Big changes potentially on track.

Some ‘radical’ route changes could be in the works for tram operations in Melbourne in the aims of improving service delivery. I’ve just discovered some pretty interesting material from about a year ago and the fact is there’s been not much buzz on the plans which have no implementation schedule or are even definite. In a Metro Trains’ style reform of routes, the plans could see what I believe are some small compromise for some big gains. But the public tend to be highly critical in the short term of changes, and in the last state election the most recent changes may had been another nail in the coffin which saw a swing against the Labor belt in south east Melbourne. But will the current government let these changes come through, or will they sit on the drawing board?

Metro Trains over the past number of years have modified the running of routes, some to skip the loop entirely, and changes to the way trains operate around the loop. Some other changes included removing express trains from certain lines and reinforcing ‘branch-line’ services for Williamstown and Alamein. But these changes have been built around delivering more services which is proven.

It’s also important to note that there are more journeys handled on tram than busses. This might make sense considering journey are much shorter, but the geographical coverage is constrained only to the inner city of Melbourne. Proving that more people are confident in the tramways, and more needs to be done to integrate the bus system (which I’m told is happening.)

Melbourne Transport Forum had information from Yarra Trams about a year ago. Expected changes to fleet operations (namely, the new E Class trams are being posted onto their flagship Route 96, and D’s shifted to the 19 – which I think is exciting because Elizabeth Street doesn’t see low-floor trams at the moment.)

But the proposed tram routes (sorry for the substandard image) highlight streamlining services, and modifying the architecture. What is apparent is the reinforcing north-south operations (which in general prove to be more useful for cross transit options). New options for building efficiency. New focus on CBD north area and La Trobe street operations.

Capacity overlap is one thing I think has had a huge factor in these changes. For example the original Route 1 has a lot of passengers coming in from north of the city, who want to go to CBD south (Flinders Street). Likewise passengers are also coming in from the south who want to go to CBD north (La Trobe/Melbourne Central). Route 11 and 12 also aid in this, but I’m uncertain as to the existence of route 112 in future. The changes whoever would be logical.

Whether this is another step towards creating a single St Kilda road operation touted long ago is unknown but a possibility.

Tram Routes - Proposed

Route 11 / 12 / (112)  (La Trobe Street)

Route 12 Additional services to St Kilda from La Trobe Street which currently doesn’t exist. I don’t know if this would kill the 112, but it seems likely.

Route 11 already implemented to bring improve capacity to the city, but this could replace 112 operations from West Preston. Capacity on Collins Street is at large dismal, and also stems from capacity overlap. Frequency would need to be above current 112 standards, and this is aided by terminating in City West (Victoria Harbour).

Route 30

Route 30 extended to Footscray Road from Etihad Stadium. Probably not enough capacity to run them to Waterfront City, but that would be a logical step.

Footscray Road would probably be a turnback which requires infrastructure works for stops, but it is likely that services actually terminate at Etihad Stadium which will see Route 75 and Route 5 (below) terminate there. The future sees trams running to Footscray.

(On another note, if there was cash to splash you could operate a loop around Waterfront City, up to Footscray road, via IceHouse and Costco. Though you still have trams that need to wait somewhere.

Route 3 / 16 / 68 (Dandenong Road)

Route 16 modified to run only to Caulfield Station. Thus Hawthorn/Glenferrie Road service replaced with Route 68. Originally Route 16 only operated to St Kilda but was extended to cover the old Route 69 to Kew.

Route 68 is reminiscent of route 69. A connector service from North to South. For me, this is pretty awesome. But the issue is, people who use the 64 to commute from the city/Chapel to Hawthorn Road. Similarly those who commute from St Kilda to Hawthorn will need to change.

What happens on weekends? It just becomes 3a without Route 16? What kind of frequency can we expect on Route 68 also.

Route 64 / 1

Route 64 to Terminate at Malvern Station (actually Malvern Station or Hawthorn/Dandenong Roads?), Hawthorn Road Service replaced with Route 68. Though the new Route 64 will continue past Melbourne Uni to East Coburg adding capacity.

Original Route 1 to terminate at Melbourne University. Likely due to the customer overlap in the city is significant. Those wanting to go from the north (Lygon Street) to CBD South, and those wanting to go from the South Melbourne to CBD North.

Route 5

Redesigned from Domain interchange. This requires the creation of new tram track and a right hand turnout on Park Street. The route then turns right into Clarendon then to Footscray Road. This is genuinely a new cross city service.

Route 5 isn’t high density thus the trams can be rerouted to provide the additional capacity on Spencer Street and journey’s from Domain.

Map picture

Route 55 / 8

Seems like logical transition providing a direct east-west link.

An extension has been made to continue Route 67 operations to Moreland. Reasons mentioned in Route 64/1 section.

Route 55 has been extended to run to Toorak (original terminus at Domain Interchange.

There seems to be a potential to kill Route 8 allowing the release of trams to other parts of the network, or changes to movements.

Route 72 / 73

Again, it seems like a trend with these changes that see Route 72 broken into two separate operations at Gardiner Station. Burke Road operations are separate. Although interesting point that a while back there were turnouts at Camberwell Junction to allow Camberwell Depot to operate the route. It is now Malvern Depot (I believe). Perhaps 73 could be operated by Camberwell.

Summary:

The major change are the modifications to the routes:

  • Route 5 has been completely redesigned to provide a cross city service from the east to Clarendon Street and onwards terminating at Footscray Road (which will also see Route 75 cut slightly shorter and Route 30 extended to terminate there).
  • 16 and the 72 have been split with their north-south operations on the tail end of the routes respectively. Flowing on from that is the creation of route 68 and 73.
  • Route 64 and the new Route 67 replace Route 1 and Route 8 operations north of Melbourne University.
  • Route 8 could be eliminated, with Route 55 taking over operations east of St Kilda Road.
  • Route 12 to provide St Kilda options from CBD North (La Trobe).
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