km/h|mph|abbr=on on the single track, and a crawling convert|15|km/h|mph|abbr=on over the tram/train level crossing on the line.

There is a crossover point at Riversdale station, which allows trains to turn back when they cannot proceed. There are no stabling facilities on the line, although there is a single, rarely-used siding at Ashburton station. The city-bound track between Camberwell and Riversdale stations is signalled for two-way running. This is used by shuttle services when running at frequencies greater than 15 minutes.

History

:"For operation pre electrification in 1924 see Outer Circle railway line, Melbourne."

What is now known as the Alamein line was opened as the Outer Circle Railway between 1890 and 1891. The segment still in use today was opened on 24 March 1890.cite book
last = S.E. Doorman and R.G. Henderson
title = Electric Railways of Victoria
publisher = Australian Electric Traction Society
page = page 84
year = 1979
isbn = 0 909459 06 1
] By the 1900s only the Deepdene to Ashburton section of the original line was operational. Electrification of the Melbourne network also commenced at this time, with the Victorian Railways Commissioners deciding to include the Camberwell to Ashburton section of the Outer Circle in the project, the last steam train running on 29 October 1924 and electric trains commencing 3 days later.cite book
author = David Beardsell and Bruce Herbert
title = The Outer Circle: A history of the Oakleigh to Fairfield Park Railway
publisher = Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division)
year = 1979
page = page 63
isbn = 0 85849 024 2
]

The line from Camberwell to the terminus was single line with no crossing places provided, as single train running a shuttle along the line from Camberwell. Staff and Ticket safeworking was used, except between Camberwell and Riversdale when Lever Locking and Track Control was provided on 2 November 1924. Patronage and revenue on the line doubled after electrification, and on 12 October 1925 a 30 to 45 minute connecting service was provided to Ashburton.

From 26 November 1928 two trains were provided at peak hours, with Hartwell opened as a crossing station eight days before to permit this, a signal frame provided due to increased traffic in 8 December 1938.cite book
last = S.E. Doorman and R.G. Henderson
title = Electric Railways of Victoria
publisher = Australian Electric Traction Society
page = page 86
year = 1979
isbn = 0 909459 06 1
] Though trains to the city at peak hour were provided from 17 May 1934, though some through trains from the Kew line were deleted to provide train paths to the city. From 3 October 1938 the daytime off peak frequency was improved to 15 minutes.cite book
last = S.E. Doorman and R.G. Henderson
title = Electric Railways of Victoria
publisher = Australian Electric Traction Society
page = page 85
year = 1979
isbn = 0 909459 06 1
]

On 28 June 1948 the line extension to the new Housing Commission of Victoria‎ estate of Alamein was opened, with most trains extended to the new terminus, except for a minority that turned back at Ashburton. After World War II, as part of Operation Phoenix plans were drawn up to duplicate the line and provide a flyover connection at Camberwell. It was authorised in 1951, but was delayed due to funding issues and other competing projects.cite book
author = David Beardsell and Bruce Herbert
title = The Outer Circle: A history of the Oakleigh to Fairfield Park Railway
publisher = Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division)
year = 1979
page = page 67
isbn = 0 85849 024 2
] Earthworks were not completed until December 1958, with the extra platforms at Willison, Burwood and Riversdale also under way, track work being complete by October 1954. The first convert|2.2|km|mi|lk=on|sing=on long stage opened on 7 November 1954, from Hartwell to Ashburton stations, followed by the duplication and automatic signalling of the convert|1.6|km|mi|0|abbr=on Riversdale to Hartwell section on 31 July 1955. From 15 July 1955 Ashburton station ceased to be a regular terminus. However reduced loan funds for railway construction during 1955 and 1956 delayed the rest of the works, with the flyover and new line at Camberwell finally commissioned on 29 November 1959 . The last stage of the works had to wait until 8 November 1962 when automatic signalling was introduced between Hartwell and Ashburton, and the signal bay at Hartwell station closed.

In 30 November 1959 off peak services on the line were cut to 20 minutes during the day and about 35 minutes at night, and on 23 October 1961 the Saturday frequency was cut to every 40 minutes. From 26 February 1968 Alamein trains ran at 23 minute frequencies during working hours, otherwise every 46 minutes. A one car Tait train took over the service on Sundays, the train guard selling tickets as station staff were withdrawn from every station except Ashburton, which remained open for safeworking reasons. From 9 July 1972 the service was cut to every hour on Sundays, and from 10 December 1973 it was changed to 20 minutes during the day and every 40 minutes at night and on Saturday afternoons. Through trains to Flinders Street off peak were provided from 20 January 1975 at a frequency of every 15 minutes Monday to Friday, with Box Hill trains running express from Camberwell.

Although moves were made to close the line or convert it to light rail in the 1980s, the Alamein line has remained open.

The line was also the first in the city to receive new Metlink-branded signage, including the new, blue colour-code for the train network, and signs directing passengers to connecting tram and bus services.

Cultural references

The Alamein line was the stage for an elaborate practical joke played on the residents of the area by comedian Barry Humphries. While on a train, Humphries was met at each station between Camberwell and Alamein by a waiter who would serve another course of an elaborate breakfast, much to the annoyance of the relatively conservative residents of the suburbs concerned.

Cartoonist Jeff Hook drew a daily cartoon for the newspaper The Herald Sun, and would often picture a station with the name "Doowrub". This was derived from reversing Burwood station's name. Burwood was also the home of former Premier Jeff Kennett.

Line guide

Bold stations are termini, where some train services terminate; "italic" stations are staffed.

Branches from the Belgrave and Lilydale lines at "Camberwell".

References

External links

* [http://www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au/route/view/1 Timetables]
* [http://www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au/maps_stations_stops/metropolitan_trains/alamein_line Official line map]
* [http://www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au/maps_stations_stops/metropolitan_trains Network map]
* [http://www.vicsig.net/index.php?page=infrastructure&section=lineguide&line=Alamein Statistics and detailed schematic map] at the [http://www.vicsig.net/ VicSig] enthusiast website


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