Thursday, 3 October 2013


when i was trying to decide which station to write about next, i had a few in mind, including embarking on a whole new adventure to an entirely new station (like something on the gold coast line), writing about the tennyson station which is sadly no longer used (and would be really handy for me it is was!), or something on the north side of brisbane since i am yet to write about any stations north of the river. i had even considered going as far as the tiny traveston station, the smallest station on the network with the lowest patronage, and one i am looking forward to visiting simply to help get the stats up for the station! i think it will be awesome to collect traveston and im looking forward to visiting that station because so few people have visited it. while i was close to writing about tiny traveston, instead, i decided that i would write about a station on the north side; one that is only open for special events a few days a year: including the brisbane ekka. yes, this time i am visiting the exhibition station! a station worthy of being the first to represent the north side of brisbane!

i thought this would be a nice station to visit since it is only open during the 10 days of the brisbane ekka and maybe if there is some other large event at the showgrounds. i figured that the odds of getting to collect the station were therefore pretty reduced unless i made a special trip to the ekka just for this blog. the ekka is a huge event for brisbane, and runs for 10 days in august each year. i had hoped to be able to publish this entry in august itself because the timing would have been beautiful, alas, with a lot of things going on at uni, work and life in general getting in the way, it wasnt possible to complete the story of my journey to the exhibition station until now. besides, august is now forever dedicated to my home station of dinmore!

the exhibition station is located on a side loop which joins roma street and fortitude valley stations.
before i proceed any further, i would also like to make a clarification: yes, on the translink map the exhibition loop is in grey: so one would think that i should be putting the exhibition station name in grey too. however, you tell me what looks better when talking about a fun event: the exhibition or the exhibition? i thought it was a no brainer: and i also figured that this teal like color is appropriate since it was the color on the television monitor at central station that told me that the next train coming was an exhibition service. so if this causes confusion amongst oh ye few who are reading this: i am sorry, but really, get over it!

since i didnt grow up in brisbane, it has never been a huge part of my life or my family tradition to visit the ekka, so when i came to brisbane, it wasnt huge on the priority list of "things to do before you get your degree". still, i must admit i have been a few times throughout my studies and really enjoyed myself. however, each time i had been in the past few years, was always by car. this year i had a plan: visit by train, collect the exhibition station, and add it to my blog. there was a problem with that though: finding the time!!! (yes i know there is a ekka holiday, but it just wasnt an option this year with a few other things i had going on at the time.) as the ekka was nearing the end of its run for 2013, i was talking to my friend whose primary station is mitchelton, and he was saying how the exhibition station is the only station in zone 1 that he hadnt been to (and essentially that it would be a disgrace if i got to visit it before he did when he is a brisbane lad and i am as far from it as you could get!) i took that as a challenge, and i do love a challenge! 

a friend from work (jackie, her station is bowen hills) was also saying that she couldnt wait for the ekka to end, which i thought at first was a touch anti-cheerful. she proceeded to elaborate: the amount of people parking around bowen hills increases by many orders of magnitude during the ekka, there are more people on the train, and more people at her bowen hills station, there are noisy announcements, fireworks every night, more dust in the air and the heavenly aroma of cattle (you know what i mean, i smell it every morning at dinmore when arriving at the station when there are cattle in the pens....) all things considered, the ekka is great if you arent living next to it! with time running out and jackie excitedly counting down at work, i had to make my move, and did so one morning on my way to pace (well, obviously it wasnt exactly on my way, but it was a detour which ultimately didnt stop me getting to dutton park!)

this particular morning was one of multiple stations: dinmore to central, nothing too out of the ordinary there; central to the exhibition (yay! another new station!), exhibition to roma street (i didnt tag off here to officially collect the station, but it was a change of train) then roma street to dutton park on a beenleigh train. this is pretty typical of me, and my multi station adventures. it was a lot of fun, and made all the more exciting because i had a time curfew due to lectures starting at 11am and really didnt want to be late and walk in and have people stare thinking "late again, how typical."

when i arrived at exhibition station for the first time, i had no idea about the layout of the station, i mean, i had only ever seen the underneath of it from when i had walked under the tracks during ekka time. the first thing that struck me as different and interesting, was that there was no staircase and overpass from one platform to the other. i was utterly bemused, thinking it was going to be interesting to get photos from either side of the platform. nevertheless, i managed to execute my task with a little bit of assistance from the helpful and most likely bemused queensland rail staff who helped me in my quest. i think they must have thought i was on crack when i said i was writing a blog about trains and wanted to get a few photos of the platform and the trains. still, not only did i manage to get a few photos, i even got to go through the ekka to the other platform to get further photos. amazing! and the entire journey was free because it was still a continuous journey from central! utterly brilliant, and totally jewish! i must give a huge thankyou to the staff who kindly escorted me through the ekka from one platform of exhibition station to the other. im sorry i dont have their names, but if you do end up reading this, you were all awesome, and thankyou so very much for not thinking i was a total alien. 

