Then & Now: Bunbury Street Tunnel 1926


    By Mark Macdonald

    Bunbury Street was once a quiet little suburban street now transformed into a cut-and-cover tunnel. 

    In the 1920s, Victorian Railways embarked on a major project to improve the flow of freight and passenger trains through Melbourne’s western suburbs. The solution was to separate and add a new goods line from South Kensington to West Footscray. This bypassed the busy Footscray Junction and the goods yard and shipping sheds south of Dynon Road. 

    The construction involved a significant undertaking, starting west of Footscray, dipping under the existing rail line, and culminating in a tunnel under Bunbury Street itself. This tunnel was built using the cut-and-fill method and lined with concrete. Another smaller cutting on the eastern side led onto a steel bridge over the Maribyrnong River. 

    The project was massive, requiring the removal of 200,000 cubic metres of bluestone rock and soil, and a whopping 27,000 tonnes of concrete were poured for the tunnel lining. The new line, including the Bunbury Street tunnel, was officially opened on 21st October 1928. 

    Black and white image of tunnel under construction in the 1920s
    Historic image source, State Library of Victoria.
    Looking down train tracks toward city
    THEN & NOW
    THEN & NOW
    Column by Mark McDonald. If you like historical Then and Now photos of the west, follow

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