Past meets future at new home of E-Class trams

Sunday 17 April 2016

New Preston

Melbourne's E-Class trams - the biggest, safest and most accessible on the network - now have a new home.

Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, joined Member for Preston, Robin Scott, the Chair of Keolis Downer, Linda Nicholls and Yarra Trams, CEO Nicolas Gindt to officially open the new Preston Tram Depot and Workshop today.

"This brand new home for our biggest trams will support services, skills and jobs, and ensure our tram network grows as Melbourne does," Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan said.

The new facility is the product of a $190 million redevelopment of the existing tram workshop on St Georges Road.

"Modernising the tram network is critical to ensure that we can continue to deliver safe and reliable services to Melbourne and the more than 192 million passenger trips each year," Yarra Trams CEO, Nicolas Gindt said.

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 the Victorian Government's $800 million Tram Procurement Program, which includes the purchase of 50 new E-Class trams and associated infrastructure upgrades and operating costs.

The new depot is big enough to stable 75 next generation E-Class trams, which will help to provide increased capacity on Melbourne's tram network.

"New Preston Depot is one of the most modern tram depots in the world and it has set a new benchmark in our industry in terms of technology and automated services, which will create significant service delivery improvements for our network and the people of Melbourne," Mr Gindt said.

It is also home to Yarra Trams' skills development program, which includes Australia's first full-sized tram cabin simulator that provides trainee drivers with driving experience before operating a tram.

Currently there are 33 E-Class trams are operating on the network, on routes 11 and 96, and in November they'll start running on Route 86.