2013: The Unveiling of a New Type of Vehicle for a Major Transit System in Australia

July 1, 2013

An innovative type of vehicle for the longtime and heavily used tram network in Melbourne, the capital city of Australia’s state of Victoria, was formally introduced to the public. This three-section vehicle was the first of the E-class trams to be showcased. (The Melbourne tram network is owned by the state government entity Victorian Rail Track Corporation and operated by the transportation company Yarra Trams.) These E-class trams for the Melbourne tram network were built by the Canadian-German rolling stock and rail transport manufacturer Bombardier Transportation (acquired by the French company Alstom in 2021) at its factory in the Melbourne suburb of Dandenong.

The first of the E-class trams arrived at Yarra Trams’ maintenance facility in the Melbourne suburb of Preston on June 28, 2013, for initial testing. It was at this facility three days later that the public introduction of the pioneering E-class tram took place. Among those on hand for this unveiling were Denis Napthine, premier of Victoria; and Terry Mulder, whose official duties at the time included serving as the state’s minister for public transport.

Napthine used the occasion to promote the benefits of this new means of transit. “These new E Class trams are absolutely world-class,” he said. “They will be the most comfortable, safest and highest capacity trams in Melbourne’s fleet. At 33 meters (108.3 feet) long, these trams will also be the longest yet to run on our network.” Napthine also noted, “They are capable of carrying about 210 passengers each, which is more than any other tram we have in service.”

The acquisition and use of E-class trams were part of a wide-ranging array of enhancements for the Melbourne tram network that also encompassed upgrades for tracks and improvements to stations. The other innovative features of these E-class trams included state-of-the-art audio and visual announcements for passengers traveling on board; and dedicated floor space for individuals using wheelchairs.

After the conduct and completion of additional tests, the first of the E-class trams began regular runs on Melbourne tram route 96 on November 4, 2013. This route covers 8.7 miles (13.9 kilometers) between the suburbs of Brunswick East and St Kilda.

There are now 100 E-class trams serving the Melbourne tram network. One of the largest transit systems of its kind in the world, the Melbourne tram network encompasses a total of 155.3 miles (250 kilometers) of double track.

Photo Credit: Hugh Llewelyn (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en)

For more information on Melbourne’s E-class trams, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-class_Melbourne_tram

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