without any further delay, here is my collection of photos from exhibition station, it is a modest collection, but i was only there for about 10 minutes all up and thats if you include my walking through the ekka itself (which was obviously not time used taking photos of trains and platforms!)

this shot was taken at central after i had tagged off my card and had a cup of tea with karen at our usual coffee shop, and i was on my way to class. i decided not to wait for that beenleigh train on platform 1, instead i caught the exhibition on platform 2! and see, i wasnt making up that the exhibition loop appears in teal!

this is the train that i arrived at the exhibition station on. as soon as i disembarked, i got a quick photo of the train on the exhibition platform. alas, you cant exactly tell that this is the exhibition station from the photo, but if you look closely in the train window, you will see the pirate ship ride! if you cant make it out you will have to take my word for it that this is the exhibition station!

the exhibition station sign, i had finally managed to get to one of the rarest stations on the network! ironically, you cant even tell that it is ekka time from this shot, and it looks like i just randomly somehow stumbled across the station. this was actually a very deliberate journey however, and one i will have to wait until at least august 2014 to make again if i choose to (possibly to get even more photos to add to this blog entry!)
im not sure why the exhibition name is written in italics, this is the same situation as dinmore and norman park. i would love an explanation, and i probably should have asked the queensland rail people i spoke to on this particular day, as i am very interested to know why they have chosen to not optimize the size of the font on the sign. without my glasses on, the name is almost totally invisible.

the ekka at the exhibition station. now this is more like it! this shot shows some of the rides and captures a bit of the atmosphere of the ekka as seen from the platform of the exhibition station. the tracks to the station do a loop, so this shot is looking back towards roma street from where the train had come. i managed to get the exhibition sign in the shot too, though not at the best angle for legibility.

after the train left, i got a shot from the platform looking across towards the other platform. i didnt see any numbering on the platforms when i was there to know what is platform 1 and what is platform 2. it really was a bizarre experience, and one i wish i had had just a little more time to enjoy and get a few more photos to cherish. at least the exhibition sign is visible in this shot! i think that the white fence in the background is part of where the cattle are unloaded for the ekka, as i remember that the cattle arrive by both truck and train for the event and i think that this is the only station designed to accommodate livestock (other than perhaps the stations at the port of brisbane, but i dont think they count as stations, and i doubt i will ever get to see the port anyway, though i would actually really enjoy seeing it!)

looking across the exhibition station at the other platform (i didnt notice any numbers on the platforms, so ill have to wait until next year to go back again and check on this fact). i wanted to capture the tracks as well as the platform and the shelter on the platform, and managed to get a bit of ekka history in the photo as well, the old brick building, according to karen, is incredibly old and is rather iconic of the ekka. i can remember when she took me to the ekka we walked through a lot of large pavilions. i think the large building in the background is one of the grandstands overlooking the main arena, though i could be wrong. i didnt really get to have a good look at the ekka as i walked from one platform to the other with a queensland rail person. i did however get to walk through the ekka for free because of this blog - not a bad effort! the tracks in the foreground at the bottom of the shot will lead back towards roma street station, and if following them to the left of the shot will continue on to fortitude valley.

i was talking to the queensland rail staff just before i took this photo, and explained that no, i had not caught the train to the exhibition station to go to the ekka, but that i just wanted to get photos of the exhibition station. i am sure they thought i was joking at first, but then i saw this train approaching from fortitude valley, and excitedly snapped this shot. i think it was at this point that the staff believed i wasnt joking in my request to get to the other platform to take some more photos of exhibition station!

and of course the driver began to flash the lights on the train, so i had to try to capture that (and fail, but i at last attempted and i dont want to not include any of my photos in my blog. i am pretty useless as a photographer but i am hoping to improve with each station i visit!) this exhibition train is approaching exhibition station from the fortitude valley station. it will stop at exhibition and continue on to roma street station. because i was still excitedly snapping pictures of this exhibition train on the platform i arrived on after coming from roma street, i was going to be a no chance to catch this train back to roma street to change trains for a beenleigh to get to pace.  

