Glenelg tram

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Glenelg tram
Type Light rail
Locale Adelaide, South Australia (Map)
Termini Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Hindmarsh
Moseley Square, Glenelg
Services 2
Opened 4 August 1873
Operator(s) Adelaide Metro
Depot(s) Glengowrie
Rolling stock
Electrified & gauge converted 14 December 1929
City West extension opened 14 October 2007
Adelaide Entertainment Centre extension opened 22 March 2010
Line length 15 km (9.3 mi)
Number of tracks 2
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Route map
Entertainment Centre
Bonython Park
Aiga railtransportation 25.svg
to Bowden and
North Adelaide
Port Road crossing
West Terrace
City West
Adelaide Station
Festival Plaza
East End
Rundle Mall
Pirie Street
Victoria Square/
City South
South Terrace
South Parklands turnback
Greenhill Road
Goodwood Road
Black Forest
South Road
Beckman Street
South Plympton
Marion Road
Plympton Park
Morphettville Racecourse
Race days only
Morphett Road
Glengowrie depot
Glenelg East
Brighton Road
Jetty Road
Moseley Square

The Glenelg tram is a 15-kilometre (9.3 mi) light rail line in South Australia running from Hindmarsh, through the Adelaide city centre, to the beach-side suburb of Glenelg. It is Adelaide's only remaining tramway. Apart from short street-running sections in the city centre and Glenelg, the line has its own reservation, with minimal interference from road traffic.

The service is free between the Adelaide Entertainment Centre in Hindmarsh and South Terrace in the city centre, and along the entire length of Jetty Road, Glenelg to Moseley Square. In addition to the main route from the Adelaide Entertainment Centre to Moseley Square, a shuttle service is provided within the free city zone between the Adelaide Entertainment Centre and South Terrace.

A 1.6 kilometre northern extension through the city centre opened on 14 October 2007, extending the line from Victoria Square along King William Street and North Terrace to Morphett Street. A further 2.8 kilometre north western extension of the line along Port Road to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre opened on 22 March 2010. Construction of a one kilometre branch line along the eastern end of North Terrace and a single-stop 100 metre branch line along King William Road began in July 2017 and is expected to be completed in early 2018.



Eureka steam motor purchased second-hand from Port Adelaide and Queenstown Tramway Company in April 1883. Used on South Terrace line between South Terrace and Goodwood
The last day a steam train ran up King William Street in 1914

The route was built by a private company, the Adelaide, Glenelg & Suburban Railway Company opening on 4 August 1873. The South Terrace line was built to the 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) broad gauge. The single track, commenced at the corner of King William at Angas Streets and traversed that thoroughfare to South Terrace where it ran through the parklands on its own right of way to Brighton Road, Glenelg where street running recommenced, using Jetty Road to terminate outside the Pier Hotel at Moseley Square. A depot was erected in the parklands at South Terrace.[1][2]

It was operated by small 2-4-0 tank locomotives, hauling two-axle end loading passenger carriages and open wagons for cargo.[3] Raised platforms were not provided, the carriages being provided with steps for ground level loading. Run round loops were installed at Glenelg and South Terrace, trains being propelled in one direction along King William Street. Special services operated to Morphettville Racecourse after it opened in September 1873. Crossing loops were later installed at Goodwood and South Plympton.[1]

Patronage during the first few years of operation rose from 468,000 in the first year (1873-74) to 727,000 in 1877-88.[4]

On 24 May 1880, the Holdfast Railway Company opened the North Terrace line from Adelaide railway station to Glenelg. It used the tracks of the South Australian Railways (SAR) between Adelaide and Keswick. A depot was built at St Leonards. Whilst one line was a profitable proposition, two were not, and both lines were almost immediately in financial trouble and merged to form the Glenelg Railway Company on 11 May 1882. A connecting line was laid along Brighton Road and the South Terrace depot closed.[1][2]

In 1882, a horse tramway was laid along King William Street parallel to the railway. Local services between Angas Street and Goodwood were introduced by the railway using a Merryweather tram motor with an unpowered Rowan car as a trailer. In 1883 the SAR's Belair line was extended towards the South Coast and crossed the South Terrace line at Goodwood station via a flat crossing.[1]

