Friday, 12 June 2015

Seymour: A Victorian Railway Town

Seymour Railway Station is located in central Victoria on the North East and Interstate railway corridor. First opened in 1872, it was a key railway depot for the Victorian Railways and at one time employed 245 men at the height of the railway era in 1950. Today, it still serves a busy role as the junction for the North East and Goulburn Valley Lines.

A Steamrail excursion train at Seymour Railway Station back in 23 July 1989.

My first visit to Seymour occurred back in the winter of 1989, while The Flying Scotsman was winding up on what had become an extended tour of Australia for our Bicentenary celebrations in 1988. Paralleling an R class Victorian Railways steam locomotive from Melbourne, the two trains arrived in Seymour and were turned in readiness for the return trip to Melbourne.

That's me back in 1989, the 17 year old train enthusiast in the acid-wash stretch denim jeans.

Back in those days, I was just 17 years old, and still in the early years of my railway photography skills. I had however advanced from a 110 mm pocket camera to a full size 35 mm automatic. Scanning these previously developed photos some 26 years later does not do anyway near enough of a good job compared to today's point-and-shoot digital cameras, but I'm glad I've kept them all just the same. It's just a pity I thought I'd never need the negatives again once my photos were printed.

The Flying Scotsman hauled many trips between Melbourne and Seymour during it's visit Down Under in 1988-89.

The Flying Scotsman of course was a standard gauge 4' 8-1/2" engine, and before the full standardization of the former 5' 3" broad gauge line between Melbourne and Albury on the New South Wales border, the Scotsman was limited to hauling excursion trains on the standard gauge line out of Melbourne. The broad and standard gauge lines paralleled each other just north of Melbourne, and Seymour became the perfect destination for daytrippers to witness one of Great Britian's finest locomotives in action.

You have to love 1989 workplace health and safety concerns. Train enthusiasts were free to wander all over the railway yard at Seymour to photograph the Flying Scotsman on its visit to Australia, so long as they didn't get hit by a train.

Seymour has long been a railway town, and today the former locomotive depot and roundhouse is used by the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre. It was already at work as early as 1983 in preserving and restoring Victoria's railway heritage, and today has a number of restored steam and diesel locomotives in operation, some of which are even hired out to private freight operators on a short term basis.

The Flying Scotsman taking on water from a tanker provided by the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre during it's Australian visit in 1989.

Seymour's railway precinct still looks much the same as in years gone by. Following the standardization of the North East Line to Albury, a third platform was added to handle trains on the broad gauge Goulburn Valley Line. The former goods yard is now used to stable V/Line intercity services to Melbourne, such as the Sprinter railcars I photographed when I last visited Seymour in 2011.

A V/Line Sprinter railcar ready to depart for Melbourne, photo 2011.

Platforms 1 and 2 still ooze of that railway atmosphere of years gone by, and visiting Seymour again all those years later takes on a surreal feeling when you have two impatient teenagers waiting in the car.

Platform 1, Seymour Railway Station, Victoria, Australia 2011.

With trains still coming, going and being restored, its safe to say that Seymour will remain an important Victorian railway town for many years to come. Only I might be waiting a long while for The Flying Scotsman to return. Seymour was just one of the many locations featured in my book 30 Years Chasing Trains, available now exclusively through the links below.

100 pages. Full colour print & eBook version available exclusively through

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