Saturday, August 7, 2010

Altona Loop - Seaholme, Altona & Westona Train Stations

The Altona Line started as a 1.1 km branch from the main Geelong line to serve Williamstown Racecourse (now Altona Coastal Park) on 6 Apr 1885. South west of the racecourse, the Altona and Laverton Bay Freehold and Investment Company was subdividing land. To make the land more attractive to buyers, the company built a private railway running from the Racecourse to the Altona Beach Station, a kilometre west of the current Altona station. Opened on 9 Nov 1888, passenger services ceased on 14 Aug 1890 after a lack of interest in property sales. From 17 Nov 1917, the Victorian Railways made an agreement with the new landowner, Altona Beach Estates, to work a limited service over the line on their behalf. The terminus of the line was also altered to the current Altona station. The land company incurred losses on the line every year, so by the 1920s sought to dispose of the railway. The Victorian Railways assumed control of the line on 1 Oct 1924. Electrification of the line was completed by 2 Oct 1926. Trains were operated as hourly shuttles from Newport. The line was extended to a newly-built station, Westona, on 20 Jan 1985 and then to Laverton on 11 April 1985.

There are now 3 stations in the Altona Loop: Seaholme, Altona and Westona. The Altona Loop has a single track that allows trains to run only in one direction at one time. The Public Transport Users Association has been campaigning for the duplication of these single-track sections to remove bottlenecks in the Werribee Line.

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There is a replica of a model train outside the Altona Train Station, which is besides Pier Street and a short walk to the beach.

Altona Train Station A

The Altona Train Station exhibits children drawings from local schools.

Altona Train Station Painting

The Seaholme Train Station is adorned by a significant number of mature Canary Island Palm Trees, which exude a tropical, coastal ambience.

Seaholme Train Station D

I have an unusual suggestion that the Hobsons Bay City Council may consider installing scultpures of gigantic, colourful, spotted mushrooms among these palm trees to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the landscape.

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The Westona Train Station is located besides Harrington Square and has 2 platforms unlike the Altona and Seaholme stations which have a single platform each.

Westona Train Station

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A separate railway track runs north of Altona's residential areas, used by V-Line trains aa well as metropolitan Werribee trains running express between Newport and Laverton train stations, bypassing the Altona Loop. Two train stations, Galvin and Paisley, used to be located on this track. When Altona Station was directly linked to Laverton through Westona in 1985, these 2 stations were closed and dismantled due to low usage.

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