Environment and Sustainability, light rail, Products & Resources, Research & Development

From kerbside waste to tram stops

Recycled plastics from kerbside waste will be used to create innovative modular tram stops, making Melbourne’s tram network more sustainable, accessible for people with disabilities and less disruptive to maintain and develop. 

This project was recently awarded $300,000 by the Recycling Victoria Research and Development Fund – Materials and is delivered by Sustainability Victoria on behalf of the Victorian Government, as part of Recycling Victoria.  

The project is a partnership between Monash University’s Institute of Railway Technology, Yarra Trams, Integrated Recycling and Advanced Circular Polymer.  

The Development of Next Generation Tram Stop Platforms Using Recycled Materials project will develop ways to turn recycled plastics into modular components that are ‘fit-for-purpose’ for the construction of future tram stop platforms across Melbourne.  

Melbourne’s tram network is the largest in the world consisting of 24 routes, stretching 250 kilometres with more than 1750 tram stops. Future-proofing tram stop platforms with this innovative modular design, which incorporates hollow drainage features, will not only promote environmental sustainability, but improve constructability with minimal disruption to traffic, less impact by severe flash flooding events and ensure greater accessibility for those living with a disability. 

Monash Institute of Railway Technology director Professor Ravi Ravitharan said the project will identify how reinforced recycled plastics can be used effectively to construct a modular platform that can be rolled out on a large scale.  

“Our team of researchers will look at a number of suitable options of recycled materials that can be manufactured into a prototype which will then be trial assembled and load tested at the Institute of Railway Technology laboratories,” he said.  

“The development will consider recycled rubber for damping components as well as reinforcement options to achieve the intended design concept.”  

The project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between Monash University researchers from the Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Arts, Monash University Accident Research Centre and Monash Art, Design and Architecture with Monash Institute of Railway Technology.  

Yarra Trams’ Chief Executive Julien Dehornoy said the partnership was just one example of how Yarra Trams worked to make its operations more environmentally friendly.  

“From all our trams being powered by one of Victoria’s largest solar farms, to recycled materials being utilised in infrastructure projects across the network, to the ongoing installation of solar panels and energy efficient lighting in our depots, we’re playing our part to create a greener and more sustainable Melbourne,” he said.  

Integrated Recycling, creators of the Duratrack railway sleeper, will manufacture and trial modular elements of tram stop platforms for testing and prototyping purposes.  

Advanced Circular Polymer, an industry leader in innovative plastics recycling technology, will supply the recycled plastic mix recovered from kerbside waste collections that will be used for the production of the base material in the tram stop platforms.

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