Trams are such an important part of Melbourne.
The public transport here is fantastic, especially the trams, which go everywhere within the CBD and a lot of places in the near surrounds. In some portions of the city, only trams and pedestrians are allowed.
Melbourne has the largest urban tram network in the world with 250 km of double track (that’s part of what makes it the most livable city in the world!). Trams have been operating in Melbourne since 1884 and they are now a symbol of the city. You can’t be in Melbourne without hearing the ding of tram bells warning that they’re coming through.
Out at the Hawthorn Tram Depot, there is an amazing collection of old trams that go on display to the public twice a month.
The Hawthorn Tram Depot Museum also houses tons of tram-themed memorabilia from tickets throughout the ages, to old conductor uniforms, to diagrams and blueprints showing the inner workings of the machines.
There are many different classes of tram, each one more modern and better than the last. All of the trams currently running on the PTV routes have been built after 1984, with the exception of the tourist City Circle tram route, which still uses historic trams from the 1920’s-1950’s.
It was really awesome to see all of the old trams and how seating, ticketing, and design have all changed throughout the years (no longer are there conductors collecting tickets, only tapping cards on electronic machines).
One of the biggest features in the oldest trams was the reversible seat backs that moved from one side of the bench to the other, so that which ever way the tram was traveling the passengers could be seated facing forward. That design went by the wayside as it became a safety concern (fingers being caught in the mechanisms). Today there are both forward and backward benches that face each other in order to fit more people in the same space.
I was in the same boat as the 5 year olds that were there, standing (or sitting depending on the tram) up in the driver’s compartments, pretending to drive a tram, ringing the bell, and having the time of my life.
One of the Z-class trams (the kind that runs on the City Circle route) was decorated like a Karachi bus for the 2006 Commonwealth Games which were held in Melbourne. The tram ran on the City Circle route during the Games. Karachi buses are known for their extravagant designs and blaring music; the tram version even had flashing lights.