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Melbourne's Trams

Peter Maltezos's picture

Melbourne's Trams


First trip of a cable tram on the Richmond route, 11 November 1885.


Cable tram on Spring Street, in front of Parliament House.


Melbourne's first electric tram above and the more advanced second model below.

Operated in the years 1889-1896 between Box Hill and Doncaster along Tram Road.

These were the first electric trams to be introduced in the Southern hemisphere.


T class built in 1917.


X1 class single truck tram.


X2 class single truck tram.


Y1 class experimental tram at Princess Bridge tram stop.


Victorian Railways tram run by the railways also included broad gauge lines between St. Kilda railway station and Brighton Beach.


Victorian Railways tram outside Elwood Depot.


L class tram on Swanston Street.


W6 class tram, built between 1936 - 1956.


Free City Circle tram.


The Restaurant tram, very popular with tourists.


Z1 class with only two doors per side, 1975.


Z3 class with original colour scheme and trolley pole.


Z3 class with pantograph instead of trolley pole and three doors per side.


A2 class, first with pantograph.


B2 class, 23.65 metres long and seats 76.


C class Citadis tram, from Alstom, France. First trams to be fully imported into Australia since the mid 1920s.


D1 class 3 module Combino from Siemens, Germany.


The five-module Combino can carry 190 customers and is 30m long, the longest in the network.


Citadis trams stationed at a Collins Street Super Stop.

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Peter Maltezos's picture

A postcard showing a Cable Tram running up Lonsdale Street.


The old Batman Avenue Terminus that no longer exists.


Another shot of the City Circle Tram on Flinders Street in front of Federation Square.


A toy wind-up W-class Tram that I purchased at the Museum.


Above, a postcard of a Cable Tram from a tram museum and below, cable tram tracks being removed from Lonsdale Street in February 1962.


The Power House for the North Melbourne Electric Tram & Lighting Company ~ 1906.


O class built in Adelaide in 1911 for the Prahran & Malvern Tramways and later used by the Hawthorn Tramways Trust.


Two VR Trams on Canterbury Road outside St Kilda Railway Station in 1955.


It’s 1957 in Flinders Lane and a Freight Car Tram meanders through the short section of tram line between Market Street and William Street.


Freight Car Tram no.17 with advertising on Elizabeth Street near Victoria Street, November 1962.


The one of a kind Y class tram in La Trobe Street, October 1960.


The PCC class tram, the only one of its class, in Bourke Street, 1961.

Built in 1950 it was withdrawn from service in 1971.


When the Z class ruled Swanston Street.

Am I the only one who misses the Green & Gold colour scheme?


The dummy W class tram used at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne at Museum Victoria.

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Peter Maltezos's picture

Below, a poster that used to adorn Melbourne’s railway stations promoting a visit to the now demolished Doncaster Tower via the Box Hill-to-Doncaster electric tramway.



Read all about it in…..



The First Electric Road

A history of the Box Hill and Doncaster tramway


Robert Green

John Mason Press

First published in 1989


In print


The history of the first electric tramway in Australia, and the southern hemisphere, is a fascinating glimpse of the conflicts and challenges faced by the promoters of the Box Hill and Doncaster tramline together with the residents, businessmen, politicians, orchadists, passengers, and all the other people who became involved.


The intriguing saga in Melbourne’s first electric tramline.

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Peter Maltezos's picture

The Victorian Railways electric tram service


Text from 3004 News



Above and below, Victorian Railways trams, that ran between St. Kilda Railway Station and Brighton Beach.



The Victorian Railways operated an electric tram service from St Kilda to Brighton from May 1906 until February 1959. The route was officially opened on 5 May 1906 and full services started on 7 May 1906.


