Trams of Australia

B class

[Link to picture of B2 tram]
Melbourne's first articulated tram. Locally, it is referred to as a light-rail vehicle rather than a tram, and it does run on separate rights-of-way (former heavy rail lines) but it also performs street service.


Nos: 2001 - 2002
Introduced: 1984-85
Withdrawn: Still in service - used when no other trams available (i.e. used frequently)
Electrics: AEG/Siemens chopper control - regenerative braking, 2 x 195 kW motors
Size23.5 m x 2.67 m
Seating/Crush load: 76/182
Max speed:

These two trams were prototypes. Originally, they were fitted with dual-height entrance steps: the high position was to be used for loading from the platforms of former railway stations that this tram is to serve, and the low, for street loading. For some reason, the idea was abandoned, and only fixed, low-level steps are provided. This has necessitated the building of special low-level tram platforms at the ends of each of the unused former railway station platforms.

When introduced, 2001 was fitted with just trolley poles, but 2002 was fitted with both poles and a pantograph. 2001 now also sports a pantograph and poles.

Having mucked around with the tram numbering system at the introduction of the Z-class trams, our supremos couldn't resist doing it again for these ones. Presumably 2001 was chosen to give the trams a "futuristic appeal". Marketing people get paid to think these things up, you know...


Nos: 2003 - 2132
Introduced: 1987 - 1994
Withdrawn: Currently in service
Electrics: AEG/Siemens GTO chopper control - regenerative braking, 2 x 195 kW motors
Size:23.63 m x 2.77 m
Seating/Crush load: 76/182
Max speed:

The B-class use the same traction equipment as the A-class and the Z3-class trams (i.e. similar control, and the same number and size of motors). Evidently, this equipment was somewhat oversized for the smaller trams. The power electronics has been improved with the use of Gate Turn-off Thyristors. Air-conditioning was added, so you can't open the windows any more.

In what I think has been a retrograde step, dot-matrix destination indicators have replaced the traditional roller-blind. This is MUCH harder to read, especially at night, and because of its lower resolution, not as many words will fit. Many destinations must therefore be described in alternating chunks, which exacerbates the problem.

The last tram, no. 2132, would be no. 1473 if the tram numbering system had not been changed at whim.