VICTORIAN Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan last week joined local Member Robin Scott and the Chair and CEO of Yarra Trams to officially open the Preston Tram Depot and Workshop, which will be home to Melbourne's E-Class trams.
The new facility is the product of a $190 million redevelopment of the existing tram depot on St Georges Road and it will be large enough to stable all 70 of the new E-Class trams that have been ordered.
It was the largest redevelopment ever undertaken of a heritage site while it remained operational in Australia, with Yarra Trams continuing to use it as a heavy maintenance facility throughout construction.
The project created around 250 on-site construction jobs, many more in the manufacturing supply chain, and will support ongoing jobs on the tram network as it grows to meet the needs of a growing Melbourne.
The new depot is part of an $800 million Tram Procurement Program initiated by the State Government in 2012, which included the purchase of 50 new E-Class trams and associated infrastructure upgrades and operating costs.
Last year, the government ordered 20 more in its Budget and outlined a ten year plan for 80 more in its rolling stock strategy, Trains, Trams, Jobs 2015-2025.
Currently there are 33 E-Class trams are operating on the network, on routes 11 and 96, and in November they will begin operating on Route 86.