The North Terrace line was the most unprofitable of the two, this being partly due to excessive charges by the SAR for use of its line. Moves were made to close the line but these met with strong opposition as closure would isolate Glenelg from the rest of the state. To overcome this it was proposed to lay in a connection at Goodwood.[1]

In December 1899 the private company was acquired by the SAR, who continued to operate the line as a steam railway. The South Terrace line was duplicated from Goodwood to Brighton Road by 1910. The North Terrace line was also duplicated from Mile End to St Leonards by 1914 with raised platforms being provided at most stations. To help reduce working expenses it was proposed to deviate the North Terrace line to join the other at Morphettville and although a line was built, no connection was made and it was only used for race traffic. The Adelaide tramways had been electrified and to enable the line in King William Street to be duplicated, the railway was cut back to South Terrace in 1914. Railway passengers were carried by tram to Victoria Square.[1][5]

Municipal Tramways Trust[edit]

The electric tram network in the late 1950s

In 1927 ownership and operation transferred from the SAR to the Municipal Tramways Trust (MTT). Steam trains ceased on 2 April 1929 and the line was closed to be rebuilt as a double track standard gauge, electrified at 600 V dc and converted to tramway operation.[6] The Goodwood flyover was constructed at this time, separating the new tram tracks from the conventional railway.[7] The line was reopened on 14 December 1929 with the city terminus reverting to Victoria Square. The North Terrace line closed on 15 December 1929 for conversion but this was not undertaken due to the onset of the Great Depression.[1][2]

Thirty H type trams were built for the line, with a design influenced by North American interurban streetcars of that era.

There were one or two quirks in the earlier years, the most famous being the horse trams operated in the 1930s. These were trams specially constructed to carry race horses from stables located along the line to Morphettville Racecourse.[8] This service was a carry-over from the days of the steam railway, which had also performed this function. Another unusual feature was operation of triple sets of H type trams in peak hours, and express trams that ran non-stop over a significant portion of the route. In 2006, only one express service remained.

The line was the only route to survive the closure of Adelaide’s street tramway network during the 1950s, saved largely by its high proportion of reserved track, which enables fast journey for passengers and minimal interference with road traffic.

In the mid-1970s around 3,000 trips to the city were made "on an average day".[9] The depot was relocated on 19 October 1986 from the corner of Angas Street and Victoria Square in central Adelaide to a new facility at Glengowrie, close to Glenelg.[10]


Two trams wait at the Moseley Square terminus prior to the reconfiguration of the stop

In the 21st century, a series of investments were made to improve and extend the line. This began in May 2003 when the South Australian Government announced an upgrade of the Glenelg line infrastructure and the introduction of new trams.[11]

Major work to upgrade the line took place between 5 June and 7 August 2005. Concrete sleepers were installed and much of the track renewed in an intensive nine-week project. Most of the 21 tram stops were reconstructed with higher platforms to allow level access to the new low-floor trams. The overhead electrical supply was upgraded and some minor modifications were made to the H type trams and Glengowrie depot. Tram services were replaced with substitute bus services during this period. Services resumed on 8 August 2005. The terminus at Moseley Square, Glenelg was reconfigured in September 2005 as part of a general redevelopment of the square.[12]

Extension to City West[edit]

Minister for Transport Patrick Conlon & Premier Mike Rann open the City West Extension on 14 October 2007
Adelaide railway station tram stop is typical of stops on the city centre extension

The South Australian Government announced a 1.2 kilometre extension from Victoria Square along King William Street to Adelaide railway station and the western city campus of the University of South Australia in April 2005. An additional two Flexity Classic trams were ordered to cater for services on the city centre extension.

Construction work on the extension commenced in early 2007. A new Victoria Square stop opened on 6 August 2007. The stop moved from the centre of the square to the western side. Testing of the extension began in September 2007.

