Five more trams to be added to the metropolitan system

7 February, 2008

7 February 2008

Media release from the Minister for Public Transport

The Brumby Government will boost Melbourne's busiest tram route with five new trams under a unique international lease arrangement with France, Minister for Public Transport, Lynne Kosky, announced today.

Ms Kosky said five new high-capacity, low-floor trams would be put on Route 96 (East Brunswick-St Kilda Beach) as part of the Government's plan to meet unprecedented patronage growth ahead of a long-term tram procurement program.

"This deal is about ensuring our iconic tram network keeps pace with Victoria's growing and changing transport needs and delivers on the Brumby Government's commitment to continue finding new and innovative ways to improve public transport," Ms Kosky said.

"While patronage growth on trams remained relatively steady at 3 per cent over the past decade it climbed to 5.3 per cent in the 12 months to September last year. When the rare opportunity to lease these trams arose we acted quickly to secure them."

The five trams will be leased to December 2011 from the town of Mulhouse in France by Yarra Trams through its French shareholder Transdev, which operates Mulhouse's tram network.

The trams are equivalent in size to the longest trams currently operating in Melbourne and can carry about 240 passengers at a time.

Ms Kosky said allocating the five new longer trams to Route 96 would mean other trams currently being used on the route could be re-allocated to other routes, providing more capacity across the tram network.

"During peak hour these five new trams will be able to carry up to 1200 people which is equivalent to taking more than 1000 cars off Melbourne's roads," she said.

"It also means that Route 96, which already has a high proportion of platform stops, will now be serviced entirely by low-floor trams, significantly improving accessibility for passengers.

"The first of the five new trams will arrive by ship from France next week with the other four to arrive in coming months. All five trams are expected to be in service by September."

Yarra Trams chief executive Dennis Cliche said the five new trams would greatly improve the operating efficiency of the Melbourne tram network.

"Yarra Trams will make minor modifications to the new trams at its Preston workshops to make them suitable for Melbourne's conditions, including boosting air-conditioning," Mr Cliche said.

"Alstom, the tram's manufacturer, has been working closely with Yarra Trams to facilitate the delivery of the trams."

Ms Kosky said the new trams would assist in meeting projected growth on the network ahead of the Government's tram procurement program flagged for 2010-2011 in its 10-year, $10.5 billion transport blueprint Meeting Our Transport Challenges.

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