Selling furniture with a Melbourne tram

If there is one thing that’ll catch my eye, it’s anything public transport related – so it was no surprise I noticed this random advertisement for Melbourne made furniture recently.

With ‘Prices so low, you could almost pay by myki‘ being the tagline, can you imagine a more Melbourne scene than a tram passing Flinders Street Station?

But what about the destination displayed on the front of the tram.

It reads “109 Melbourne”.

Putting on my pedant hat

Railfans love to critique the “wrong” tram being used in a photo, and in the case of this advert, the tram pictured is B2.2011 – a high floor B2 class tram which entered service in 1989.

B2.2011 heads south on route 64 at Swanston and Flinders Street

But route 109 doesn’t use B2 class trams – it’s predominately run by low floor C class trams, alongside a few older A class ring-ins.

C.3033 advertising 'Ikea' and A2.292 pass on route 109 at North Port

And route 109 doesn’t even pass Flinders Street Station – the closest it gets is Collins and Swanston Street.

C.3034 heads east on route 109 at Collins and Swanston Street

So that’s the deal?

Taking a closer look

Plenty of tram routes pass along Swanston Street at Flinders Street Station – routes 1, 3, 5, 6, 16, 64, 67 and 72.

Z3.202 headed north on Swanston and Flinders Street

Most of them having ‘Melbourne University’ on the front when headed northbound.

B2.2051 heads north on route 64 at Swanston and Flinders Street

But the tram featured in the advertisement appears to be headed southbound, so could have one of eight different suburbs listed on the destination board.

However there is probably a simpler answer – LED destination boards are quite tricky to capture with a camera due to their high refresh rates, often appearing blank or garbled in photographs.

B2.2020 heads south on route 6 at Swanston and Flinders Street

So the graphic design probably just photoshopped in something to the blank display, based on their memories of the Melbourne tram system.

Could be worse though

I spotted a photo of an Adelaide tram at a Melbourne bank a few years ago – with the ‘Adelaide Metro‘ part of the logo photoshopped out.

Someone has realised they’ve got the wrong photo for their project, and decided it’s easier to photoshop out ‘Adelaide’ instead of finding a more appropriate photo. 🤷‍♂️

Footnote: Myki balances

In reality you’d have a hard time buying designer furniture with a Myki card budget – the maximum topup amount is $250, and the maximum balance on a myki card is $999.99.

New Myki QT device - step 1 of the top up workflow, selecting a dollar value

May I suggest catching the route 109 tram to Ikea Richmond instead?

Perspex screen between staff and customers in the warehouse area

Footnote: B2 class tram destinations

The LED destination displays on the B2 class trams replaced their original backlit flip-dot displays in 2016.

B2.2011 with new LED destination equipment, alongside B2.2129 with the original flipdot displays

The flipdot displays on the side destination boards were the source of the ‘twinkling’ noise that could be heard if you sat in the centre of the tram, and there was no other noise.

Flipdot destination boards on the side of a B2 class tram

The feint sound coming from the individual pixels of the display, as the transitioned from ‘on’ to ‘off and back again.

Flipdot destination boards on the side of a B2 class tram

Image sources

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4 Responses to “Selling furniture with a Melbourne tram”

  1. Steve says:

    Orange displays are much easier to read than green – especially now my eyesight isn’t as good as it once was!

  2. Jake says:

    On the fifth photo, Citadis tram 3033 featured the IKEA advertisement (which is somewhat different to the Adriatic ones on the first three photos).

    • Marcus Wong says:

      Nice spotting – I had been looking for a clearer photo of the Ikea tram but I didn’t have one, and neither did I have a photo of a route 12 or 109 tram passing the Ikea store in Richmond.

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