Melbourne Tram Network Grand Plan

Firstly, apologies for my absence from the blog over the past week – it’s getting close to exams and I managed to get several assignments due within a few days of one another. But I did get Adobe Illustrator a couple of days ago and I’ve been experimenting with it to create a new style of tram network map with the improvements I’ve looked at over the past few months.

I haven’t really discussed trams much recently – I’ve mainly looked at them as a secondary issue as part of heavy rail improvements. It’s not that I don’t like trams – on the contrary, they generally serve Melbourne quite well (with a few exceptions, like the longer services). But with a few targeted improvements, they could be even better. I’ve looked at a few such ideas already:

Extending routes 3,5 and 6 to meet 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 segregate street from light rail running, improve connectivity and enable faster running on the Epping line
All night running on the busier lines on Friday and Saturday night

Others which I haven’t looked at in great detail on the blog, but which have a lot of merit, include:

– Extending route 67 to Carnegie railway station
– Setting off peak daytime frequencies to at least 10 minutes for the quiet lines and 6 minutes for the busy lines
– Setting night time frequencies to every 10 minutes
– An extension of thinktram to improve running speeds
– New longer rolling stock (already budgeted for)
– tram stop rationalisation in some areas

This list is by no means exhaustive, and I’d be very interested to hear further/alternative ideas. Anyway here’s the map of these improvements I made in Illustrator – it’s a pdf and is quite large, but is scalable which is a big improvement on my previous forays into making network maps. There may be a few errors and omissions (I haven’t put route 30 on yet), but it should be basically all there. The broader network map issue is one I’ll hopefully be posting on over the weekend, so we should be able to compare this map with the current (not very readable) one, as well as previous Met attempts.

UPDATE: I’ve fixed up parts of the map and included some of your proposed changes. The map is available here.


31 Responses

  1. We’ve recently moved to Melbourne from Nottingham where the “tram system” consists of a meagre one line. Melburnians seem to complain a great deal about them, but when we were forced to buy a car for my wife to get to work we soon found we missed our regular tram journeys. Not only that, I’ve been documenting our transition to Aussies on wordpress and find the trams and trains prove an inexhaustible source of inspiration!

  2. I’m not sure what’s going on with route 26…

  3. Another proposal is to extend the no. 8 to connect with the no. 75.

  4. I guess that (Tom) would be a more direct route

  5. Good luck with the exams 🙂

    That all seems pretty sensible stuff. I’m in 2 minds about 67. Carnegie certainly has merit, but I’m also attracted by the idea of Oakleigh which I’ve heard suggested. The latter is a more significant trip generator and an interchange point for Warrigal Rd. Not sure what the best alignment would be though.

  6. One of my ideas is to get trams to run along Ferntree Gully Road, there’s a large piece of land in the loop of the freeway entrance (possibly VicRoads, looks abandoned) that could become a tram depot and workshops, and a launching point for more routes.

    Another good route would be along Waverley Road and down Jells Road, it would work especially well with a Rowville rail line.

  7. The Truganini Rd tram is difficult to extend because of the traffic jams on Koornang, Murrumbeena and Poath Rds. If you could find a way to Kangaroo Rd, could go through to Oakleigh

  8. Hi Phin,

    I always enjoyed reading your tram proposals, and I have missed them in recent months…simple and thoughtful (and often inexpensive) change like the ones you suggest will be the saving grace for PT in Melbourne I suspect, not the mega-projects which seem to live and die in the pages of The Age…

    I would like to suggest that next you might look at ways of improving the usefulness of those routes that “go nowhere”…my own line, 70-Wattle Park, is a prime example. I feel that a short extension to Deakin Uni Burwood would make this route far more useful, improve counter-peak travel, etc…I’m sure you can follow my thinking here.

    There are others like this, and you’ve covered some of them already…keep up the good work 🙂

  9. agree re Wattle Park. Down to Deakin Burwood and interchange with 75

  10. Hey Phin,
    looking at the map, I think comprehension would be improved if lines of similar colours avoided touching. For example, the 1, 67 and 16 are hard to separate- swapping say the blue from the 59 would make it a bit easier to read. Overall though, some nice work.

  11. Howabout a tram from Doncaster to Burwood Hwy connecting with 109 and 70?

  12. An idea I had a while ago was to route route 57 on flemington road, and service the abbotsford/victoria street loop from *swanston* street, connecting to one of the southern termini.

    Take it further, and you could extend that to west coburg and run william-street/peel street services as a shuttle, or connecting to one of the other southern termini.

