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Today's historic photo of the day: A 3-car 'Hitachi' electric train with car 3M nearest the camera sitting under the train shed at the railway station at St Kilda, Vic, 35 years ago today, December 22 1985.
St Kilda station was the terminus of one of Australia's earliest and shortest railways. Built in 1857 by the Melbourne and Hobsons Bay Railway Company, the broad gauge (1600mm) line from Melbourne Flinders Street was just 4.5km in length.
For most of its 130 year life, the St Kilda railway operated as a self-contained service with short trains shuttling back and forth between Flinders Street and St Kilda via South Melbourne, Albert Park and Middle Park. Trains did at times inter-operate with the Sandringham line via platforms 10 and 11 at Flinders Street.
For a very short time from 1859 to 1860, a second line operated out of St Kilda Station across to Windsor. It would have run across the field of view here and across to the left. This line fell into disuse once the direct line from South yarra to Windsor opened in 1860 and was dismantled shortly thereafter.
The Melbourne to St Kilda line closed to train services at the end of July 1987 after 130 years of continuous service. Much of the route from Flinders Street was converted to a 'light railway' by re-gauging track and re-using overhead wiring.
Here at St Kilda, route 96 trams now run more or less along the alignment of the siding in the foreground and call at a pair of low level tram platforms to the left of the train shed, then continue on by turning right onto Fitzroy Street and running around via the Esplanade to Acland Street.
This historic station building still stands although it was damaged by fire in 1989 and has been significantly re-built over the intervening years and now houses an array of bars, restaurants and retail outlets.
Hitachi trains, the first of which had entered service in 1972, continued to run on Melbourne's electrified suburban network until the last was withdrawn in 2014.
Source: Australian Rail Maps
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