In spite of Melbourne having the largest tram system, it is also one of the world's slowest, much hampered by tram cars mixing with motor cars on congested roads. It is legacy system from years past. Most new systems being built are separated from cars as is the terrific new Gold Coast tram line, and I hope the about to be built new Sydney tram equals the Gold Coast tram for speed and priority over motor cars.
Nevertheless, Melbourne's tram system is very popular, at times overwhelmed by its popularity with very crowded vehicles. At times you would think Melbourne has the fastest system in the world where the trams get absolutely hammered by drivers using maximum acceleration and braking. I have travelled on trams in Budapest, England, Amsterdam, Toronto and Australia's Gold Coast and Sydney and nowhere have I experienced trams being driven like Melbourne's trams are at times. I can only put it down to our trams always running late.
It is no wonder they are often late when the authorities allow cars to queue across city intersections thereby preventing trams in the cross streets to proceed. It is illegal to enter an intersection unless you can clear the intersection, yet nothing is ever done about this.
Well, I was having a good old rant there but I am not sure where I was going now when I started this a couple of months ago.
Here are some photos then.
Before going out I often check to see what people on the street are wearing as a weather indicator. Up high on the balcony one can get a false impression, especially of wind but temperature too. Another indicator is the air conditioning fan on top of the German made Siemens Combino trams Once the temperature reaches 25 degrees, the air conditioning runs pretty well flat out and I can see the fans on various trams spinning. The one in the photo is not spinning, but if the next tram along has a spinning fan, it must be warm but not too hot. If they are all spinning, then it is hot. As you can imagine, if the air con is running non stop at 25 degrees, imagine when it is 40 degrees. Hopeless!
Southbank Tram Depot was closed down when the intersection of Whiteman and Clarendon Streets was reconstructed. The trams still ran on part of the route and were stored somewhere where the access to their normal route was via St Kilda Road, so there were some very odd tram bell sounds. These are big trams. Look, the one tram fills the entire trams stop. It is about 34 metres long. But Sydney's new trams will be 66 metres long.
Here it is against one of our 80s trams very loosely connected with a Swedish design, one of the usual trams we use to get to town or elsewhere. The big trams did not pick up people along the way and I suppose displayed something like Sorry, Not Carrying Customers. Tram passengers are now customers. A better destination display might be, Out of Service.