Two new E-Class trams are in operation in Melbourne, the first of 30 ordered by the Andrews Labor Government to service the city’s network.
The current Labor Government initially ordered 20 of the trams in 2015, spending $274 million; funding for a further 10 were provided in the 2016/17 budget. These add to the 50 previously ordered by the former Brumby government (and currently in service), and will eventually bring the total number of E-Class trams in operation on the Melbourne network to 80 by the middle of 2019.
The two new trams, 51 and 52, were inspected by premier Daniel Andrews and state transport minister Jacinta Allan in Wellington Parade before they entered service along routes 96, 86, and 11.
“These trams will carry hundreds more passengers around our city and we can be proud they’re designed and built in Victoria,” Allan said.
“The former Liberal government didn’t order a single new tram in four years. We’ve already ordered 30 to support jobs and carry more passengers on the world’s biggest tram network.”
The trams are being built in Dandenong, Victoria, by Bombardier, and have reportedly created 500 jobs at the manufacturer and local suppliers.
These E-Class trams are the largest in Victoria, measuring approximately 33 metres long and 2.65 metres wide, with a passenger capacity of approximately 210.
The designs feature low floors to provide easier access for those with wheelchairs, more myki readers, audio-visual information, CCTV, emergency intercoms at each doorway. Some further enhanced safety and comfort features include increased grab rails, more stop request buttons, slip-resistant floors, and dedicated spaces for passengers with prams and mobility aids.
Transport Safety Victoria data, reported by The Age, shows that the average number of serious injuries per quarter on the Melbourne tram network rose from 7 to 13 over the last 2 years, while the average number of slips, trips and falls rose in the same period from 44 to 60.
Allan was quoted in The Age as saying that better safety features for the E-Class design were added in response to a review that looked into passenger injuries on trams.
“Based on feedback from passengers, this was an issue that was identified and a review has been undertaken by Yarra Trams and Public Transport Victoria, and part of that review and feedback from passengers goes into the addition of some safety features,” Allan said.
Once the full fleet of 80 is in operation in 2019, the E-Class trams will reportedly provide space for more than 17,000 extra passengers across the Melbourne network.
“We’re building bigger, better trams in Melbourne, for Melbourne – supporting hundreds of local jobs,” premier Andrews said.
“The E-Class tram is local manufacturing at its best – and we can take great pride that these locally manufactured trams will move locals and tourists efficiently and comfortably around our city.”