Earlier this year I wrote a post showing what each type of Melbourne train looks like.
Here’s the tram version, in order of appearance. This is a longer post, as there’s more types.
This is the W-class tram. They’re something of a Melbourne icon, having been around (in various forms) since the
1930s 1920s, though those on the road now are mostly from the 50s. Purists don’t like that the pole has been swapped for a pantograph, but while it’s not historically accurate, I personally don’t mind how it looks. After many years of successful operation, unfortunately they are now all speed-limited to 30km/h, ostensibly a safety-measure, but ultimately to enable cost-cutting on brake maintenance.
There were 748 W-class trams built, but only 38 are in service — 12 in the City Circle fleet in burgundy paint jobs (which, again, annoys the purists). The government says all except the City Circle trams are to be phased-out. As you can see, the City Circle is amazingly popular.
Z-class trams date back to the late-1970s to early-1980s. This is a Z1. At least I think it’s a Z1. It could be a Z2 — they are almost identical. You can tell Z-class trams apart because of their pointy nose. Inside they have a big empty space where conductors used to be seated at a booth.
This is a Z3. The notable difference from a Z1 is the presence of a small door at the rear of the tram, but they also have better acceleration, braking, and to me the ride feels smoother.
These A-class trams are from the mid-80s. They feel cramped inside to me, though they’re about the same size as a Z. Perhaps the seating layout just isn’t very efficient.
The B-class trams are from the late-80s to early-90s. There are two Bananas-in-Pyjamas-like variants, the B1 and the B2. There were only two B1s made, and they’re notable for their venetian blinds, and making the odd funny pneumatic noise. They were the first articulated trams in Melbourne, and also the first to have air-conditioning.
This is a C-class tram, aka a Citadis, introduced in the early-2000s as part of the privatisation deal. They’re made by Alstom, and run in numerous cities around the world. They were the first Melbourne tram to have a low-floor, thus when combined with a platform tram stop, it’s wheelchair accessible. I suspect someone decided as a cost-cutting measure not to opt for a rear door, which is a shame; it’d make the back of the tram easier to access.
D-class (Siemens Combino) trams were also from the early-2000s as part of privatisation, and also run in a number of cities around the world. D1 is the 3-section version. They’re known for not having very many seats, in part because the wheel arches intrude into the cabin.
D2 is the 5-section version, a similar length to a B-class tram. Unlike Siemens trains, Siemens trams don’t suffer from brake problems, but they have suffered from structural issues requiring strengthening, which included the removal of seats, further reducing their numbers.
There’s one more: the C2, aka Bumblebee trams. They are 5-section Citadis trams, originally built for Mulhouse in France, but leased until December 2011, after which they will have to go back home… which is a little while before the next batch of Melbourne trams will arrive, so there could be a shortfall for a while.
We don’t know what the next model of tram will be, but they are likely to be a similar length to the Bumblebees.