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Work Begins On Melbourne’s Biggest Tram Stop

Saturday 10 October 2015

The construction of Melbourne’s biggest tram stop, on Wellington Parade in Jolimont near the MCG, has begun.

Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, said the new platform stop will be 80 metres long, with capacity for 450 passengers and two E-Class trams.

The new stop, located between Powlett and Clarendon Streets on Wellington Parade, will cater for daily commuters as well as tens of thousands of sports fans attending major events at the MCG.

It will combine two pairs of existing stops and improve passenger connectivity to Jolimont Station, provide real-time information and include seats and shelters to improve passenger comfort.

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Melbourne works tram 9W on Flemington Rd ~ 1980s.

Melbourne's Trams

Foxton96, on Flickr

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Super-size my tram: 45-metre trams foreshadowed for Melbourne's busiest routes

November 20, 2015 Adam Carey

Melbourne's Trams

Melbourne's future will be one in which giant trams almost as long as Olympic swimming pools glide along crowded inner city streets where tram tracks were first laid for streetcars no bigger than an ordinary bus.

The next generation of trams will be an imposing 45 metres in length - 12 metres longer than the new E-Class trams that are being steadily rolled out and more than three times longer than the old W-Class trams that still rattle around the city centre.

Built to carry about 300 passengers, the jumbo trams are part of Public Transport Victoria's future plans to handle rapid patronage growth on Melbourne's tram system, which is increasing at 3.6 per cent a year.

Exactly when they will hit the network is unclear, but PTV could easily pull the trigger on their introduction. E-Class trams have a modular design that can be extended by adding a fourth compartment to their current three.

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More Historic W-Class Trams To Run On The City Circle

3 March 2016

Melbourne's Trams

The Andrews Labor Government will restore and reintroduce two additional W-Class trams onto Melbourne’s tram network.

Minister for Public Transport and Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan made the announcement at Bendigo Tramways today as she farewelled the forth W-Class refurbished at the local depot and workshop.

The historic trams, which were first introduced to the network in the 1920s, will run on the City Circle route, bringing the history of Melbourne’s iconic trams to visitors and locals.

Each restoration is a significant undertaking, involving extensive stripping down and rebuilding of the vehicle to ensure it meets modern safety standards and provides a reliable and comfortable service.

Refurbishment of a W-Class tram can include:

• new impact resistant driver’s cabin

• new electronics and wiring to allow for GPS surveillance

• a complete rebuild of the body to improve safety

• painting and restoring the green and gold livery.

On top of refurbishing more W-Class trams, the Labor Government is delivering 70 new, modern low-floor E-class trams, to carry more passengers and make the network more accessible.

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Zed's nearly dead: Melbourne's first modern trams to be retired within days  

April 13, 2016 - 11:25PM Adam Carey

Melbourne's Trams

Illustration: Matt Golding

Who will mourn the Z-Class, Melbourne's first "modern" trams, when they are gone?

Small and boxy, with steep steps and no air-con (except in the driver's cabin), they lack the old-world charm of the W-Class or the mod-cons of the newer trams.

But the Zeds have been the humble workhorse of Melbourne's tram fleet for 40 years, and by month's end the first generation of them will be gone, mostly retired to workshops to be pulled apart for scrap.

Fewer than 10 of the original Z-Class - the Z1 and Z2 models - remain in service today, operating on three routes between Melbourne University and East Malvern, East Brighton and Carnegie.

By the end of April that number will be zero, and with no heritage listing proposed for these 1970s trundlers, volunteer-run tram museums may soon be the only place to find one.

Adam Chandler, communications manager for the Melbourne Tram Museum, said the Zeds are relatively unloved today, except among a handful of enthusiasts, but were "a marvel for their time".

"They brought an antiquated street car system into something more modern," Mr Chandler said.

The Z-Class tram fleet was built in two batches of 115 cars, between 1975 and 1984, after a 20-year gap in tram production, during which time calls grew for Melbourne to rid its streets of old-fashioned trams for good.

Their reliability saw them become the template for Melbourne tram design for 25 years, until the eventual arrival of low-floor trams.