The opening ceremony was held at the Brighton Yacht Club. Invitations were issued by the Mayor of Brighton, Cr T Wilson and state parliamentarians including Premier Thomas Bent were among the attendees. This electric tramway route was instigated by Thomas Bent, who was the 22nd Premier of Victoria. He was also the Treasurer and was previously the Minister of Railways. Bent was knighted in 1908 and remained Premier until January 1909. He was accused of using his position to enhance the value of his property interests in Brighton by influencing the Victorian Railways to build and operate a tram service. Earlier, Bent had been a Councillor in Moorabbin and Brighton Councils.  The suburb of Bentleigh is named after him.  In regognition of his achievements, a bronze statue of Sir Thomas Bent stands at the intersection of Bay Street and Nepean Highway, Brighton.


Due to the link with the Victorian Railways, the tramway was often referred to as the ‘electric street railway’. The tram tracks were 1600mm apart, the same gauge used for train tracks. The route was a feeder service, linking trams with the steam trains that took passengers between St Kilda Station and Flinders Street Station. During high patronage times such as peak hours and weekends, a trailer car could be attached to an electric tram. The trailers could seat an additional 40 people. The route closed 53 years later on 1 March 1959, despite protests from the Elwood traders, unions, interest groups and the local council. The traders relied on the tram to bring customers to local shops. A lack of interest by the Victorian Railways administrators led to the closure of the St Kilda to Brighton route. The Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board (MMTB) was planning to take over the route but it was not economically viable because tracks needed to be updated. After the closure, Melbourne Brighton Bus Lines Pty Ltd serviced this route. ‘Rickety Kate’ was the last tram to travel this route and was given a send off by thousands of locals. “It left 12:16am and every few yards along the route detonators exploded on the lines and passengers threw streamers and crackers from the windows,” stated a local Elwood resident.

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Peter Maltezos's picture

More Melbourne Trams


The first two down, the way it used to be on Lonsdale Street.


Cable Tram on one of the last cable tram serviced streets, Bourke Street.


W class tram decorated for the Melbourne Centenary celebrations.


The Sorrento Steam Tram that ran between Sorrento and the Sorrento Ocean Beach.


Moonee Ponds’ first tram, 1906.


No 214 was one of the largest and fastest vehicles on the road in 1906, when it entered service with the North Melbourne Electric Tramways and Lighting Company.

Restored to near-original condition in 1978, it is now the oldest electric tram in Melbourne.



How it used to be on Victoria Parade back in 1973.


Six more shots, some recent, a couple old.







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Peter Maltezos's picture

Tram Fleet

The 487 trams in the Yarra Trams fleet range from modern low floor vehicles to the iconic W Class –


•  70 A Class vehicles


•  132 B Class vehicles


•  36 C Class low floor Citadis vehicles


•  5 five section C2 Class low floor “Bumblebee”  Citadis vehicles


•  38 three section D Class low floor Combino vehicles


•  21 five section D Class low floor Combino vehicles


•  38 W Class heritage trams


•  147 Z Class trams


The Victorian Government has also commissioned Dandenong based company Bombardier tp produce 50 new low floor trams. The new trams will be approximately 33m in length, able to carry more than 210 passengers, fitted with CCTV and be fully accessible. These will be introduced to the network from mid 2013.



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Chris Peska's picture

Very awesome Pete! Love the pics

Observe. Design. Build. Live.

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Peter Maltezos's picture


E class Melbourne tram

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The E class trams are three-section, four-bogie articulated trams to be introduced to Melbourne, Victoria from mid 2013. They are to be built by Bombardier Transportation in their Dandenong factory, with the propulsion systems and bogies coming from Bombardier’s factories in Germany. A $303 million order for 50 trams, with maintenance to 2017 and an option for a further 100 vehicles was announced on 29 September 2010. The trams will be 33 metres long, with three articulated units and four bogies, and a passenger capacity of 210. The E class is part of the Tram Procurement Program, a Public Transport Victoria project aimed at increasing capacity and reliability of the tram network through the introduction of new trams, creation of new depot space and upgrades to existing infrastructure.

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Peter Maltezos's picture

The Vista


The Vista was the winner of the LightRail towards 2020 competition, an initiative supported by Yarra Trams, which challenged undergraduate design students to create a futuristic tram for the year 2020.

There were 10 finalists, with prizes for the top three. The Vista design was submitted by a team of design students from Monash University, who have won a two-month internship at Alstom’s design studio in France.


