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" Melbourne on the Net, Part 1"

Alan Williams, 10th February 2004

Alan Williams gave a Power Point presentation entitled " Melbourne on the Net, Part 1". His aims were to explore some historical and contemporary features of the Melbourne tramway system; to provide a basis for future presentations; to illustrate how CIT (Communication Information Technology) might be used to explore a tramway/light rail system remotely and to encourage members of the audience to have a go.

He chose to research Melbourne as it is one of the biggest tramway systems in the world and has similarities with British practice including street running, reservations and light rail lines created from former heavy rail lines.

Presentations on Melbourne are few and far between and other sources of information are limited in Britain. Australia has comparatively open access to information and the internet provides much "up-to-the-minute" information.

Alan then used data from the internet to give an historical survey of Melbourne's tramways including the extensive cable system that lasted until 1940. This was followed by a photographic rolling stock survey including a picture of a Yarra Trams "A" class car in "Metlink" livery taken that day.

The last of the various classes of "W" cars were built in 1956. A total of 50 SW cars are available for service on the City Circle Route. Following trials with prototype car 1041 built in 1973, a total of 115 Z1/Z2 cars were delivered between 1975 and 1979, to be followed by a further 115 Z3 design between 1979 and 1984. Next came 70 A1 and A2 bogie cars built between 1984/88. These were followed by two class B1 articulated cars numbered 2001 and 2002, built for dual height loading. These were followed by 130 production class B2 articulated cars, which were designed to work the light rail lines to Port Melbourne and St. Kilda, although are seen in many parts of the city. More recently 36 three-section, class C, Citadis trams were obtained by Yarra trams in 2002 for route 109. The latest arrivals are 38 three section Siemens Combinos designated class D. Deliveries of a further 28 five section Combinos have now commenced.

Next we saw some of the extensive collection of historical cars, some in the former chocolate and cream livery. This was followed by a detailed look at the system's main features, particularly in the City Centre. Alan used a combination of maps, old photographs and recent shots to illustrate many aspects of this attractive city.

The sources of data were too numerous to detail. However the Yahoo Group "Trams Down Under" is a good starting point for exploration. Using Google and "Melbourne Trams" as a keyword will produce some 20,000 hits. Alan expressed his thanks to local photographers Mal Rowe and Peter Bruce who had e-mailed their photographs of recent events for inclusion in the presentation. The talk was much appreciated by the audience and provided a fascinating insight into this large and expanding tramway system

John Laker, 22/3/04

London Area – 10th February 2004

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