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Brand New Home For Melbourne’s Biggest Trams

17 April 2016

Melbourne’s E-Class trams – the biggest, safest and most accessible on the network – now have a new home.

Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, joined local Member Robin Scott and the Chair and CEO of Yarra Trams to officially open the new Preston Tram Depot and Workshop today.

The new facility is the product of a $190 million redevelopment of the existing tram depot on St Georges Road.

It was the largest redevelopment ever undertaken of a heritage site while it remained operational in Australia, with Yarra Trams continuing to use it as a heavy maintenance facility throughout construction.

The project created around 250 on-site construction jobs, many more in the manufacturing supply chain, and will support ongoing jobs on the tram network as it grows to meet the needs of a growing Melbourne.

The new depot is part of the $800 million Tram Procurement Program funded by the former Labor Government, which included the purchase of 50 new E-Class trams and associated infrastructure upgrades and operating costs.

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Warning not to let Transurban toll road crowd out tram plan for west

July 19 2016 - 4:44PM Adam Clay, Clay Lucas

Melbourne's Trams

Footscray had its own local tram network between 1921 and its closure in 1962.

Could trams be due for a comeback in Melbourne's west?

Plans for a big new toll road suggest they are. CityLink's owner Transurban has been warned not to let its final design for the Western Distributor interfere with long-term plans for a new tram route to the western suburbs.

A new six-lane road will be built through Melbourne's inner west. The Western Distributor will claim a large chunk of land on the city fringe as Wurundjeri Way is extended north through West Melbourne to Dynon Road and three new off-ramps are built to funnel traffic around the CBD.

The reference design for the $5.5 billion project contains a demand from the Andrews government that the new toll road "must not prevent potential future public transport, freight and road improvements."

These improvements include "a tram route to connect the City of Melbourne to the City of Maribyrnong [and] a new tram depot in the Dynon precinct".

The tram connection, if built, would mark a comeback for trams in the western suburbs, which previously had its own web of local tram routes until their closure in 1962.

The old tram lines spun out in three directions from Footscray railway station. Route 82 between Footscray and Moonee Ponds is all that remains.

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Breathing New Life Into Our Historic W-Class Trams

24 October 2016

The Andrews Labor Government will develop Victoria’s first comprehensive strategy for the future of  Melbourne’s historic W-Class trams. 

Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan today announced a W-Class reference group to advise on how best to use the heritage trams, which first started running on Melbourne’s streets nearly 100 years ago. 

A detailed audit of nearly 200 remaining W-Class trams will determine the condition of each of them and their potential for future refurbishment or use.

The reference group will work with and include representatives from Public Transport Victoria (PTV), VicTrack, the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, and Yarra Trams to undertake the audit. 

Other stakeholders will be asked to share their knowledge and help shape their future use in the coming weeks and months. 

A great deal of interest has already been generated about using these W-Class trams, and a PTV survey has proved Victorians recognise and appreciate their value.      

A number of potential uses have been canvassed, but the condition of the de-commissioned trams, which have been in storage for many years, won’t be fully understood until the audit is complete.

Victorians and visitors continue to enjoy these iconic trams through public exhibits, along the City Circle Tram service and Bendigo Tramways, where more than three million people each year ride one of the twelve W-Class trams around the loop. 

The group is expected to report back to government with their findings in the second half of next year.

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E Class Trams Set To Roll Out On Route 86

23 October 2016

Melbourne's Trams


E-Class trams are set to make their debut on Melbourne’s Route 86 next month, which operates from Waterfront City Docklands to Bundoora RMIT. 

Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan was joined by Member for Bundoora Colin Brooks and former Victorian Premier John Cain to announce the introduction of low-floor trams to the route.    

Route 86 was initially extended to La Trobe University under the former Cain Government during the 1980s and later to its current terminus at Bundoora RMIT.

The new E-Class trams will be the first low floor trams to operate along the corridor, making it safer and easier for passengers to get where they need to go, including La Trobe University’s Melbourne Campus.  

