V-Line train driver behind locomotive-shaped hedges at Melbourne’s Southern Cross station

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Ron Giri has been driving trains through Victoria for nearly half a century, but it’s his hobby that has recently caught the eye on social media.

The artist’s identity was shrouded in mystery, prompting internet sleuths to try to find out who is behind the hedge trimming.

But now the mystery is solved.

“I’ve been trimming them for two years and people are just starting to notice,” Mr Giri told ABC Radio Melbourne.

The hedges were planted about six years ago.

But Mr. Giri decided to turn the now mature hedgerows into a living version of the iron horses.

The hedges had attracted attention on social media.(Provided)

“It just needed something, so we started carving them, and it started to take the shape of an engine, so I thought I’d make another one,” Mr Giri said.

Mr Giri said it was originally a way to beautify the garden outside their depot.

“It was just for some privacy,” he said.

“We have a little waiting time, waiting to go out and do our job.”

A wide shot of a green garden with trees, a water feature and a white chair.
Inside the train-shaped garden is an oasis for drivers. (Provided)

labor of love

Although he has a thing for trains, Mr Giri said he first started driving out of necessity but didn’t want it to be any other way.

A close up of a train shaped hedge.
Mr Giri says he had a few setbacks with the hedges, but they grew back.(Provided)

“I have the best job in the world. I don’t want to do anything else,” he said.

“They were fixing R-Classes, and I was just a kid, but I loved the story and wanted to help keep those skills alive.”

Now he spends his days chatting with carloads of locomotive enthusiasts, sharing his passion for the tracks.

“We are the oldest railway group in the world,” he said.

Spencer Street passenger services in Melbourne began in 1862, operating with a fleet of 32 passenger locomotives.

A man in a train conductor's uniform hanging from the window of a train while driving.
Mr Giri says driving trains is the best job in the world.(Provided)

Full steam ahead

With hedges now well established and the garden in full bloom, Mr Giri said the team had branched out and landscaped the rest of the garden to the edge of the track.

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Audio playback.  Duration: 4 minutes 34 seconds

All aboard V/Line’s topiary train, but who is the mysterious hedge artist?

“It’s teamwork, so if I can’t finish, other people help me garden,” he said.

“It’s just a friendly environment, and the riders all look out for each other.”

As Mr. Giri contemplated his retirement, there were still plans to expand the garden.

When it came to choosing which was more technical, he said it was easy, with the green thumb always having the odd cover mishap.

“It definitely shapes hedges,” he said.

“I cut a headlight one day, but it grew back.”

An empty garden bed with some hedge garden beds in the background.
It took about six years to grow the hedges.(Provided)
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