City Circle Tram

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City Circle (route 35)
W6 1000 turning from Nicholson St into Victoria Pde on the City Circle, 2013
System Melbourne tramway network
Operator Yarra Trams
Depot Southbank
Vehicle W class
Locale Melbourne CBD, Australia
Zone(s) Free Tram Zone
Timetable City Circle timetable
Map City Circle1 map
Route map

Melbourne trams route city circle map.png

← Route 31 Route 48 →

The City Circle is a zero-fare tram running around the central business district of Melbourne, Australia. Aimed mainly at tourists, the route passes many Melbourne attractions while running along the CBD's outermost thoroughfares, as well as the developing Docklands waterfront precinct.


City Circle trams on La Trobe Street

The tram route was introduced on 29 April 1994,[1] requiring a small track extension along Spring Street, between Collins Street and Flinders Street, to enable a complete CBD loop to be formed.[2] The Commonwealth Government's Building Better Cities program funded the $6.4 million capital cost of the track expansion, while the State Government funded the running costs.[3]

Until January 2003 the western leg of the original route of the tram was down Spencer Street, but the route was then extended west to run through Docklands. The travel time around the circle before this change was 40 minutes.[4]

During early 2006, new Passenger Information Displays (PIDs) were installed with Digital Voice Announcements (DVA) from the series 1 announcements. The information display upgrades were due to the unreliability and the storage capacity problems since the route extension into Docklands.

In April 2008, the service adopted the daylight saving timetable on a permanent basis, operating from 10am to 9pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The end of service at other times is 6pm.[5]

On 30 May 2009, the route was altered for a second time, being extended from Harbour Esplanade to the NewQuay and Waterfront City precincts via Docklands Drive. This made the route an elongated 'q'.[6]


Interior of a W class tram in City Circle service
A Route 35 City Circle tram in its official livery in Flinders St

The route of the City Circle trams roughly follows the outer edges of the Hoddle Grid, with three diversions. It takes in all of La Trobe Street, Harbour Esplanade and Flinders Street. It follows Spring Street between Flinders Street and Bourke Street, but travels along Nicholson Street and Victoria Street before turning into La Trobe. At the junction of Harbour Esplanade and Latrobe Street trams turn off the loop to run to and from a terminus towards the end of Docklands Drive, Waterfront City.


The City Circle route is serviced by heritage W class trams liveried in special burgundy with gold trim, however rolling stock shortages often see MMTB's standard traditional green liveried W Class trams on the service. Trams display the route number 35.[7] The City Circle operates at a headway of 12 minutes in both directions, with the service taking approximately 60 minutes to complete a loop.[8] Ten trams are allocated to the service at any one time (five in each direction). An average of three million passengers uses the service every year, with each tram circling the city 9 times a day, or 12 times when the tram operates to 9pm.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Public transport - City Loop history". Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  2. ^ Lyndsay Neilson. "Getting implementation going". The ‘Building Better Cities’ program 1991-96: a nation-building initiative of the Commonwealth Government. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  3. ^ Lyndsay Neilson. "Appendix 1: Funding Allocation, Victorian Area Strategies". The ‘Building Better Cities’ program 1991-96: a nation-building initiative of the Commonwealth Government. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  5. ^ a b "CITY CIRCLE TRAM TO RUN WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN". Media Releases: Premier of Victoria. 6 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  6. ^ Yarra Trams (2009-05-01). "Media Release: Popular City Circle tram extended to Docklands Drive". Retrieved 2010-03-28. 
  7. ^ "Tram 35 (City Circle)". Metlink. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  8. ^ "City Circle (Free Tourist Tram)". Metlink. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 

External links[edit]