Public Transport Victoria is working with Yarra Trams to prepare Route 86 for the introduction of the longer, high capacity trams, which will carry more passengers along the busy route. 

A number of upgrades and alterations will ensure the longer E-Class trams can operate safely along the route, which travels through Docklands and Bourke Street Mall, and to the Princess Theatre, Melbourne Museum and High Street, Northcote.

E-Class trams are the biggest, safest and most accessible trams on the network. Each tram can carry 210 passengers when full, and include audio and visual passenger information, air conditioning, improved safety features and dedicated spaces for passengers with mobility aids or prams.

E-Class trams are being built in Melbourne at the Bombardier manufacturing facility in Dandenong, with 41 of the current order of 70 trams already running along Routes 96 and 11.  

The new trams will be progressively introduced to Route 86 as they continue to come off the Melbourne manufacturing line.

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Solar Trams Transporting Victoria To A Brighter Future

19 January 2017

Melbourne's Trams

Melbourne’s tram network will be powered by a new large scale solar plant to be built in regional Victoria.

The Andrews Labor Government will run a tender to help build 75MW of new large scale solar farms, delivering $150 million in new capital investment and 300 new jobs.

Around 35MW of the new solar farms will be linked to Melbourne’s tram network. The Labor Government will voluntarily surrender renewable energy certificates matching the amount of electricity used by all of Melbourne’s trams.

This will result in a reduction of more than 80,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year.

An open tender will be run in the first half of 2017 to build Victoria’s first large scale solar farms by the end of 2018.

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Melbourne's tram fleet in February 2017

The 502 trams in the Yarra Trams fleet range from modern low floor vehicles to the iconic W Class –

•  69 A Class trams

•  132 two section B Class trams

•  36 three section C Class low floor Citadis trams

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

•  38 three section D Class low floor Combino trams

•  21 five section D Class low floor Combino trams

•  47 three section E Class trams

•  36 W Class heritage trams

•  118 Z Class trams


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Major world tram systems

The largest tram networks in the world by route length (as of 2016)

1 -  Melbourne (256 km)

2 - St. Petersburg (205.5 km)

3 - Cologne (194.8 km)

4 - Berlin (191.6 km)

5 - Moscow (183 km)

6 - Budapest (172 km)

7 - Katowice agglomeration (171 km)

8 - Vienna (170 km)


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In A Class Of Their Own: Melbourne’s Next-Gen Trams

21 March 2017

Melbourne's Trams

The first of 20 new trams ordered by the Andrews Labor Government and built in Melbourne, for Melbourne, has rolled off the production line.

Premier Daniel Andrews joined Minister for Industry and Employment Wade Noonan at Bombardier’s Dandenong factory today to get a look at the new E-Class tram, which will soon enter service on the world’s biggest tram network.

E-Class trams are the biggest and most accessible in Melbourne – featuring low floors, more myki readers, better information and space for more than 200 passengers.

The new E-Class models are being built right now and will be even safer and more comfortable than the current model, with more rails and handles for passengers to hold.

These trams are being built in right here in Victoria – supporting 500 local jobs at Bombardier and local suppliers.


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theboynoodle's picture

There was a piece in the Age about how these new trams have been redesigned to address the increase in falls/injuries on the E-Class trams. Whilst welcoming any design that's better suited to those standing, can I ask Yarra Trams to make sure the people driving these trams know what they're doing? Most of the problems I see on trams are caused by driving too fast and stopping/braking too quickly. Riding an E-Class through the CBD is an extreme sport these days.

Some sudden stops are unavoidable because of idiots on the outside doing dumb things, but when it's because of traffic lights or other trams or actual tram stops... it's obviously a driver issue. Don't put them in big shiny new vehicles until they've proven that they can drive them safely.

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Revamped E-Class trams on track to curb passenger injuries

JUNE 13 2017 - 2:11PM Adam Carey

Melbourne's TramsPhoto: Adam Carey

The first of 30 new E-Class trams designed to tackle the rise in passenger injuries from on-board jolts and falls has rolled out.

