Then and now on route 82 in Ascot Vale

The Cinderella of Melbourne’s tram network is route 82, which circumnavigates the inner western suburbs from Moonee Ponds to Footscray, avoiding the CBD altogether.

This Weston Langford photo from 1963 shows a Footscray bound tram headed west along Maribyrnong Road in Ascot Vale.

Weston Langford photo

And here is the same location today.

Z3.185 heads west along Maribyrnong Road with a route 82 service

High floor trams still clunk their way along route 82 on the same timetable as decades ago, so it is no surprise that Maribyrnong Road is clogged with motorists headed to Highpoint Shopping Centre from the surrounding suburbs.

Z3.172 on route 82 bound for Moonee Ponds, stuck in traffic on Maribyrnong Road in Ascot Vale

At least I can’t complain about lush trees that now flank the road.

Footnote: a history of the tram

You might think the tram in the 1963 photo is a rickety old W class, but it isn’t – it’s actually VR tram #52, one of three trams built by the Victorian Railways in 1942 for use on the broad gauge St Kilda to Middle Brighton ‘Electric Street Railway‘.

PROV image VPRS 12800/P1, item H 2870

Following the closure of the Victorian Railways tramway in 1959, the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board acquired the three newest trams, converting two to standard gauge, and allocated them to Essendon Depot where they saw regular service use on route 82.

Of the three ex-Victorian Railways trams, tram #54 was scrapped in 1967 for spare parts. Tram #52 was withdrawn in 1975 is now preserved by the Tramway Museum Society of Victoria at Bylands, while classmate #53 is preserved at the Melbourne Tram Museum, Hawthorn.

Roof view of the Melbourne Tram Museum collection at Hawthorn Depot

Today Z3 class trams are used on route 82, the high-floor non-air conditioned trams having entered service between 1979 and 1983.

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11 Responses to “Then and now on route 82 in Ascot Vale”

  1. Beren says:

    Hey, do you know much about the tram parked in Lalor near the train line?

  2. Tom the first and best says:

    The then and now from 1963 appear to show the same unreplaced tram track.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      The line was duplicated along Maribyrnong Road in the 1920s and the 1940s:

      So I expect the concrete track was brand new in the 1963 photo.

      • Matt says:

        Yarra trams has advised me it will be upgraded in 2023 I’m trying to bring it forward using disability legislation 1993 and improving blind use through tactiles at the tram stops 56-58 and trying to get a few timetable services with low floor trams for wheelchairs.

        They keep saying they have no funding yet I work on so many track renewal projects across the network the last one was in the city on the 96 tram and cutting out a few six-letter sections of concrete and replacing one rail with the area completely fenced off full traffic control lots of machinery and workers on site all for a few pieces of rail yep the 82 is continually breaking down the concrete surface and now my car shakes

        • Marcus Wong says:

          I’ve noticed the ad hoc repairs to the tram track along Raleigh Road – I believe it’s damaged rail joints that need to be cut out then replacement sections welded in.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      Found the answer here – the first tracks were laid in concrete in 1953:

      Epsom Road, Union Road, and Maribyrnong Road, Ascot Vale from Sandown Road to Hurtle Street – 3.22 miles relaid in concrete at a cost of $316,000 in 1962.

  3. Andrew says:

    Marcus, have you ever caught the 82 to Highpoint Shopping Centre? I am curious as to how friendly the experience is to catch the only rail transport to such a major shopping centre.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      I’ve caught the tram to Highpoint a few times – the ‘Highpoint’ tram stop on Aquatic Drive / Rosamond Road isn’t exactly near the shops, you need to walk down the street and cross the road, and you eventually arrive at one end of the centre.

      On the upside, at least it is a proper footpath, if you are on a route 57 tram you have to use the Rosamond Road / Raleigh Road stop, which requires waiting at multiple sets of traffic lights, a walk up the hill, and finally a slow through the shopping centre car park.

  4. bill johnston says:

    My Grandparents lived in Hurtle St near the end of the old tram bridge. The road bridge was originally built at right angles to the river bank leading to an “S” bend to cross the river. When the tram line was built the tram bridge was built in a line with Raleigh road. The tram bridge was timber sleepers laid directly on to the bridge girders (open deck bridge). Saturday night entertainment was to go and watch to see which drunk, driving home, missed the road “S” bend and followed the tram line across the river. The car usually got about one length onto the bridge before the wheels fell through the gaps in the sleepers. Tram services then suspended for a few hours while tow trucks were arranged and a dazed and confused driver rescued from the bridge.

    Bill Johnston

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