MELBOURNE'S newest series of trams, the E-Class, have begun operating on the busy Route 11 line between West Preston to Docklands, the first time the Melbourne-built trams have run outside Route 96.
At 33 metres long, E-Class trams are Melbourne's biggest, with capacity to carry more than 200 people. Their low-floor design, wide doorways and dedicated spaces for wheelchairs, scooters and prams also make them Melbourne's most accessible.
After an initial order of 50 in 2010, another 20 E-Class trams were ordered by the Victorian Government as part of its long-term rolling stock strategy, which was released in May this year.
Tram stops along Collins Street are being upgraded to accommodate the new trams, and make them safer and more accessible.
Also last week, Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan announced a new automated travel information system on 130 B-Class trams.
The automated system will provide real-time travel updates to passengers, on screens in the tram and through announcements over the speakers, about where they are on the network and the stop they are approaching.
The initiative is part of an $8.4 million program to improve information for passengers and help them find their way on Melbourne's tram network.
Other recent improvements to real-time information include the installation of 50 tramTRACKER mini screens and 40 remote public address units across the tram network.
The new automated passenger information displays will be introduced from this month.
Photo 1: E-Class Tram at Spring Street, Melbourne / Yarra Trams / Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC 2.0.
Photo 2: B-Class tram on Elizabeth Street, Melbourne / Yarra Trams / Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC 2.0 / Photo has been cropped.