The trams include dozens more hanging straps and hand rails for passengers, and a flatter nose to give the driver a better peripheral view of traffic.

The tram floor has also been lowered at the doors in response to complaints from passengers in wheelchairs of a vertical gap at many platform stops, which makes the original E-Class trams difficult to board. The trams are made by Bombardier in Dandenong.

The second of the redesigned trams will enter service later this week.

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Melbourne's Trams

Streets are theatres of life, and in Melbourne the set is always in motion.

It’s becoming a ritual for modern times: eight Victorian artists are given trams as their canvas and told to go to town. The resulting transformations take one of the city’s most familiar icons and cause us to see them with fresh eyes, as mirrors on our culture, windows to the imagination or spaces to gather and share. Get carried away.

Our 2017 Melbourne Art Tram artists are Emma Anna, Matthew Clarke, Bushra Hasan, Oliver Hutchison, Justine McAllister, Josh Muir, Robert Owen and our community tram by St Albans Heights Primary School's Community Hub.

The first Melbourne Art Tram will be launched on Thu 5 Oct.

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Tram enthusiasts able to obtain retired fleet

Melbourne's Trams

Trams in storage at Newport, Melbourne. Photo: Daniel Pockett

They were once the city's workhorses, rattling yellow and green trams responsible for the safe transport of thousands of patrons.

Now, more than 100 ageing vehicles gathering dust in a Newport rail yard will be given a new lease on life as part of a novel plan to celebrate the city's transport history.

Part of Victoria’s retired trams strategy, 134 historic trams previously resigned to retirement will be offered to rail enthusiasts for cafes, classrooms and other attractions in the hope of preserving the iconic trolleys for future generations.

Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan said schools, community groups, not-for-profit organisations and other public institutions would be able to access a tram for free under the new plan, to be released by the Andrews Labor government on Monday.

“Over the years trams have transported millions of Victorians, connected our communities and are an integral part of our rich heritage,” she said.

“If they’re not going to be used on the network, we want to keep these trams accessible to the community.

“These Victorian icons will now be available to come to life once again and preserved for future generations to enjoy.”

The rare opportunity is the first time such a large number of the heritage vehicles will go up for grabs, years after the robust rattlers graced the city streets.

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11 July 2018

Melbourne's Trams

The Andrews Labor Government is refurbishing Melbourne’s fleet of iconic trams to improve reliability and the passenger experience with the first completed tram rolling out of the new East Preston Depot this week.

Acting Premier James Merlino said the improvements to around 450 trams will increase reliability and create jobs, including for former automotive industry workers.

More than 100 jobs will be created to help deliver the five-year refurbishment program, which includes an overhaul of mechanical components to ensure reliability and structural repairs to remove and protect against corrosion.

Up to 14 trams at a time will undergo refurbishment, and trams will also receive a deep clean of the interior and other upgrades including repainting and in some model’s glass or window film replacement.

The refurbishments are being undertaken at the East Preston Depot, which was recently upgraded following Labor Government investment.

The tram upgrades will be spread over the next five years to minimise disruptions to timetabled services, with up to 14 trams at a time undergoing refurbishment.

The $230 million Tram Refurbishment Project is part of the new franchise agreement between the Government and Keolis Downer aimed at giving passengers better value for money, more services, and greater reliability.

The new tram contract sees a $30 million increase in annual spending on track and infrastructure maintenance to improve reliability, and tougher penalties for the operator not meeting targets.

The project has 65 per cent local content for materials and services, as part of the Victorian Industry Participation Policy.

Melbourne has the world’s largest tram network, running more than 5,000 services a day and transporting more than 200 million passengers annually.

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Aussie Steve's picture

Is it really worth refurbishing rolling stock that is difficult to climb up and non-compliant? Hmmmm.... Better to have spent the money on purchasing new rolling stock. We have a great train fleet but the tram fleet is falling way behind!

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drunkill's picture

Some quality of life improvements, not too much of a cost overall and it'll take time to fill out a DDA compliant fleet anyway. Has upsides and downsides but I know I'd rather working aircon and new seats given my line only ever gets Z's and B class trams. Won't be getting C, D or E class for another decade I reckon so for me this plan is great.