The extension opened on 14 October 2007.[13] Initially, a shuttle service running between Victoria Square and City West tram stop was provided. Normal services continued to run between Victoria Square and Glenelg. A new timetable began on 15 October 2007 with through services from Glenelg to City West and a free shuttle service between South Terrace and City West.[14]

South Road Overpass[edit]

An overpass crossing South Road was announced in the 2007 South Australian Budget. The project was built in conjunction with the Anzac Highway Underpass.[15] Construction by McConnell Dowell commenced in July 2009.[16] On 8 December 2009, the overpass opened to allow trams to pass over it, however the South Road tram stop was not operational until 15 March 2010.[17]

Extension to Adelaide Entertainment Centre[edit]

A $100 million extension to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre was announced in the 2008 South Australian Budget.[18] Planning commenced soon after and the state cabinet approved the extension in November 2008.[19]

Construction work began on 11 May 2009.[20] Testing began in February 2010 and the extension opened on 22 March 2010.[21]

Extension to East End[edit]

After a lobbying campaign from businesses and institutions located in the area, a $50 million project to construct a one-kilometre branch along the eastern section of North Terrace was announced in the 2016 South Australian Budget.[22][23][24] The extension will enable the creation of shuttle service between the old Royal Adelaide Hospital and the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. Services will operate every ten minutes.[25] An expansion of the project was also announced in December 2016. This will see a 100-metre northern spur line constructed from North Terrace to Festival Plaza. The intention is to avoid modifying the North Terrace-King William Road intersection twice - once for the East End extension, then again if future northernbound expansion goes ahead - by combining all the work into a single program. Three new trams will also be ordered. The changes resulted in an extra $20 million being added to the budget for the project.[26]

The eastern branch will include three new stops to service the South Australian Museum, University of Adelaide and Ayers House, while the northern branch will include a single stop to service Festival Plaza.[27]

A tender to design and construct the project was called in December 2016.[28] Preliminary works commenced in July 2017, with major works commencing in October, and are expected to be completed by early 2018.[29][30][31] In August 2017, it was revealed that the planned rail junction at the North Terrace-King William Road intersection will be altered, disallowing trams to turn left onto King William Road from North Terrace.[citation needed] Further controversy arose in late 2017 when it was revealed that trams would also not be able to turn right onto North Terrace from King William Street, disallowing future services from Glenelg to continue directly to East End and beyond.[32][33]


Due to the increased popularity of the service beyond the city after the extension,[34] the trams service dramatically exceeded its capacity, with over 100,000 extra trips for the three months from November 2007, compared the same period the previous year. This resulted in intensive overcrowding on board the trams, and many passengers were unable to board trams during peak hours.[35] The extension of the tramway along King William Street and North Terrace was blamed by critics for increased congestion within the centre of Adelaide, but no actual evidence of this occurring was identified.[36]

There have been a small number of minor derailments along the tramway, including one on Melbourne Cup Day, 6 November 2007.[37][38] On several occasions, some Flexity trams experienced breakdown problems.[39]


H type[edit]

Refurbished H type Adelaide trams 370 and 380 at the former City West terminus in January 2009

Until January 2006, 1929-vintage H type trams provided all services on the Glenelg tram line. These trams were built for the electrification of the line and have many of the characteristics of North American interurban cars of the same period. Thirty H type trams were built by a local manufacturer A Pengelly & Co, with road numbers 351 to 380.

Twenty-one remained in service in 2005.[8] After the arrival of the Flexity Classics, five H-class trams were refurbished in 2000 with the remainder disposed of.[40] They operated heritage services on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays but have not operated since August 2013.[41][42][43]

Flexity Classic[edit]

Flexity Classic in August 2007

A contract for nine Flexity Classic trams was awarded to Bombardier in September 2004.[44] The first three arrived at Outer Harbor on 15 November 2005. One (103) had been damaged in transit when machinery shifted on board the ship during a storm and was despatched to Bombardier's Dandenong plant for assessment. It was later declared beyond economic repair and became a source of spare parts at Glengowie depot with a replacement built.[45]

The other two were unloaded at Victoria Square on 22 November 2005. Following a period of commissioning and staff training both entered service on 9 January 2006.[45] The remainder were landed at Port Melbourne, moving to Adelaide by road. The last of the original nine arrived in Adelaide in September 2006.[46]

A further two were added to the order in 2005 following the decision to extend the line along King William Street.[47][48] Both arrived in the first half of 2007, 111 being diverted to Yarra Trams' Preston Workshops and completing over 400 kilometres of trial running on the Melbourne network.[49] The replacement 103 arrived in June 2007.[50]

Another four were ordered in June 2008 as part of the Adelaide Entertainment Centre extension, entering service in 2011/12.[51][52] Numbered 101-115, all were built by Bombardier in Bautzen, Germany.

