Temporary track to minimise disruptions

I think this is quite clever. When trains or trams are partially closed for planned works, generally the less of the route is disrupted, the better. But this is always limited by the placement of turnaround facilities. Witness the current Sandringham line closure: the major works are at South Yarra, but because (despite what was said beforehand) the infrastructure issue at Elsternwick hasn'

Sydney 2018, Toxic Custard newsletter

Sydney on shanks’ pony

Backdated. Posted 23/5/2018 Hotel buffet breakfast at the Sheraton is an eye-popping $44 per person. This is no big surprise - hotel breakfasts are always expensive. But they'd said at check-in that we had a $50 credit, so that took the cost down to $38 for the two of us, which is probably cheaper than if we went out somewhere for breakfast. So we dined in -- and very nice it was too. Thr


Melbourne’s tram fleet: accessibility and air-conditioning

Two seemingly unrelated things are occurring this week: Today, Saturday, is expected to be the hottest day of Melbourne's summer so far this season, with a forecast high of 42 degrees. And... the 60th E-class tram just came into service. We welcomed the new year in with the introduction of Melbourneโ€™s newest E-Class tram, entering service on New Yearโ€™s Day.

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Trains and trams in Brussels and Belgium… any lessons for Melbourne?

My holiday blog is currently up to Brussels. In this (lengthy) post I've looked at the many types of rail transport in Belgium, and I try and ponder lessons for Melbourne. Belgian use of rail ranges from trams -- street-based and on separate alignments as in Melbourne, but also underground "pre-metro" routes -- the Metro, and suburban and long-distance heavy rail. Trams Brussels ha


The new improved Preston tram depot

Back in September 2010, the then-Brumby government announced an $807 million investment in new trams and infrastructure: Dandenong based company Bombardier will design, construct and maintain 50 new low floor trams for Melbourne as part of an $807.6 million investment by the Brumby Labor Government including a new tram maintenance and storage depot at Preston. This was an upgrade to the exis

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Tram stop barriers – are they good design?

Yesterday's collision between a police vehicle and a tram stop barrier has raised the issues of whether those barriers are a good design. Source: ABC News Thankfully the two policemen will recover. The barriers are intended to stop pedestrians crossing the tracks at tram platform stops. It's hardly surprising that people do this, given many of the stops are so long as to fill entire cit

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Post delivery by tram

For some time - since well before the introduction of the Free Tram Zone - I've seen uniformed Australia Post employees with small delivery carts on board trams in central Melbourne. At first I wondered if this was a good use of space on a tram, given how crowded they can get. But I think it's arguable that it's Australia Post being smart about moving (at least some) letters and parcels

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Hospital precinct: still no accessible tram services

Melbourne's expanding fleet of low-floor trams are being allocated to tram routes that lack wheelchair-accessible stops, while accessible tram stops are being built on routes that have no low-floor trams. -- The Age: New accessible tram stops not on the level for those most in need in Melbourne Let me present a prime example. This is Melbourne's hospital precinct in Carlton/Parkville.


What makes cities work: The restaurant tram

I was thinking about what makes good cities work effectively, and it occurred to me that a prime example is the Restaurant Tram. That day we took the Restaurant Tram, we made our way from the train at Southern Cross Station to the pick-up point next to Clarendon Street. The convention centre (Jeff's Shed) was busy with some expo or other. Throngs were heading in and out of the Casino. We rolle

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Tram changes: Some make sense. Some, it seems, less so.

Via a couple of stories in the last few days, The Age has revealed proposed changes to the tram network, probably to take place from mid-year with the next big round of timetable changes. Some context First, some context. All the changes need to be seen in light of fleet changes, and growing patronage. The load surveys for trams track crowding on trams at the pressure points, specifically