History of Yarra Trams
Since we commenced operations on 29 August 1999, Yarra Trams has introduced some dramatic improvements to Melbourne’s iconic tram network. Electronic passenger information, low floor trams, platform stops, refurbished vehicles and access for the mobility-impaired have vastly changed public perceptions about tram travel.
But these changes are only just the beginning...
Yarra Trams was created as part of the State Government of Victoria’s privatisation of the Public Transport Corporation in 1997. The organisation’s metropolitan operations - ‘The Met’ - were split into two tram and two train business units. These were initially known as ‘Met Tram 1’ and ‘Met Tram 2’ but were later renamed Swanston Trams and Yarra Trams.
In 2001 the City’s first new low-floor Citadis trams were introduced and Melbourne’s first platform stop opened in Collins Street at Town Hall. Built by Alstom in France the 36 new trams were fitted out at the Preston Workshops.
New sections of track have been added too. Route 109 was extended by 2.2 kilometres from its former terminus at Mont Albert to Market Street, Box Hill and the Docklands precinct was connected to the tram network for the first time. Today Flinders Street connects with La Trobe Street via Harbour Esplanade, and an extension operates along Docklands Drive. In 2009, a new tram link extended Collins Street services to Victoria Harbour.
Our commitment to managing Melbourne’s transport heritage has seen W class trams returned to service after the refurbishment of their braking systems. With the approval of the Director of Public Transport Safety, these world-renowned icons were allowed restricted operation on the free City Circle tourist route, on Route 30 along La Trobe Street and on Route 78/79 along Chapel and Church Streets.
On 19 February 2004 the State Government announced it had accepted the Yarra Trams bid to acquire and operate M>Tram services following the decision by National Express Group (Australia) to end their franchise agreement in December 2002.
Yarra Trams took sole responsibility for Melbourne’s tram network on 18 April 2004.
Today all of Melbourne’s tram services are operated by Yarra Trams.