Trams of Australia

Melbourne's tram system

Melbourne has the largest tram network in the English-speaking world, and the 10th largest overall. There are 238 route-kilometres (i.e. not counting overlapping routes) of double track, operated by around 500 trams, which carry around 400,000 people per day. The trams range from historic W-class trams, introduced in the 1930s, '40s and '50s, to modern B-class articulated vehicles. The much-loved trams have become a icon of the city.

For information about the tram system, go to the travel information section. If you are visiting Melbourne, there are a couple of special trams which might interest you.

Most routes are laid on streets, although many are within segregated median strips. Two routes (96 and 109) run in part on the former Port Melbourne and St. Kilda heavy rail lines, which were converted from 1600 mm gauge to 1435 mm gauge light rail operation in 1987.

Melbourne's Train system

Melbourne also has an electrified suburban train system. This system is entirely radial, comprising 14 lines which converge on Flinders St. station in the city centre. The city centre is also served by an underground rail loop (the "City Loop") through which many trains pass on the way to or from Flinders St.

One of the stations on this Loop, Museum station, has been renamed (most misleadingly) as "Melbourne Central station". It is nothing of the sort, but was named after an adjacent shopping centre. One wonders how the State Government came to agree to this one, especially as the name is not in common usage. (Most Melburnians call it "Daimaru" after its major tenant.)

The operation of the City Loop is rather confusing to visitors. It consists of four independent, single-track loops. Trains pass through the City Loop before arriving at Flinders St station during weekday mornings. This means that three of the loops (connected to eastern lines) run anti-clockwise, and one (connected to northern and western lines) runs clockwise. At midday, all tracks reverse direction. Saturday and Sunday use the "afternoon" direction, all day. Not all trains enter the City Loop, indeed trains from some lines never do.