route 72 extension

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.



17 Responses

  1. BURKE ROAD! There is no ‘O’!
    Maybe you aren’t from the eastern suburbs after all…

  2. All fixed!
    Tough men like me don’t like admitting mistakes though…

  3. Haha, apparently I forwarded invites to my party using the subject heading Bimbos. But the previous comment applies here also.

    Happy birthday Phin

  4. And that tram extension looks like an excellent idea.

  5. my goodness…if there is one thing that doesn’t contribute anything to the human race this has got to be it.

  6. Major Payne,

    as someone who has lived on the Frankston line and has family who live near Glen Iris station I can certainly say that it would contribute to my ease of travel.

    While this is only a very small contribution to the human race (and, more specifically, myself) it is a contribution that is larger than zero and therefore negates your contention.

  7. The 72 extension is something that should be done after some of the short extensions you mentioned in a later blog. However, it is important in its own right, as without any kind of circle railway and no buses in the inner east (well, there might be a few, but let’s face it, no-one likes buses) a north-south link is badly needed.

    The 72 extension could easily be staged, first to the High St tram, then to Ivanhoe, but you’d want to do the whole thing at once to stop politics stopping the thing half-way.

    A link b/n the eastern lines (camberwell) and hurstbridge (ivanhoe) would benefit a lot of commuters.

    You’d need some tram clearways to make it time-efficient though; traffic is terrible on Burke road, especially near the freeway at peak, and through Burke Rd N, although no worse than some other stretches (Camberwell shops/junction) I guess.

    The southern extension would also be great, although should terminate on the south side of Waverly road IMHO, or even cross to just inside the Monash caulfield campus.

  8. Dave, you are absolutely correct on all counts.

    I think Burke rd. traffic is a big issue to overcome. At some point north of the freeway 2 lanes are going to have to merge into 1 for Burke rd north, causing congestion in the evening peak. Interestingly, south bound taffic along Burke rd. north in the morning seems to flow much better.

    Even if you managed to get 2 lanes to McArthur rd, the traffic is still going to bank up and delay trams. Tram clearways would be good, but I wonder if a full time tram lane all the way along the bridge would be more efficient.

    Politicians would never go for a permanent cut in the road width there though…

  9. A question – would your proposed Doncaster train line have a station at the Burke Rd / extended route 72 intersection (ie, Burke Rd overpass)?

    There’s nothing much within walking distance, just the tram line to take people away, but it -might- be a quick way for people from Kew / Ivanhoe South to get into the CBD or City Loop quickly.

    On the other hand, the people travelling from Doncaster might get upset about losing a minute or two. I guess a station cost in the overall scheme of things would be relatively low, and an extra interchange point is generally a good thing.

    Your thoughts?

  10. I’d have stations at Chandler Highway, Burke Rd., Bulleen Rd, Macedon Square or Doncaster Rd. park and ride and Doncaster shoppingtown. If we go by the rule of thumb that stopping at a station rather than running express adds 1 minute to the journey, then I think this number of stations would be about right.

    One of the great benefits of running an extended 72 is that it would link the Doncaster and Hurstbridge lines not only with each other, but would connect them with the 48, 109, 70, 75, Belgrave/Lilydale, Alamein etc. As such, I’d maximise the interchange potential of the line.


  11. I would actually number the two routes the other way round because Malvern Rd runs between Toorak Rd (no.8) and High St (no.6).

  12. Sorry the smily face is not ment to be there, it is supposed to be an 8 followed by a ).

  13. […] rail stations – Extending route 48 to Doncaster (as part of a broader plan including heavy rail) – Splitting route 72 and extending it north to Ivanhoe and south to Caulfield – Splitting some of the St. Kilda Rd. routes into shuttles – Reconfiguring routes 86, 96 and 112 to […]

  14. Could you use the old circle line/chandler highway alighnment to avoid traffic congestion and link in with the Hurstbridge line at Alphington or Fairfield instead? This might allow a fast light rail service like the St Kilda and Port Melbourne services. I guess its a question of whether an on-road cross tram service is preferable to an express one. .. your thoughts?

  15. On-road trams probably have more opportunity for “passenger recycling” – one set boards, another alights at frequent intervals, but if the aim is more to connect several hubs (ie no street shops or other intermediate destionations) off-street would provide a faster node-node journey. I think in this instance the former is a better proposition, with Burke Rd connecting to many other tram lines, shops, and rail as you head both north and south from the present ’72’ stretch.

    The Circle alignment, branches more from Hawthorn than Burke Rd, is now a linear park, which I suspect would be hard to wrest from residents, while VicRoads sits over the old Kew station area necessitating on-street running (and over to Chandler). The Chandler bridge would have to be widened, and there would be a fair demand for any new lanes to also include cars (which crawl now, and would crawl later, delaying PT). The old APM area is still free, but overall I think trying to restore that legacy corridor would deliver fewer benefits than utilizing an already direct N/S corridor that would link several activity centres and heavy rail lines. With priority signals and some dedicated running space now and then you could probably make a decent job of it.

  16. Such a plan would please the manosaurus rex.

  17. What’s up, I log on to your blogs daily. Your humoristic
    style is witty, keep up the good work!

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