Melbourne's development by tram: the 86

Melbourne's development by tram: the 86
Alastair TaylorNovember 6, 2016

Tram route 86 is the last of the routes in Northern Melbourne and it also happens to be the route with the largest development pipeline thus far in this series.

By virtue of the route passing through Fitzroy and Collingwood, Northcote and Thornbury, the emerging Preston cluster and then right out into the middle-to-outer north eastern suburbs, the route covers a lot of ground and therefore passes by a large population. The 86 is the 2nd busiest in Melbourne with 15.5 million trips recorded annually according to the publically available data on Yarra Trams' website.

The municipalities of Yarra, Darebin and Whittlesea are serviced by the 86 with all but 1 project on the Project Database positioned near this tram corridor in Yarra and Darebin.

The numbers

AspectNumber of projectsNumber of dwellings
Residential projects: Planning Assessment15844
Residential projects: Approved171544
Residential projects: Registration and Sales13851
Residential projects: Under Construction161175

Melbourne's development by tram: the 86
Linear route 86 map - Yarra Trams

Tram route 86Further information
Timetabled weekday peak frequency5-6 minutes (10-11 trams per hour)
Timetabled weekday off-peak frequency7-8 minutes (8 trams per hour)
Timetabled weekend daytime frequency10-12 minutes (5-6 trams per hour)
Timetabled night-time frequency20-30 minutes (2-3 trams per hour); 30 minutes/2 trams per hour (Sunday nights) 24/7 operation Friday/Saturday nights
Raised-platform stops?

Not uniform but several scattered up and down the route both in the inner-city and middle/outer suburbs.

Where do the trams go to sleep?Preston Depot (Miller Street, Preston)
Primary tram class that operates on the route.B2 (high-floor, articulated), recently announced that E-Class trams will begin rolling out on to this route.
Annual patronage and rank15,500,000 trips annually (2nd busiest route in Melbourne). Source

Fitzroy, Collingwood and Clifton Hill

Similar to the 11 and 96, as the 86 passes through Fitzroy/Collingwood it passes properties with development-friendly zones - C1Z and MUZ.

Similarly as the 86 crosses Alexandra parade, Smith Street and Queens Parade have a liberal amount of C1Z as well as C2Z and some small parcels of GRZ2 and MUZ. A portion of Queens Parade near the intersection of Smith street is zoned Neighbourhood Residential.

Melbourne's development by tram: the 86
1-3 Otter Street, Collingwood

Many of the projects on the database are clustered on the eastern side of Smith Street in Collingwood, in particular the Smith/Gertrude Street intersection has 11 projects within a 300-400m radius.

There are another 15 projects located between the aforementioned "South" Fitzroy/Collingwood cluster and Alexandra parade. Clifton Hill only has four projects located within the scope of the tram corridor.

Northcote and Thornbury

As the 86 tram crosses the Merri Creek into the City of Darebin, Northcote and Thornbury have 11 projects between them.

Excluding the properties located to the west of High Street just after crossing Merri Creek and a small section of Northcote hill, the properties directly facing High Street throughout the corridor all the way to Preston Junction are zoned C1Z.

Melbourne's development by tram: the 86
Pace of Northcote

Darebin has also seen it fit to graduate the zones just behind the properties which face High Street as well with liberal application of the GRZ2 to both the east and west of High Street throughout Northcote and Thornbury.

Preston and Bundoora

Melbourne's development by tram: the 86
67-69 High Street, Preston

Preston is synonymous with its market but a curious thing is happening in the suburb. It's a large suburb with the name and postcode present on both sides of Bell Street and three mini-clusters of new development within the same suburb are apparent.

Preston and Bell Stations (both out of the scope of this article) have various projects at different stages popping up next to them. And the High Street/Plenty Road intersection (Preston Junction) has its own mini-cluster - all of which are within the scope of this article.

The properties between Preston Junction and Bell Street are covered by a C1Z and GRZ2 combination and to the north of Bell Street along Plenty Road there's a mish-mash of C1Z, GRZ2 and Industrial Zones according to the most recently published Darebin planning maps.

Beyond reservoir, Plenty Road's zones become predominantly GRZ2 with the odd exception - there are three projects in Bundoora.

Melbourne's development by tram: the 86
Botanic at Parc Vue


Anti-clockwise: the 11 West Preston - Victoria Harbour Docklands.

Clockwise: 48 North Balwyn & 75 Vermont South

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.

Editor's Picks