Re: Dinner at the Mail Exchange?
  Yuri Sos

Well we all ended up in gaol tonight....... the former Bourke Street West Police Station, built in 1887, closed in 1970.

Converted into a restaurant and nightclub called "Paladin" in the 80s, the scene of much hedonism as I recall (anecdotally of course!) - was actually owned by a mate of mine.

Now rebranded as the "Royal Melbourne Hotel", it provided us with a suitable venue as our previously regular hotel had closed. In fact it was so suitable, service, amenity, environment and price wise that the attendees thought it could well become the TDU's regular "depot".

Ok enough of the preamble. The Royal Melbourne is in Bourke Street between Spencer and King Streets. Thanks to Marcus Wong's site "Tram Detective", I was alerted to an unusual off-route working on route 96 and, as luck would have it, the tram passed by us just as we were ordering dinner.

A2.299 is running a route 96 service from St Kilda to East Brunswick, a route normally dominated by C2 and E classes, and pauses at the Bourke & Spencer Street stop, the former Mail Exchange with its elegant Grecian columns at right and the brutal and ugly Southern Cross station in the far background (such a contrast of public buildings):
(2,000 x 1,250 pxl; 1.37MB)

After a convivial evening of good food, drink and company it was homeward bound. While waiting for my 109 home, 299's sibling, A2.300 was off to North Balwyn on a route 48 service, departing the Collins ant Spencer Street stop:
(2,000 x 1,250 pxl; 1.33MB)

B2.2108 on a "Not taking passengers" service prepares to tackle Batman Hill in Collins Street heading west:
(2,000 x 1,250 pxl; 1.29MB)

Gallery at