Citadis 302[edit]

Alstom Citadis tram 202 at the Moseley Square terminus in December 2012

In May 2009 the State Government purchased six Citadis 302 five-car trams for $36 million. Manufactured by Alstom in La Rochelle, France, they had been ordered for the Metro Ligero system in Madrid, Spain, but became surplus following the line they were ordered for being scaled back.[53][54] Most had not been used.[55]

The trams were delivered in two separate batches of three being landed in Melbourne on 9 September 2009 and 10 November 2009 for modifications at Preston Workshops before being moved by road to Adelaide.[56][57] Delivered as Metro Ligero's 165-170, they were renumbered 201-206 by TransAdelaide. In 2017 TransAdelaide lodged a bid for a further three.[58]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Glenelg century of rail transport" Trolley Wire issue 147 August 1973 pages 3-7
  2. ^ a b c "The Glenelg Line: Australia's First LRT" Trolley Wide issue 185 December 1979 pages 3-11
  3. ^ '"The 'Eureka' Steam Motor of South Australia" Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin February 1974 pages 27-29
  4. ^ "Mitcham Tramway". South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 7 September 1878. p. 2 Supplement: Supplement to the South Australian Chronicle. Retrieved 11 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "Glenelg Railway". The Register (Adelaide). LXXIX, (21,078). South Australia. 2 June 1914. p. 13. Retrieved 13 June 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  6. ^ "Railway to Glenelg". Barrier Miner. XLI, (12,371). New South Wales, Australia. 12 January 1929. p. 1. Retrieved 13 June 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  7. ^ "Tramway Bridge at Goodwood". The Register News-Pictorial. XCIV, (27,379). South Australia. 16 May 1929. p. 31. Retrieved 13 June 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  8. ^ a b Trams TransAdelaide
  9. ^ Madigan, J.F. (1977), The Pedestrian Network in the Adelaide Core Area (PDF), p. 7, retrieved 11 February 2015 
  10. ^ "New Glenelg Tram Depot Opens" Trolley Wire issue 227 December 1986 pages 7-9
  11. ^ "New trams for Adelaide" Trolley Wire issue 294 August 2003 page 19
  12. ^ Temporary Tram Closure Adelaide Metro
  13. ^ Official opening for tram extension ABC News 14 October 2007
  14. ^ "Adelaide's Tramway Extension Opens" Trolley Wire issue 311 November 2007 pages 3-8
  15. ^ "Glenelg Tram Overpass". Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  16. ^ "Adelaide - South Road overpass" Trolley Wire issue 319 November 2009 page 12
  17. ^ GTO Wins Industry Award McConnell Dowell 19 May 2010
  18. ^ "2008 State Budget". South Australian Department of Treasury and Finance. 5 June 2008. Archived from the original on 5 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-06. 
  19. ^ "Cabinet gives new tramline extension green light". Government of South Australia. 27 November 2008. Archived from the original on 13 June 2009. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  20. ^ "Tram extension works start". The Advertiser/AdelaideNow. 8 May 2009. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  21. ^ "Adelaide Entertainment Centre Tram Line Opens" Trolley Wire issue 321 May 2010 pages 21-23
  22. ^ Starick, Paul (14 May 2016). "Rundle Mall, museum, universities and Adelaide Lord Mayor push for East End tram extension". The Advertiser. 
  23. ^ "STATE BUDGET 2016/17: $50m AdeLINK tram extension to the East End". Government of South Australia. 5 July 2016. 
  24. ^ "SA budget 2016: Adelaide tramline to be extended to East End". ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 5 July 2016. 
  25. ^ "Tram extension to deliver major boost for Adelaide's universities". Government of South Australia. 6 July 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2016. 
  26. ^ "SA Government to spend an extra $20m on more trams". ABC News. 2016-12-15. Retrieved 2016-12-17. 
  27. ^ "City Tram Extension". Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure. Retrieved 2016-12-17. 
