Last train through Murrumbeena a moment to be captured
An historic moment for railway aficionados quietly unfolded last night when the last train to travel on ground level tracks passed through Murrumbeena Station just before 9:00 pm last night (29 May).
Local photography enthusiast James Clarke, who's lived in Murrumbeena for six years, was there to capture the moment, along with his wife Vivienne, a musician.
A film camera buff from way back, James let the hobby lapse before using the level crossing project as inspiration for a new foray into digital photography.
He has since captured a unique visual record of the works through stills, timelapse and even video.
"Every time you go out there is something twice as impressive as the day before," he says.
"My favourite shots have been long exposures at night, where you get movement creating trails of light."
Around a dozen people gathered, cameras in hand, on platforms and at the level crossing, to witness the piece of history.
It’s the end of an era for the station, which opened nearly 140 years ago.
Not many people may be aware that the suburb’s identity and its railway station are interlinked: the name “Murrumbeena” was officially announced at the same time the station was opened back in 1879. Before that it had been a part of the wider Caulfield District.
The name ‘Murrumbeena’ in fact derives from the Aboriginal ‘Mirambeena’, which can be roughly translated as ‘land of frogs’. The name is evocative of a time when what is now inner-city Melbourne was covered in farmland and market gardens.
For James Clarke, this personal project to document the project through images is far from complete.
"For me it'll be finished when the park is in place,” he says, adding that he’s planning to put together a series of before and after photos.
“That's when I'll be able to close the book on it, when I can walk out my front door under the rail and go to the newsagent."
The Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossings Removal Project is removing nine level crossings, while rebuilding five stations and creating 22.5 hectares of new open space.
Buses are currently replacing trains on a section of the Cranbourne/Pakenham line as the last phase of intensive works begin to remove four level crossings in Carnegie, Murrumbeena and Hughesdale.