Trams in Melbourne

With the world's largest network, trams have become synonymous with the city of Melbourne in Australia. Rather than simply being a costly tourist attraction, trams actually form an integral part of Melbourne's day-to-day transport needs, with commuters regularly utilising trams to travel to work. Every tourist who visits Melbourne will often fit a tram ride into their itinerary; not only as a method of getting around, but also as a way of experiencing the character and history of the city.

Understand

History

Although trams were once an integral part of public transportation networks in cities worldwide, their presence was seen as an impediment to progress as private cars gained popularity following the second world war. Although other cities such as Sydney and Los Angeles once had much more extensive tram networks, their presence was eventually regarded as a hindrance that held up private automobile traffic, and these tram networks were eventually dismantled and replaced by buses. Although Melbourne's tram network was also considered for dismantling, the city eventually decided that the cost of tearing up the existing tram tracks was prohibitive. Eventually, as other cities which dismantled their tram networks became increasingly choked by exhaust from automobile traffic, Melbourne was convinced that its decision to retain its tram network was the right one. Today, Melburnians continue to value their tram network, and see it as an integral part of their city's character.

Fleet

The famous W-class tram.
A 5-section D-class tram.

There are over 478 trams in the fleet. Seven different models of tram operate on the network, which are organised into different classes.

Network

The network consists of 30 routes, which is made up of 1763 tram stops and over 250 km of track. This is the largest network of trams in the world.—

See

There are two main museums that house Melbourne trams and other interesting items, along with various other attractions that relate to trams around the city.

Do

Eat

On board the tramcar.

Yes, in Melbourne, you even have the opportunity to dine out on a moving tram! The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant operates up to three restaurants at any one time, slowly crawling their way about the city. The trams used are from the iconic W-class fleet; the inside layout has been converted into booths, complete with opulent lights and curtains.

The food is actually not cooked on-board the tram, but heated up after being previously cooked at a bricks-and-mortar restaurant next to the pickup tram stop. There are only two choices for each course. The main course only serves chicken or beef, and the restaurant can't cater for vegetarians. Kangaroo can be served as entrée in the lunch and late dinner periods. Alcohol and drinks are plentiful and free. See the website for full menu details.

The tramcar runs daily over three periods:

The tram leaves from stop #125 at the corner of Clarendon St and Normanby Rd, South Melbourne. Bookings should be made well in advance, usually at least a month early. You must arrive at the departure point 15 minutes early. Contact,  +613 9695 4000, e-mail: .

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