Spy tram surveys network

A specially-equipped tram has been scouring Melbourne’s tram network at night to inform future maintenance and infrastructure works.

The ‘spy tram’ has travelled 500 kilometres surveying the entire Melbourne tram network to collect data on the condition of key tram infrastructure such as tracks, wires and tram stops.

Using state-of-the-art 3D lasers, sensors and cameras, the spy tram collects information about the condition of different assets.

This equipment is attached to the top, bottom, front, back, and sides of a B-Class tram, with data mapped accurately using GPS.

Every tiny detail, from the smoothness of the rail, to where foliage like weeds are coming up, is captured and analysed.

With more people using public transport than ever before, planning infrastructure upgrades need to be prioritised better than ever to limit disruption and ensure reliable journeys.

Since 2010, Yarra Trams has used this approach in conjunction with physical inspections to identify and assist in prioritisation of maintenance and renewal works for network infrastructure.

From Lygon Street, to Toorak Road and Plenty Road, the spy tram is vital to ensuring the longevity of Melbourne’s tram network. There have been 25 significant maintenance and renewal works across the network since 2018.

Yarra Trams has been conducting these surveys twice a year since 2017, using the latest data capture technology from Europe.

As more data is collected, Yarra Trams will be able to better prioritise works for the next five to 15 years.