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THE GLEN IRIS LINE.
A WALK FROM BURNLEY TO OAK-
(FROM A CORRESPONDENT. )
With a flourish of trumpets the long- delayed Glen Iris line of railway will be opened on Monday, the 24th inst. As con- siderable public attention has been bestowed on this railway, and as a large extent of land all along the line has been bought by speculators, builders, et hoc genus omne, a short description may not be without in- terest to "land boomers" as well as to the general public.
Leaving the Hawthorn line a little beyond Burnley, the railway takes a curve through Richmond-park until it reaches the station of that name, whence it is continued through the park towards the Yarra, over which it is carried by a handsome bridge now nearly finished. Following for some distance the course of the river, we come through a short cutting to a station situated at a picturesque spot near the Yarra, and to be called Heyington. On one side are seen handsome villas with well- kept grounds, while on the other the river winds its way between willow-bordered banks until it is lost sight of among the trees. Leaving the course of the river, the line goes through a deep cutting, and emerges on beautifully undulating open country, with the pretty villas of Toorak on the west, while eastward are seen stretches of meadow-land, on which cows are quietly grazing. Then North Malvern station is reached, Mr. Glen's castellated mansion (at present occupied by the Mayor of Melbourne), embowered amid foliage, and the turrets of the late Mr James Fergusson'a house forming prominent features in the landscape. One new villa has already been built close to this station, and others
will no doubt soon follow.
We next pass through wide stretches of undulating land, with pretty villas peep ing here and there among the trees, till Toorak-road station is reached. Leaving this a good deal of filling up has had to be done, owing to the uneven character of the land. We then came to Tooronga station, which will be one of the principal stations on the line. There is already a fairly large population spattered over the pleasant spots of Malvern Vale, which will be served by this station, and two land agents, with a keen eye to the future, have put up offices close
A little further on there are a few hundred yards of excavation, not very deep, then some filling up, and then more excavation until we reach Gardiner station, where in large letters on a big board we are informed that this is "Glen Iris Heights." One land agent has already erected an office here, and though at present the immediate surroundings are wide meadows with cattle peacefully grazing thereon, we shall soon doubtless have pleasant villas dotting the landscape.
Passing some brick kilns we came in a little while to the junction of High-street and Malvern-road, where Glen Iris station has been placed. To the west on an elevated site the Gothic residence of the late Mr. Justice Kerferd, surrounded by well grown trees, is a prominent object, while there are several villas and cottages close to the station. Gradually ascending, we then reach Darling station, the approach to which from High- street is, however, not yet made. How the passengers are to get to and irom the station is a mystery at present. The scene here is very picturesque. On either side lie broad undulating stretches of meadow-land, with pleasant green of trees and hedges, now smiling in all the radiance of summer sun- shine, and anon dark with sweeping shadow as the cloud masses driftathwart the sky.
There is now a gradual but perceptible ascent in the line until we come to the next station, dignified by the name of Waverley, and so called, we presume, from its proximity to Waverley-road. A little further and we come upon a gang of navvies busily at work at the junction of the Glen Iris and Outer Circle lines laying rails and driving bolts, the din of hammer and chisel breaking the still- ness of the summer afternoon. Here there is a lovely prospect of far-reaching wooded hill and dale, and to the eastward the hazy outlines of the distant ranges
Beyond this, with abundant fruit-bearing orchards on either hand, we cross the broad Dandenong-road, then a long culvert over a creek, and follow along a stretch of line still on the ascent until, through dark belts of close-growing trees, the railway forms a junction with the main Oakleigh line, about half a mile from that rising township. Oak- leigh, with its turreted hotel standing out boldly amid the surrounding houses, will be an important place in the not very distant future. When the various converging lines of railway are opened and in full working, building operations will no doubt rapidly in-
crease, and the value of land rise in a cor- responding ratio. And so we come to the end of a pleasant breezy Saturday afternoon's walk, with fresh enjoyment of the many beauties of the world of nature.
Speaking generally, the line is well ad- vanced though there is still a good deal to be done in the erection of signals, very few of them having yet been put up. The stationmasters' and gatekeepers' houses, sheds, and other station accommodation are neat and substantial looking buildings. See- ing that, with the exception of the bridge over the Yarra, the work has been of a com- paratively easy nature, the cuttings not being very deep and the amount of filling up not being of great extent, the line might have been completed long ere this. The cause of delay is said to be the Yarra-bridge, but surely the difficulties met with there might have been foreseen and sufficiently pro- vided for. Again and again has it been stated to deputations of long suffering rate-
payers that the railway would be completed by a certain date, and again and again have these promises turned out to be baseless. The opening of the line will soon, however, be an accomplished fact, and the hills and vales of Glen Iris resound to the snort of the
Along the route at present there is not much population, and this, almost as a matter of course, owing to the want hitherto of con- venient railway communication. But nowhere round about Melbourne, than along the whole course of this line, is the scenery more delightful und picturesque. Beautifully undulating from the Yarra to Oakleigh, it is certain to be a favourite district for residence sites. At an easy distance from town, with the cool breath of the country air to re- energise the wearied pulses of the city man, it will not be long before handsome villas and rustic cottages are dotted over the landscape, and the meadows now lying quiet and peaceful in the summer evening's stillness become vocal with the laughter of happy childhood.
Thus far had we written, and never in own imaginings had we ever dreamed that travellers by this route would not be able to get from their homes direct to the busy metropolis. To our astonishment, however, we hear it bruited that the existing accom- modation at Prince's-bridge will not permit of any more trains starting from or coming into that station, and that for some time at least passengers by this long delayed and anxiously-waited-for line are not to have their full expectations satisfied, for they will require to change carriages at Burnley. This is, in truth, to taste of veritable Dead Sea fruit. Alas, for the speedy realisation of their fondest hopes of a pleasant home in the country, with quick and easy access to the city! Long-suffering human nature can bear a great deal, but there is a point where it rebels, and this, we are afraid, will be the last straw that breaks the camel's back. Is it, we would like to ask, absolutely necessary that the annoyance and delay of changing carriages should be borne? Can the present platform at Prince's-bridge not be lengthened and so arranged that the Glen Iris trains can arrive at and depart there- from? Let us hope that the ability and powers of contrivance of our railway en- gineers will be sufficient for the solving of this problem, and that the rejoicings at the opening of this important line will not be dimmed by any such shadow of fate.