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More Victorian Built E-Class Trams Are On The Way

18 September 2018

The Andrews Labor Government is investing in more rolling stock to get Victorians where they need to go, with 10 more Victorian built E-Class trams to be built, freeing up space on our tram network and supporting local jobs.

Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan today announced Bombardier would be delivering another 10 trams, taking the total order to 40 trams since 2015 and boosting the entire modern, high capacity E-Class fleet to 90.

The $83 million investment is part of the Labor Government’s ten-year rolling stock strategy, which is delivering a boost to the Victorian economy and allowing more passengers to get to where they need to go.

This extra order of E-Class trams is supporting local jobs, giving the workers who have been building the trams in Dandenong further certainty by maintaining production levels at Bombardier.

The additional E-Class trams will support retention of around 100 direct jobs at Bombardier’s Dandenong factory, and 500 jobs in the local supply chain.

This continues the Government’s support of local jobs and locally-built rolling stock includes bigger trains, which will be in service on the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines in 2019, and 48 VLocity trains have been introduced to the regional network since 2015.

Melbourne has the largest operating tram network in the world with 250 kilometres of double track and the Government is making the investments now to meet growing passenger demand.

Last week, the 69th E-Class tram rolled onto the network with number 70 to follow in coming weeks.

E-Class trams are the biggest and most accessible in Victoria, with low floors, more myki readers, better customer information and space for more than 200 passengers.

The trams include audio and visual passengers information, air conditioning and dedicated spaces for passengers who use prams or mobility aids.

The newest E-Class trams feature increased safety features including a new cab design, eight extra hand rails and more handles.

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'Sad day for society': shock over halting of tramcar restaurants

21 October 2018 — 10:27pm Nicole Precel, Matilda Boseley & David Escort

Melbourne's Trams
The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant.

Diners and supporters of Melbourne's historic tramcar restaurants are shocked the burgundy carriages have stopped rolling after it was brought to a halt over safety concerns.

"We cannot let this happen," posted Angela Brullo Powell on the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant Facebook page.

"I have had dinner here many times and cannot speak highly enough of this amazing experience! Please let’s keep it going!"

Ms Powell is one of many devotees upset the service has ground to a halt after it failed a safety assessment due to wooden structural elements of the vintage trams being badly weathered.

The well-known tourist attraction usually rolls through Albert Park, St Kilda and South Melbourne but over the weekend they were ordered to stop, so diners had to make do with one view in South Melbourne.

Tracey Van Lawick was one of the first to have a tramcar dinner that was anything but scenic.

The New South Wales native spent her three-course meal stationed at the Normanby St tram stop, a junction surrounded by traffic.

Ms Van Lawick found out the tram would be stationary when she arrived.

"Someone did ask about a discount and they told us someone would be in touch. We were not offered a reschedule or refund," she said.

"The staff were amazing and the food lovely, but it would have been much nicer if we had the whole experience."

The operator posted a memo to the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant's Facebook page on Saturday calling for the Victorian Government to intervene.

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New technology to give trams priority at traffic lights
February 25, 2019 — 12.03pm Benjamin Preiss

Trams will soon get new powers that have long eluded motorists – the ability to sail through traffic lights when running late.

Trams will be given the green light over cars in a trial of the new technology on the 75 tram route that runs along Toorak Road and the Burwood Highway.

The GPS technology will trigger an early switch of the traffic lights from red to green to allow the late-running trams to proceed through the intersections.

The information from the GPS systems will be sent to a central traffic control centre to change the lights sequence and prioritise the late-running trams.

Trams currently spend about 16 per cent of their time stuck at traffic lights. Twenty-five trams will be fitted with the new technology. The trial will run between March and May this year.

Roads Minister Jaala Pulford said the technology would allow “real-time synchronisation” with traffic lights so that when trams are running behind schedule, they will gain right of way.

“The lights will work more smoothly. We’ll be able to have more people moving around more readily," she said. "When the tram’s on time, it will just work as normal.”

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