Ten hours exploring Melbourne by private tram

Spending ten hours onboard a Melbourne tram might sound like a painful way to spend a day, crawling along in traffic and getting nowhere, all while stopping constantly to allow yet more passengers to cram onboard. However it don’t have to be that bad – if you have your own private tram!

'Private Charter: not taking passengers' notice on the tram doors

The backstory

Over the years a number of private tram tours have operated on Melbourne’s tram network for the benefit of tramway enthusiasts, with November 14 being the most recent outing. Organised by a group of history minded tram drivers to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first Z class trams entering service, two trams departed Malvern Depot just after 8.30am in the morning and drew a web over the Melbourne tram network map, eventually returning to the depot ten hours later.

The route

Our tour group met at Malvern Depot, where trams Z1.22 and Z2.101 were waiting.

Z1.22 and Z2.101 side by side in the shed at Malvern Depot

We then headed for the city via Dandenong Road and St Kilda Road, taking Swanston Street through the CBD, and then Lygon Street north to the tram depot at Brunswick.

Z1.22 and Z2.101 wait at Brunswick Depot

We then ran south down Sydney Road and Royal Parade, changing direction on Elizabeth Street, and followed route 57 through North Melbourne.

Z1.22 turns from Victoria Street into Errol Street

Where we set a patronage record for the term terminus at West Maribyrnong.

Photoline at West Maribyrnong with Z3.145, Z2.101 and Z1.22

Next on our tour was Moonee Ponds Junction.

Z1.22 crosses from Ascot Vale Road into Pascoe Vale Road at Moonee Ponds Junction

And then we headed east, travelling into the city along route 59, then circumnavigating the CBD via William Street, La Trobe Street, Docklands, and Flinders Street.

Z1.22 crosses the Wallen Road Bridge over the Yarra River

After our lunch break at the tram museum in Hawthorn, it was time to head back into the city, where we got stuck behind a City Circle tram on Spring Street.

Photoline at Spring and Bourke Street as Z1.22 and Z2.101 wait behind a City Circle tram

North on route 86 was our destination.

Z2.101 passes beneath the Epping line bridge at Clifton Hill

We made our way along High Street until we reached Plenty Road.

Z2.101 snaking through the kink in High Street at Northcote

Then took a shortcut down Miller Street to reach St Georges Road.

Z2.101 turns from High Street into Miller Street, bound for Preston Workshops

Where we had a photo opportunity outside the Preston Workshops.

Z2.101 and Z1.22 on Miller Street outside Preston Workshops

A fast run down St Georges Road followed, and we made out way to route 96 via Victoria Parade.

Z1.22 between the trees on Victoria Parade at St Vincent's Plaza

As an express run down to St Kilda via the light rail, we picked up route 3 to head to East Malvern, then returned back to Malvern Depot.

Z2.101 heads back into the shed at Malvern Depot

The big question – toilets!

How do you spend ten hours onboard a tram, which doesn’t have any toilets? Our tour made a number of pit stops along the way, so that passengers could use the facilities that Yarra Trams have hidden across the network for the use of their staff.

Yarra Trams staff toilet across from the route 82 terminus at Moonee Ponds

And the best bit

When travelling on your own private tram, you’ll notice two things:

  • when you don’t need to stop for passengers every 30 seconds, you can travel surprisingly far by tram in a short time, and
  • the look on the face of intending tram passengers as you fly past without stopping is priceless!

Footnote – previous Melbourne tramway tours

There was a long period where no tramway enthusiast tours operated in Melbourne, but the drought broke in 2012:

This year’s tour had much more input from Yarra Trams than the tours run in 2012, so hopefully this is a good sign for the future.

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3 Responses to “Ten hours exploring Melbourne by private tram”

  1. scott says:

    May I ask how does one participate? It must cost a bit?

    • Marcus Wong says:

      This particular tour was advertised on a number of tram enthusiast groups, and sold out before the tour ran.

      Tickets were $25 each but included lunch and a visit to the Melbourne Tramway Museum, with 88 seats across the two trams.

  2. Tim Chuma says:

    Sounds good, I had something else on that day already unfortunately. Was run on the day before my birthday.

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