Sunday, September 21, 2008

What tram is that?

There are some great resources on the internet for details of public transport in Melbourne. Trams, trains and buses, we have the lot.

I have done some tram research and snapped with the camera and here is an educative post for you. Amaze your friends with your detailed knowledge, or just skip the post and come back in a week when I will tell you about trains. Well, maybe not.

In order of appearing on the streets of Melbourne.


 
Here are a couple of Ws, W Class actually. They are further divided into sub classes such as W5, W6 or SW6, but don't you worry about that. They are Melbourne's old trams. You can see them on the free City Circle line, travelling along Latrobe Street from St Vincent's Plaza to Docklands and in Chapel Street. They are noisy and quite slow, but comfortable and served Melbourne well for many decades. Tram numbers perhaps, 800 to 1020.

This is a Z1 or Z2 tram. They are much the same, just call them Zeds. They have pointy noses, round headlights and a green dot matrix destination that is hard to read. They are jerky and tend to scream when they get up speed. They are mainly seen in the more expensive areas of Melbourne, south of the river. Tram numbers, 1 to 115. Later edit: All Z trams now have driver's air conditioning.

This is a Z3 tram, still with a pointy nose, but rectangular headlights, an extra door, bright orange LED destinations and gently whine when in motion. They have what looks like a cat carrying cage on the roof at each end. These are air conditioning units for the drivers. See them or catch them anywhere almost. Tram numbers 116 to 230.
 
Since we are now at the end of the alphabet, back to the beginning with A class. There were two models, but they are much the same. They are quite short and boxy looking and not terribly big inside. They too have the bright orange LED destinations, along with the rectangular headlights of the Z3 and they feel similar to travel on like the Z3. Mostly seen on east west Melbourne routes. Tram numbers 231 to 300.

Then we have the B class tram, in my opinion the best tram Melbourne has ever seen. It was built locally and is quite old now. It presents in two sections, articulated in the middle, and is Melbourne's first tram with air-conditioning, which works very well. It is a very comfortable tram. It still retains the rectangular headlights but there are a pair each side. It still has the hard to read green dot matrix destination. There are a decent lot of them and they are spread over the system. Tram numbers 2001 to 2132.
 
Suddenly and strangely we lost the ability to build trams in Australia and the C class, or Citadis, arrived from France. It is a disabled friendly tram with low floors. It is dreary shade of grey but has quite stylish lines. It is somewhat nicer to travel on than the other type of Euro tram. You will see C class trams mostly in Collins Street and they have air con, but the green dot matrix destination is not great to read. Tram numbers 3000 to 3036.


Only Germans could have designed such an ugly brute as the D class, Combino tram(sorry MD). They come in 3 bit articulated bits, D1 or 5 bits, D2. They are mostly white, square looking, with easy to read green dot matrix destinations. The seats are tiny, you get thrown side to side, hear every vibration over rough track and have woefully inadequate heating and cooling. They are used mostly south of the river but frequently visit East Brunswick, the other end of the St Kilda light rail and Moreland, the other end of the Toorak route. Tram numbers 3501 to 3538 for the short ones and 5001 to 5021 for the long ones.
 
And then we have Bumblebee, which is like a C class only longer and brightly painted. It is an improvement on the shorter Citadis, but unfortunately, we are only renting them and have to give them back. Only used on the St Kilda light rail. 5100 to 5123.

17 comments:

  1. Now the old horse-drawn trams are all class, complete with air-con :P

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  2. I like the really old trams. They give me a sense of roughness and movement which fits in nicely with my attitude with members of the public.

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  3. What is the difference between the St Kilda light rail and the rest referred to as trams?

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    1. The saint kilda light rail is a light rail because it used to be a railway line. It was converted in to a light rail/tram route in the late 80's. Best line there was. But the met wanted to screw with people, so they converted it and sold the reserve.

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  4. Air-con with the odour of horse shit Jayne.

    You certainly know you are moving Reuben.

    None really Victor. It is called light rail because it runs on old railway track like your Lilyfield tram. There is another similar one to Port Melbourne. It is just a convenient quick reference word we Mexicans use.

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  5. Anonymous9:48 pm

    Ooh, are the bubblebees still going to be around when I'm in town? They look like fun things to ride in!! Vik.

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  6. No toastracks and balloons?

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  7. Should be Vik. They really look great. See a subsequent post.

    All in storage or museums Brian.

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  8. Wow, I just learned alot about trams here Andrew, a tram was just..well, a tram to me before this! I will be on the look out to recognise the class of each tram...no winners for picking the bumblebee right? LOL

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  9. What an interesting post, I should print it out and bring it with me then when someone says "I think it's this one"... I can pull it out and say "No... it's the worng colour"

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  10. I know everyone hates the public transport in their own city, but seriously, why the hell are W-class trams still used by paying customers, they are so unreliable, sure they're fine for the city circle but enough already!

    I do like me the Z, A and B class. To me these are a true Melbourne icon. Of course I like the Citadel trams too, however the Siemans Combino's would have to be the biggest waste of money ever. How the fuck did they manage to screw up the seating configuration so badly? Seriously they seat half as many people as the smaller B-class, how the hell did they manage that... Don't even get me started on the noisy rail packs underneath them. Horrible.

    I can't wait to take the 96 bumblebee trams, I'm sure they're pretty much just a Citadel with updated styling, but why are they so friggin' yellow? That's not really a match to the rest of the fleet, and whats with the farcical naming competition that see's them called Bumblebee1 - 5. Surely there where better entries than that?

    Oh well. I like trams *pulls best window licking grin* But seriously this is actually an incredibly aewsome post!

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    Replies
    1. The W class got an upgrade so they can go to up to 50 Km/h

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    2. Really Ljayvee6? I wasn't aware of that.

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  11. Great post. Have to agree that the B class are the best trams. Z3s would be my next favourite. I remember being very young and being able to pick the Z variants by the shape of the lights, either square or round. I didn't know they were actually called Zs back then of course...

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  12. Yes Cazzie, you are assured of getting that one correct.

    And the kids start thinking what a nerdy mum they have Jo.

    Hi Kezza, thanks for the comment. I pretty well agree with you, except I quite like the Bumblebee colours.

    Not knowing they were Zeds Ben is a bit like my train identification skills. I know what they look like, but not what they are called.

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  13. Anonymous9:42 pm

    there are also new trams built in bayswater (melbourne).the are expected to operate in 2012.

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  14. I am not aware of this. Details?

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