Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ride a Melbourne tram

On 18 October 2018 Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were visiting Melbourne, with Yarra Trams part of the flurry of activity by taking them on a tram ride down to South Melbourne Beach.

Photo by AFP / Getty Images via Daily Mail

Two B2 class trams were specially prepared at Brunswick Depot for the overseas guests, being stripped of advertisements and then transferred via Swanston Street to South Melbourne Beach, lead by a Victoria Police escort.

Victoria Police lead B2.2020 and B2.2088 on the royal tram transfer to South Melbourne at Swanston and Collins Street

With Victoria Police officers hiding onboard.

Victoria Police officers onboard tram B2.2088 on the transfer to South Melbourne

And tailed by a Yarra Trams operation crew.

B2.2088 on transfer to South Melbourne at Swanston and Collins Street

To make way for the circus, passengers on route 1 trams were getting turfed off at the corner of Park and Clarendon Street.

B2.2115 on route 1 terminates at Park and Clarendon Street due to the royal tram ride down at South Melbourne

Trams were then turned back towards the city.

B2.2115 on route 1 terminates at Park and Clarendon Street due to the royal tram ride down at South Melbourne

With Yarra Trams failing to provide a replacement service, or even acknowledge the reason why the trams were not running.

Notice that route 1 tram are terminating at Park and Clarendon Street

Some people get all the luck!

Photo by Getty Images via Daily Mail

Ian Green on Vicsig has a photo of tram B2.2088 and entourage headed through South Melbourne bound for the route 1 terminus.

A note on the trams selected

You might think that if you were taking a visitor to Melbourne on a tram ride, you’d choose an ‘iconic’ W class.

W8.959 westbound outside Flinders Street Station

Or the pride of the fleet – the brand new E class.

E.6001 outside Southern Cross Station

But Yarra Trams served up a piece of the 1980s – the high floor B2 class.

B2.2027 heads west on route 75 at Swanston and Flinders Street

The trams selected were pretty long in the tooth – B2.2088 did the honours carrying the royal pair and was 26 years old, while backup tram B2.2020 was even older, at 29 years of age.

So why did those two get picked?

B2.2020 was one of the early B2 class trams to pass through the $21 million B2 class tram life extension project, so was withdrawn from service on 16 October to receive a spit and polish, while tram B2.2088 was withdrawn from service in March 2018 to receive the same treatment, and was so ‘factory fresh’ to carry the royal pair.

A summary of the upgrades received can be seen here.

And Melbourne’s other royal tram

For her 2011 Melbourne visit Queen Elizabeth also rode on a Melbourne tram – a specially painted Z3.158.

Cliché shot at Royal Park: a Siemens train passes over Z3.158

Maybe high floor trams were selected on both occasions to give the assembled crowds a better view of the famous passenger?

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4 Responses to “Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ride a Melbourne tram”

  1. rohan storey says:

    A W would have been much nicer !
    I can only think they chose a Z (!) and now a B because Yarra Trams think W’s are old and slow and might break down, though the ones that are now W8s have very new mechanicals, so whu ? maybe cos theyve got bigger windows ? Though not that much bigger.

  2. George says:

    I had no idea the Z and B class were being upgraded for a life-extension. That’s a slap in the face for Victorians with disabilities.

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