Major tram upgrade program passes halfway mark

A program of works to improve reliability and passenger experience on Melbourne’s iconic tram fleet has passed the halfway mark, boosting employment and injecting money into the local manufacturing economy.

The 250th tram upgrade was completed by Yarra Trams and Downer, as part of the Victorian Government’s $230 million program to refurbish nearly 450 trams across Melbourne.

Approximately 130 jobs have been created at Downer to deliver the six-year program, including staff who transitioned from the automotive and defence sectors, and five new apprentice positions.

Jobs are also being supported in the supply chain with more than 50 local suppliers providing materials and services.

The tram refurbishments include an overhaul of mechanical components to ensure reliability, structural repairs to remove and protect against corrosion, window replacements, newly upholstered seats where required, new flooring and a repaint.

The 250th tram to be upgraded has served Melburnians well, with the B-Class tram having clocked up 1.7 million kilometres since it entered the network in 1993.

The upgrades come ahead of the biggest single investment in trams in decades, with the Victorian Government investing $1.48 billion through the 2021/22 Victorian Budget to design and manufacture 100 Next Generation Trams, to be housed at a new tram maintenance and stabling facility in Maidstone, in Melbourne’s West.