i waited as long as i could for the exhibition train to come into descent view so i could see the train number and clearly read that it was an exhibition train arriving at the exhibition station. the queensland rail people kindly escorted me through the ekka after i got this photo, so that i could change platforms to get some more photos. i could have stayed on the platform i had arrived on and traveled to fortitude valley, then central, then roma street if i had wanted to and change to a beenleigh train on any of those stations, however, my goal is to get as many photos of each station as i can from each platform and include a train. so far i had photos of one platform and a train for exhibition station, the only way to rectify that was by walking through the ekka...

after successfully navigating the crowds of people and loud cheerful noises that are associated with the ekka (and if you live near bowen hills like jackie form work - those irritatingly cheerful sounds!) the queensland rail man hoped i would mention how awesome they are, and i hope that if my previous blogs havent shown how awesome the trains and the network are, hopefully this entry and future entries will convey this message! i actually got to walk under the exhibition line with the lovely chap who was probably still bemused that anyone would embark on such a project as visiting every station on the translink network. 
as we emerged from under the exhibition line, and rounded a bend, this is what came into view. i was excited and naturally the camera came out - i am almost as bad as my asian friend who will laugh that she has been mentioned considering she doesnt catch the train very often! one thing i really like about this shot is that it shows a large map of the translink network - the same map that has appeared as a link in a number of my blog entries so far. it also shows the color coded lines that i have been trying to follow for this blog. (well i have actually followed them until this entry, but i showed earlier why i have changed color for this station.)
another awesome thing about this shot is that it has exhibition station departure platform in a nice large font i can actually read without my glasses! i do notice that it doesnt have a platform number, so perhaps the exhibition station platforms are unnumbered. it certainly seems as thus, and until i can get back to this station, the platforms shall remain numberless in this entry.

the city exhibition train arrives on an unnumbered platform at the exhibition station. i was due to be i class so i didnt have much time to get many photos from this platform, though i wasnt going to go to pace without getting a few shots first. in this photo i even managed to get a hint of the ekka festivities on this shot where the euroslide managed to photo bomb my shot of the exhibition train arriving from fortitude valley.

the exhibition train has arrived at the exhibition station (platform unnumbered) i seriously considered catching this train back to roma street, but decided against it, instead deciding to photograph it instead! i knew i would be cutting it fine for class, but i was having fun, and i figured i would roll the dice and if i missed a beenleigh at roma street, i could get a cleveland or a gold coast and walk from park road. this shot shows the exhibition train on the platform looking in the direction of the fortitude valley station.

the same train, the same platform, this time the exhibition train in the direction of roma street station. its a shame i didnt get more of the platform in this shot, as you cant really tell this was the exhibition station apart from the token thrill ride that has photo bombed my shot and looks like it protruding from the top of the train....

after the exhibition train left on its way to roma street without me, i got this shot of the other platform (the one i arrive on) and the thrill rides of sideshow alley which was alive and well with excited patrons (or noisy as jackie would say) even at this hour of the morning. i can remember years ago when i was a child i was at a fair with my mother who was not of the strongest of stomachs, and she was watching people on a ferris wheel. watching the ride go around in circles was enough to make her nauseous and she vomited with motion sickness without moving an inch. naturally, i am not the best on these rides either, and am actually terrible in a bus, be careful if you are ever on a bus with me. look for the one at the front with an ice-cream bucket, that will be me! i am however, quite ok on trains, which is just as well, as i like trains! it is unlikely that my next journey to exhibition station will include me actually participating in any of the unnecessarily nauseating activities of sideshow alley (i am including thrill rides and questionable food in the one category here); though stranger things have happened! i guess youll just have to wait and see!

with this shot, i bid farewell to the exhibition station. there is a lot of construction work going on and the plans are to make things more modern (ie bigger and better) though i know people like karen are sad to see change, shes a lot like me, we dont cope well with changes. i remember her telling me about the toilet block near the cattle pavilion where you can get up close and personal with prize winning livestock as they rest in their pens. she proudly relayed that she has been using the same toilets for the last 4 decades and it will be a shame when and if these are ever replaced. she said that there would be a lot of people who have been going to the ekka longer than her, but i like to think her history with the ekka is pretty interesting, she has relatives who have won prizes for some of the main events including her uncle for his shetland ponies. while i dont have a huge history with the ekka, or the exhibition station, i am glad to have visited it now, as this is a station with a lot of history for a lot of people and it signifies something cheerful, something that makes people happy and gives people something to look forward to in the back half of the year where holidays are at a premium. (even if it is loud, and has a certain air of agriculture about it if you live to close to it!)
i can only but hope that when the construction is completed that the old fashioned feel of the brisbane ekka is not lost for the people who have been coming for decades since they were young children and now bring their own children and grandchildren to the same place, use the same exhibition station, show them the same pavilions, and if they are lucky, even use the same toilets!

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