Almost identical to the E class trams that will be introduced soon! smiley

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Alastair Taylor's picture

holy crap, this is a purla:

Not just for the cable tram track, but for the eerily familiar yet really different look (sans Telstra, Casselden etc etc in the background).

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Peter Maltezos's picture

In 1962 the MMTB proposed a scheme for trams in the city area to be placed underground. The image above shows tunnels beneath Swanston and Bourke Street. The plan was abandoned because of the prohibitive cost. I'm glad for that. I love Melbourne's trams exactly where they are, above ground, seen and heard. Melbourne would not be the same without them. smiley  

Tram Spotting

Intersection of Flinders Street and Swanston Street 1927 showing 3 types of trams. Can you identify them? indecision My guess: On the left , heading north down Swanston Street is an early electric tram, possibly O class. On the right, heading south towards St Kilda Road is a W2 or W3 class tram. In the center, heading west down Flinders Street is a Cable Tram, the only one I'm sure of. 


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Peter Maltezos's picture

Tram Stops

Historic Macarthur Street Tram shelter at tram stop. Collins Street Super-Stop near the corner of Collins and Spring Streets.

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Peter Maltezos's picture

Books on Melbourne's trams:


Destination City


Norman Cross, Dale Budd, Randall Wilson

Transit Australia Publishing

First published in 1954


In print


DESTINATION CITY has been a valued reference source on the history and development of Melbourne’s distinctive electric trams for nearly 40 years. Updated, expanded and revised with a new format and structure, the fifth edition is essential reading for all those interested in tramways and the light rail scene.


Everything you wanted to know about Melbourne’s electric trams up until 1993.




Trams and Streetscapes

Metropolitan Melbourne 1950s-1960s


Emile D. Badawy and John Sargent

Train Hobby Publications

First published in 2000


In print


Melbourne’s electric tramway system is well known throughout the world, not least for the fact that it has survived the ‘rationalisation’ of the Victorian public transport system almost intact. The Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board’s most famous assets were, without doubt, the many W class trams, representatives that can sometimes be seen in service today. These trams ae featured, along with many of their four wheel predecessors, in this tramway profile book, showing Melbourne in the more leisurely era of the 1950s and 1960s.


If you love ogling photographs of Melbourne’s street scenes, especially ones showing trams from the 1950s and 1960s, then this is the book for you!




More Trams and Streetscapes

Metropolitan Melbourne 1950s-1960s


Emile D. Badawy and John Sargent

Train Hobby Publications

First published in 2002


In print


A further collection of scenes of the city and metropolitan Melbourne, featuring its famous and much loved trams. These images from the 1950s and 1960s provide a fascinating look at the various types of trams which operated each day, against a background of buildings, motor cars, advertising and the way of of life that was Melbourne in this bygone era.


More trams and street scenes of Melbourne from the 1950s and 1960s, you just have to love that!




The Melbourne Tram Book


Randall Wilson and Dale Budd

A UNSW Press book

First published in 2003


In print


Melbourne’s trams have long been one of the city’s strongest symbols –

They not only provide a vital transport service, they also add to the unique character of the city.

With more than 200 photos of trams old and new, and featuring the work of more than 40 photographers and several artists, The Melbourne Tram Book is a unique record of more than 100 years of street transport, horse-drawn, cable and electric.


I recommend this book to anyone interested in Melbourne’s trams.


I collect, therefore I am. thecollectormm.com.au

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Viscount Melbourne's picture

Brilliant post Pete. Thanks for that.

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Ryan Seychell's picture

New Yarra Trams livery


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Peter Maltezos's picture

^^ An improvement! smiley

I collect, therefore I am. thecollectormm.com.au

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Mark Baljak's picture

and a new perspective

New trams arrive, but not on schedule

July 1, 2013 - 3:33PM

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/new-trams-arrive-but-not-on-schedule-2...

The first of 50 new trams capable of carrying more than 200 people was unveiled at the Preston tram workshop on Monday, about seven months behind schedule.