  28. ^ "First stage of AdeLINK tram extension out to market". Premier of South Australia. Government of South Australia. 3 December 2016. 
  29. ^ Charlton, Emma (25 July 2017). "Tram Extension Works Starting This Weekend". HIT 107. Southern Cross Austereo. Retrieved 25 July 2017. 
  30. ^ Kemp, Miles (25 July 2017). "New tram stops and extra funding to ease traffic problems announced for North Terrace extension". The Advertiser. Adelaide. Retrieved 25 July 2017. 
  31. ^ "Major construction set to begin on $80 million City Tram Extension Project". Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure. 18 September 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2017. 
  32. ^ Siebert, Bension (25 October 2017). "Tramline could be "wasted opportunity", says Lord Mayor". InDaily. Retrieved 23 November 2017. 
  33. ^ Gailberger, Jade (22 November 2017). "Government tries explaining why Adelaide trams could turn right 100 years ago — but not now". The Advertiser. Adelaide. Retrieved 23 November 2017. 
  34. ^ Williams, Matt (16 February 2008). "On track for future extension". The Advertiser - News Corporation. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  35. ^ Novak, Lauren (9 January 2008). "Trams may be s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d to beat overcrowding". The Advertiser - News Corporation. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  36. ^ "Authorities deny tram causing congestion". ABC News. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  37. ^ "Double Derailment at Glengowrie". Sensational Adelaide. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  38. ^ Robertson, Doug; Owen, Michael (1 November 2007). "Tram commuters to Glenelg face derailment delays". The Advertise - News Corporation. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  39. ^ Owen, Michael (12 November 2007). "TransAdelaide gutted as another tram breaks down". The Advertiser - News Corporation. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  40. ^ "Glenelg Tram Refurbishment Project" Trolley Wire issue 285 May 2001 pages 16-19
  41. ^ H-Class tram to return to the Glenelg to Adelaide tramline Adelaide Advertiser 27 July 2013
  42. ^ Adelaide H-Type trams won't be brought back into service despite a successful trial Adelaide Advertiser 15 February 2014
  43. ^ "Historic H Class trams will not return to regular operation" Railway Digest April 2014 page 16
  44. ^ "Metros" Railway Gazette International December 2004 page 820
  45. ^ a b "Adelaide's New Trams" Trolley Wire issue 304 February 2006 pages 16, 17
  46. ^ "Adelaide news" Trolley Wire issue 307 November 2006 page 26
  47. ^ Cabinet, Subjects for Consideration, 8 August 2004 Department of the Premier & Cabinet
  48. ^ City West to Glenelg Service Tramway Museum, St Kilda
  49. ^ "Adelaide - another Flexity enters service" Trolley Wire" issue 309 May 2007 page 16
  50. ^ "Adelaide: last Flexity arrives" Trolley Wire" issue 310 August 2007
  51. ^ "Additional trams" Trolley Wire issue 314 August 2008 page 15
  52. ^ Entertainment Centre, Hindmarsh to Glenelg Service Tramway Museum, St Kilda
  53. ^ Castello, Renato (24 May 2009). "European trams to bolster our City-Glenelg fleet". The Adelaide Advertiser. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  54. ^ Fenton, Andew (7 June 2009). "Six new trams for Adelaide-ex-Madrid". The Adelaide Advertiser. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  55. ^ "Six new trams for Adelaide" Trolley Wire issue 318 August 2009 page 21
  56. ^ New European trams a massive boost to Adelaide network Rail Express 24 June 2009
  57. ^ "Photos of Madrid tram at Preston". Trams Down Under archive. 10 September 2009. "Another Madrid Citadis". Trams Down Under archive. 11 November 2009. "Madrid tram to Adelaide". Trams Down Under archive. 11 November 2009. 
  58. ^ Old trams with outdated technology being considered for Adelaide, Opposition says ABC News 19 February 2017

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