Thursday, September 15, 2011

Combino Citadis

What are those words? They are the makes of Melbourne's European built trams. Combino trams are made by Siemens of Germany. Citadis are by Alstom of France. While both companies now have newer models that are quite satisfactory, their earlier efforts at low floor disabled people friendly models were atrocious beasts and Melbourne is stuck with them for many years to come. Combino trams can be found running routes in Swanston Street and Bourke Street, while Citidas trams pretty well stick to Collins Street routes.

A conventional tram and train have wheels that sit on a frame that pivots underneath the carriage. Apparently it is called a bogie. But not these afore mentioned trams that have fixed wheels that do not turn left nor right but sit straight ahead when the vehicles are travelling around a curve.

So what happens when the fixed wheel meets a track curve? The wheel slams against the side of the rail and throws the tram and those inside the tram in the opposite direction.

Add to this woefully inadequate air conditioning, well, we was sold a pup.

Thanks ex Premier Jeff Kennett and Transport Minister Alan Brown. Your legacies are generally not appreciated.

While Melbourne's quite old B class trams, mostly an Australian product, have high steps and and so are not disabled/pram friendly, they are vastly superior, with comfortable seating and space, plenty to hold onto, good climate control units and a smooth and quiet ride. How we ever went backwards in passenger comfort, I will never understand.

You want some photos so that you can avoid rough and noisy trams? Like you have a choice, but anyway.........

This is a Combino tram. Avoid it. I hope it works better in Amsterdam where I saw many of them.

A Citadis, in my opinion not quite as bad as a Combino, but others don't always agree.

And a B class tram, the most wonderful tram Melbourne has ever experienced.


  1. I see the B-class tram and it immediately brings to mind memories of the Number 57.

    However, the irony of 'Leave work early' on top of the tram would be lost on most of the occupants of number 57!

  2. Hello Andrew:
    The Combino trams were introduced in Budapest on one particular route some years ago at enormous inconvenience as the rails had to be replaced and the 'station' platforms altered. Even when working there were more problems with the air conditioning and the trams not running very well. However, now everything does seem to have been sorted although we still prefer the old trams which run on every other route and have been running successfully for decades. Air conditioning for them is an open window!!!

  3. We're still being Jeffed.

  4. I don't mind the newer European-made trams. I am surprised, however, that we don't get frequent derailments given how fast some trams are driven.

  5. A tram with fixed wheels???
    How did they expect it to corner?

    I haven't yet riden Adelaide's trams so don't know what they're like. Perhaps I'll give them a miss altogether and stick with the buses.

  6. We were definitely sold a pup, i say bring back the W class trams they were the best :-).

  7. The Combino is the worst tram possible! 25% are always in the repairshop, and when they turn corners... the sound is like nails over a black-board. [while when they were sold to the city of Amsterdam they would be the most silent ones... NOT]

  8. Kath, a comment on the socio-economics of the travellers on the 57 tram.

    JayLa, route 4 and 6 I believe. I have been checking. A post coming soon. I also read that the state of the rails aren't the best elsewhere, so maybe they needed replacing. Our really old trams that run on restricted routes are older than yours I think, and many people like them.

    Jayne, like rotten egg gas, the smell lingers.

    AdRad, they are not so bad on straight track where the track is in good conditions. But even so, they are noisy.

    River, your trams are quite good, as I suggested when I wrote about them during our holidays. You are about to see some even newer ones.

    Ah Windsmoke, I think they have had their day. While I was very used to and comfortable with them, now I find them so noisy.

    Peter, glad you agree. The noise they make is awful. I heard that your started cracking up and had to be modified, then they did the Melbourne ones too before they cracked up.

  9. How do the Bummble Bee citadis compare? I've only been on one twice.

    I hate the seating layout on the Combino where the wheels are, it's just stupid. At least the Citadis have seats over this space rather than wasted space.

    The new Bombardier trams look pretty good from what I've seen on the DOT website.

  10. I've been on the Esplanade when the track was old and the Bumble Bee was fine. I was on a Citadis yesterday in Collins Street and I think they are much more comfortable than Combinos. I expect the Bombardier trams will be ok. It was just a bad period in history when they first started with fixed wheel, low floor trams.

  11. Anonymous2:10 pm

    I couldn't agree with you more