Refreshing Melbourne’s ‘Bumblebee’ trams

Back in 2008 Melbourne’s tram network was overflowing with passengers, so Yarra Trams turned to a different tactic to address it – they imported five secondhand trams from France to expand their fleet.

C2.5103 'Bumblebee 3' on route 96 westbound on Bourke Street at Swanston

Known as the ‘C2’ class trams in Melbourne, these five-section Alstom Citadis 302 trams were originally built for the French city of Mulhouse, but were surplus to their requirements. In 2008 Yarra Trams leased the trams for four years at a cost of $9 million, until were purchased by the State Government in 2012.

In the years since, the harsh Australian sun started to fare the special ‘Bumblebee’ livery.

Faded 'Bumblebee 2' stickers on C2.5113 (originally named 'Ungersheim' at home in Mulhouse)

Vandals scratched the windows to within a inch of their lives, making the glass look more frosted than clear.

'Bumblebee 2' stickers removed from one end of C2.5113

The decals on the site also became tattered following repeated graffiti attacks.

Tattered remains of 'Bumblebee 4' decals on the side of tram C2.5106

Five years old and falling apart - faded 'Bumblebee' decals on a C2 class tram

Finally in July 2014, something was done about the decrepit look of the ‘Bumblebee’ trams when Public Transport Victoria started to roll out their livery to the fleet of five.

C2.5113 heads east on route 96 at the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Street

In a nice touch, the ‘Bumblebee’ name has been retained at each end.

'Bumblebee 1' decal on PTV-liveried tram C2.5123

When repainting things Public Transport Victoria walks a fine line between polishing turds and keeping things fit for purpose – at least this time the work wasn’t an attempt to distract the public.

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8 Responses to “Refreshing Melbourne’s ‘Bumblebee’ trams”

  1. Mike says:

    This scratched glass issue really gives me the shits. Most trams have a protective film on the windows now which should be replaced when it gets scratched – but they never do it.

  2. Paul Westcott says:

    For comprehensive window scratching, Perth buses take the award, or they did when I was there a couple of years ago.

  3. Andrew S says:

    Windows scratched to within an inch of their lives, graffiti evidence on panels – reminds me of a ride on most suburban train these days! In the past the SIemens trains behind the drivers cabs were the worst, but more recently the X’Trapolis sets are catching up fast!

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