I’m starting the first of a series of posts on tram line extension possibilities with the big one – route 72. This plan, which has been around since many moons ago, involves splitting the 72 tram into 2 distinct routes. The first, which we’ll call route 2, would take up the east-west stretch of the 72, would run from Melbourne University to the corner of Malvern and Burke Roads, and would involve no significant modifications to infrastructure. The remainder of the existing 72, the north-south section running along Burke Road from Cotham Road to Malvern Road, would be extended north to Ivanhoe Station and south to Caulfield Station and named route 7.
This would provide significant improvements to cross-town travel in the inner eastern suburbs. Although few passengers would be expected to travel all the way from Ivanhoe to Caulfield, many would take up the opportunity to travel from Ivanhoe or East Kew to Camberwell; or from Glen Iris to East Malvern. Furthermore, the line would better link tram routes 3, 5, 6, new route 2, 70, 75, 109 and 48 along a north south axis, as well as providing a better link with the Belgrave/Lilydale/Alamein, Glen Waverley, Cranbourne/Pakenham and Hurstbridge lines, and a future link with the much needed Doncaster line. This vastly improves cross-town connectivity in a large area and is exactly the sort of line needed to encourage a serious modal shift towards public transport.
The northern section (from Cotham Road to Ivanhoe Station) would be around 6 kilometres long, and the southern section (from Malvern Road to Waverley Road) would be 2.4 kilometres long. Using the $10.87 million/km construction cost I calculated in an earlier post, the northern section would cost $65.22 million, and the southern section $10.088 million – or $91.308 million all up. Operating costs (set at $0.84 million/km per year) would be in the order of $7.056million per year, and new tram purchases (set at $0.61 million/km per year over the life of the asset) would total $5.124 million per year.
It is important to remember that these are linear extrapolations of existing costs in an industry which has economies of scale, so these ought to be taken as upper bound estimates. Furthermore, Burke Road bridge over the Eastern Freeway and Yarra river would need to be strengthened, increasing the cost somewhat. The tram/train level crossing at Gardiner Station is in desperate need of removal, but really shouldn’t be counted as part of the construction costs, as a) it is already exists, and b) its removal would benefit not only trams, but trains and cars as well.
Filed under: trams |