The new trams are the cornerstone of an $800 million project to boost Melbourne’s tram network. They were ordered by the former Brumby government.

The new tram will be used on route 96 between East Brunswick and St Kilda, one of the city's busiest. But it is not expected to make its first run until October, because it must first complete about 4000 kilometres of test runs.

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Greg Davison's picture

Wow! Brave new world or what?! I'm an ex Hannah ST/South Melbourne driver, left in '98, sadly of which all that remains is a memorial mosaic in the apartments they built in place of the old depot, anywit, dead interesting is the PCC idea from 1960, that was a really sweet looking tram, pre-empting the Z cars (which I drove), did it survive or was it trashed like so many of the art W's, case in point, very first tram I connied on was Leunig's, sadly repainted, hell there was Mirka Mora and Clifton Pugh just to name some.
APTA Streetcar and Seashore Trolley Museum has a whole bunch of PCC trams for sale, both single and double ended, here's the link http://www.heritagetrolley.org/planRollingStockPCC1.htm

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Greg Davison's picture

Aah the joys of thorough research, good to know that one and only PCC survived alond with the Z car prototype, here is the verbatim from the 'Friends Of Hawthorn Tram Depot' website
"Melbourne’s second car to be classified as a PCC tram, number 1041, was to see a short and inglorious life, unlike its predecessor. However, both PCC cars have survived into preservation – 1041 at the Melbourne Tram Museum at Hawthorn Depot, and 980 in the collection of the Tramway Museum Society of Victoria. " here's the link http://www.hawthorntramdepot.org.au/papers/pcc.htm

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johnproctor's picture

I've been thinking about what to do with central pier in docklands and the best thing I can come up with is a typically melbourne kitsch/cool idea. Build a combined tram depot and tram museum on it. Good spot for a depot with the number of routes into docklands and good spot for a museum in the hart of he city (better than the hidden hawthorn sidings that are maintained).

The depot could have clear windows to allow people promenading on the pier to have a look in and watch maintenance, cleaning and all the other crap that happens day to day on a depot. The museum Would obviously house various old trams and would allow the, to run on parts if the network around docklands as demonstration without ducking up to much of the network.

You,d obviously keep things like woodshed and alumbra and maybe get an upstairs function room to replace the one that must be in their ATM as used for fashion week events amongst others,

Whatya think? It just might work?

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Fedsquared's picture

Elizabeth Street closure to unleash traffic chaos

Melbourne's CBD faces a week of traffic chaos next month with the six-day closure of Elizabeth Street for major tram works.
The street will be closed to traffic while its tram tracks are replaced and work begins on building three new super stops.
It is expected the three new platform stops will be completed by November, providing level access for passengers with disabilities.
One stop will be permanently removed in the process, reducing the number of stops between La Trobe and Flinders streets from four to three.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/elizabeth-street-closure-to-unleash-tr...

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Alastair Taylor's picture

bout time this happened.

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Martin Mankowski's picture

Absolutely. All we need now is to have the lights re programmed to give priority to the trams and we're one step closer to a proper light rail network.

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gobillino's picture

Difficulty is the volume of trams on individual CBD streets - how would you give prioerity for trams on Elizabeth AND Bourke/Collins?

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johnproctor's picture

It's for that reason that the CBD has a relatively short cycle time at intersections (aside from spencer/king). The quicker the cycles the more likely a tram will get a go sooner but doesn't,t favour a long stream of cars getting through a set of lights.

I wonder what 'other public transport network planning is?

There will be no change to the tram terminus opposite Flinders Street Station.
"The development of that and the track layout is dependent on other public transport network planning, it's not really cost-effective to upgrade the terminus now and then maybe have to pay to change it later on," Mr Murphy said. [\quote]

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/elizabeth-street-closure-to-unleash-tr...

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Alastair Taylor's picture

Re: todays article: http://urbanmelbourne.info/transport/2013/10/08/rumble-in-yarras-edge#co...

How would a tunnel work - anyone know the depth of the River just off from ANZ? Would a tram need a long ramp to get down far enough?

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