    You’d have to relay the junctions.

  13. If Melbourne really had confidence in its ability to do urban planning and in its tram network, it would join the entire Victoria St complex from Hoddle St to Errol St into one line. What the heck, why not from Barkers Rd/Burke Rd to Errol St. One long line. It would only touch the CBD grid at one corner but with decent services and navigable interchnges, shouldn’t matter.

  14. The Victoria St gap is a weird one, and should be rectified. Although it is understandable in the mainly CBD-centric design that has been utilised to date by the PT planners.

    You wouldn’t even necessarily even need it to be one continuous route – with the St Vincent’s interchange pretty well laid out and navigable, I don’t see why you couldn’t disembark a 109 then change to the Errol St tram subsequently. A tram announcement would be needed for a while to make it work, but hey, they do that on the 19/59 and other routes that diverge already.

  15. Many thanks for the comments all. Sorry for my delay in replying.

    I hadn’t considered taking 70 to Deakin or 57 to St Vincents Plaza, but they’re both very good ideas. Extending the 70 is an idea I especially like.

    I’ve modified the map to include these ideas (with the 57, I’ve split it in half and run the outer section straight into Flemington Rd direct, and the inner section into a shuttle to St Vincents place). I’ve also fixed the colour issue on St Kilda Rd and taken the 48 down Station St to Box Hill.

    Extending route 8 to meet the 75 and the 67 to Caulfield are also interesting ideas. Another advantage of extending the 8 would be to get decent transport to the door of the Coles HQ, which strangely sits half way between Tooronga station and the 72 tram.

    I’ve been wondering whether it’s worth building new tram lines for cross town inner northern routes, like North Melbourne station to Melbourne Uni and Clifton Hill station to Melbourne Uni. Or is a frequent bus service (like the 401) going to be sufficient to cater for such trips?


  16. Glad people like my route 70 idea…but looking at the new revised map, especially at the eastern side and that extended route 48 (Box Hill via Doncaster – Trams on Tram Rd again, how poetic…), I’m itching to just drag that sucker on down Station St or Elgar Rd to Deakin Uni…

    I might sound like I have a vested interest in Deakin, but I swear on my mother I’m a Unimelb man 🙂

    What do we think? Is there any call for a 4th North-South line? And is Tram Rd/Station St (Doncaster-Deakin) the place for it?

  17. In light of how many train services are going to be removed from the Loop, and the Victoria Street/Parade tram idea, I’d like to see a tram shuttle from North Melbourne Station via Adderley, Hawke, Victoria, then down Clarendon, past Jolimont Station and the MCG to Richmond Station. It would go past another hospital, help clear crowds from the MCG, and might free up room on the trains for transfers.

  18. Phin, I think the 401 is plenty frequent to cater for and build patronage for its intended purpose. As has been previously discussed it could do with a stop or two more on its route, and certainly extending it (or having an alternative route) toward Clifton Hill wouldn’t go astray.

    The 401’s new buses and branding (which will help it, I think) still don’t necessarily capture people the way trams do; most people I’ve talked to on the subject prefer trams. Perceived less jolting, travel/motion sickness, greater spaciousness etc.

    Thus, I can’t help but wonder how great a Bigbino running up and down Grattan St would be : )

  19. It all comes back to the network effect and network design (two posts I am working on for my blog)

    Rather than having trams wind hither and thither, attempting a multitude of single seat journeys, it is better to improve frequencies and connections.

    Rather than 72 – I would rather the “Burke Rd tram” which you know absolutely where it goes – whether you catch it at Gardiner or Ivanhoe or Caulfield.

    Rather than 5 differerent trams running along sections of Victoria St, one would be better.

    Obviously some sections will require multiple running but you could improve the service and reduce the confusion by running all St K Rd connectors as shuttles.

    Here’s some disjointed sections you could unify:

    -Park St – Victoria Ave, from Domain Interchange all the way to the bay.

