Why a Z-class tram was used for the Queen’s visit

A lot of people have asked why a Z-class tram was chosen for the Queen’s tram ride (rather than Melbourne’s traditional and iconic W-class, for instance).

Here’s the answer:

W and A-class trams don’t have handrails in the middle of the doorways, which can be a big help for older people. B-class trams do, but they may not have wanted to take a high-capacity tram (or two; they had a spare) out of service for this event.

C and D class trams are low-floor, and have few handles — this would have been easier at the Federation Square platform stop, but perhaps not where the Queen alighted near Government House, where there is no platform.

Over time the tram fleet needs to switch to low-floor vehicles, and more tram stops need to be accessible. It does matter for the mobility of those in wheelchairs. As these roll out, they will be able to use more of the tram system.

Accessible tram

After all, some parts of Melbourne are most easily reached by tram (including the hospital precinct, which unfortunately and ironically, has no accessible trams serving it at all).

No-step boarding is also faster for able-bodied people, and those using shopping jeeps and prams.

Update Monday morning: There also seems to be some talk that a high-floor tram was requested to ensure more of the crowd could see the Queen at the window as it travelled along.

Yarra Trams – by appointment

Maybe after tomorrow, this could be the new Yarra Trams logo?

Could this be the new YarraTrams logo?

Update Wednesday 6:30pm: There you go, here’s my best pic of the Queen in the tram. Not great I know; she was on the opposite side and facing the other way.

The Queen on the tram

Lots of pics at The Age and Herald Sun.

Most amusing: Channel 9 had footage that showed during the Queen’s ride, the royal tram got a Fleet Operations PA message about diverted services.

Update Thursday morning: A better view of the Royal Tram…
Royal Tram

…and its backup.
Royal Tram backup
(There was a second backup in the Royal colours prepared, but I didn’t see that.)

See also: Why a Z-class tram was used for the Queenโ€™s visit