    -Sturt St all the way to the back door of the Arts Centre

    -Victoria St as outlined above

    -Fitzroy St, all the way to Dandenong Rd and Malvern Station (I’d love to see this alignment used as a Light Metro)

    -One long Spencer St/Clarendon St route (get rid of the turning)

    -Fix Smith and Gertrude Sts so that the Smith St tram runs all the way down Smith St to Victoria Pde

    -fix Abbotsford St and the tram through Royal Park, make it one tram

    The advantages I would see are:

    -you could use the smallest trams on the shuttles

    -you could build up the trunk routes with big trams so that over time you could afford traffic separation measures and maybe even undergrounding or light-metrofication

    -you could build up urban densities around trunk routes, with quality of service nearly as good as heavy rail

    -no delay transmission from one route to another, as turn-up-and-go frequencies are provided but not guaranteed connection

  20. Maybe we should have a tram grid.

  21. Thanks for the comments.

    Riccardo, completely agree on more trunk routes and connecting feeder shuttles – it makes perfect sense. When the new tram orders are made soon they should all be big 4,5+ section trams that can run trunk routes like St Kilda rd every 2 minutes, and the remaining Z3s and As can be left to the shuttles. I’m not quite sure what I’d do with the Bs – they seem to do ok on routes like the 59 so maybe they could live out their days there.

    Regarding your light metro idea for Dandenong rd, do you envision something like a D2 running back and forth every 3 minutes with measures like light priority and platform stops; or are you thinking more Tyne and Wear, with high floor vehicles and boom gates?

    Dave, I’m inclined to think the 401 does the job well enough, but could do with an extension to Clifton Hill. I get the impression that the main impediment to higher patronage is that people simply can’t get on a train at North Melbourne in the afternoon, so would rather take the longer trip to Melbourne Central or Flinders st and have a better chance of getting on the train. A tram would still face the same issue as the Bus at North Melbourne. Large scale loop reform and more trains would make the 401 a much more viable service.

    There’s less overcrowding on the Clifton Hill group, so maybe the 401 would work better there…

  22. Another good tram extension would be from elsternwick to southland shopping centre via “nepean highway” This could turned into Trunk “route 2” tram.

    Another good link would be across the morland area linking up the railway stations from the broadmeadows line to the hurstbridge line. This would be an inner north cross town tram.

    Extensions of the the 57 to service the new areas west of the outer terminus. there is a shopping centre that could form a good terminus for it.

    Another cross town route would be Clifton hill to st kilda juncton via hoddle st. This would have to be an elevated tram – metro for it to work as that road has bad congestion.

  23. Elsternwick, you mean east brighton?

  24. No I would say that he means a new line branching straight ahead from Brighton Rd into the Nepean Hwy where the 67 Carnegie turns into Glen Huntly Rd.

  25. TBH I see little point in the “inner north cross town tram” as that area would be better serviced with frequent buses.

    57 to Avondale Heights has some merit but where is the destination – too long to be a trunk service for pax going to the CBD, and stops too far from Highpoint to be of use.

    There’s not actually any bus route at all down that section of the Nepean Hwy, so it would surprise me if it could go from having no public transport service to requiring a tram.

  26. […] arrangement largely mirrors my already stated plans for connecting up Plenty Rd., Nicholson St. and St. Georges Rd. as a single light rail line. For […]

  27. What about east-west cross routes in inner-mid suburbs? We could do with more inner loops similar to the 78, 79 and 16 trams.

    A tram could run across Darebin road through Northcote to the Ivanhoe area.

    Another could replace the 508 through Brunswick, Northcote to Alphington area.

    Brunswick Road, Blyth Street, Moreland Road could all do with east-west tram links.

    You could then link these with the 78, 79 and 16 to create inner suburban tram loops.

  28. Fantastic web site,, Hope to definitely come back again soon:D

  29. You ought to extend 86 to Footscray station
    Iit & 57 could probably be extended further into the Western Suburbs too.
    There ought to be a tram going across the mass of routes in the north of the city.

  30. Great site.
    How about a high speed light rail/tram from Melb. Airport cutting south east of the airport via Airport Drive, over the ring road to the freight rail line behind Airport West shopping town with a stop, then using the freight line to St. Albans station (stop) then direct to Footscay (stop) then to Southern Cross Station.
    I think that freight line is standard gauge. So it would only take about 6-7 km of new track and bridgework, over head power, plus adjusting platform heights at St.Albans, Footscray and Southern Cross and we would have a rail transport link to the airport.
    Power on the trams could be made the same as the rail network.
    St. Albans stop for outer suburban areas, Footscray stop will pick up the Laverton and Williamstown/Altona train lines.

    As for tram route 67 to Carnegie.
    The tram intead of turning right from GlenHuntly Road into Truganini, could turn north (left) into Truganini Road to Neerim Road, turn right to Koornang Road and at the intersection turn right south down Koornang Road and then right back into Truganini Road.
    This would form a single track loop and would service the Carnegie shopping area and be about 350 metres walk from the railway station.
    About 1km of track and over head power, plus road works.

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