Glenelg Tram

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Glenelg Tram
Locale Adelaide, South Australia
Termini Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Hindmarsh
Moseley Square, Glenelg
  • Every 5-10 mins (peak)
  • Every 15 mins (weekday)
  • Every 15 mins (weekend)
  • Every 20 mins (night)
Opened 1873 (1873)
Rolling stock
Re-sleepered (concrete) 2005
Electrified 1929
Line length 15 km (9.3 mi)
Number of tracks Double track
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Route map
Outer Harbor line
Cancelled extension
Entertainment Centre
River Torrens
Bonython Park
Port Road Crossing
West Terrace
0.0 City West
Morphett Street
0.4 Adelaide railway station
0.9 Rundle Mall
1.3 Pirie Street
Victoria Square/
1.9 City South
2.3 South Terrace
South Parklands Turnback
2.9 Greenhill Road
3.8 Wayville
4.3 Goodwood Road
Goodwood Station
Belair and Seaford lines
5.2 Forestville
5.7 Black Forest
6.2 South Road
6.7 Glandore
7.1 Beckman Street
7.7 South Plympton
8.0 Marion Road
8.9 Plympton Park
Morphettville Racecourse
Race days only
9.9 Morphett Road
Glengowrie Depot
Sturt River
10.5 Glengowrie
11.2 Glenelg East
11.5 Brighton Road
11.9 Jetty Road
12.3 Moseley Square
Gulf St Vincent

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.

The service is free between the Adelaide Entertainment Centre in Hindmarsh and South Terrace in the City, and along the entire length of Jetty Road, Glenelg. Apart from short street-running sections in Adelaide city centre and Glenelg, the line has its own reservation, with minimal interference with road traffic.

Until January 2006, 1929-vintage H-class cars provided all services on the Glenelg line, these have been replaced by Flexity Classic and Citadis 302 trams.

In April 2007 construction commenced on a 1.6 kilometre extenson from Victoria Square along King William Street and North Terrace to Morphett Street with the line opening on 14 October 2007.

A new bridge over South Road to replace the existing crossing opened on 15 March 2010 and a further 2.8 kilometre extension of the line along Port Road to the Entertainment Centre opened on 22 March 2010. There were plans to extend the tramway even further to Port Adelaide, Semaphore, Woodville and West Lakes, but these were dropped in 2012.



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 route was built in 1873 by a private company, the Adelaide, Glenelg & Suburban Railway Company Ltd. The original line had a very different character to today’s route.

  • It was similar to Adelaide's other suburban train lines.
  • It was built to the 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) broad gauge. (Today’s tram is 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm).
  • It was operated by steam locomotives,[1] not electric trams.
  • Most of the localities between Glenelg and Adelaide were sparsely settled and undeveloped. The line ran through open paddocks and market gardens.
  • The line was largely single track.
  • It crossed the Main South Line at Goodwood by a flat crossing, not an overpass.
  • There were fewer stopping points and these were at conventional railway stations.
  • It ran in competition with the North Terrace – Glenelg railway line
  • The trains did not operate on anything like the frequency of today’s trams, and a timetable was certainly advisable when planning a journey.

Patronage during the first few years of operation rose from 468,000 in the first year (1873-4) to 727,000 in 1877-8.[2] In 1976, patronage was 3,000 trips "on an average day".[3]

The last day a steam train ran up King William Street in 1914

In December 1899 the private company was acquired by the state government-controlled South Australian Railways (SAR), who continued to operate the line as a steam railway for the next 30 years or so. In 1914, the railway’s terminus was cut back from the edge of Victoria Square (in the centre of Adelaide) to South Terrace on the city’s southern fringe. Passengers had to transfer to electric trams to complete their journey into the city.[4]

Municipal Tramways Trust[edit]

The electric tram network in the late 1950s

In 1929 ownership and operation transferred from the SAR to Adelaide’s Municipal Tramways Trust (MTT). Steam trains ceased on 2 April 1929 and the line was closed to be rebuilt to standard gauge, electrified at 600 V dc and converted to tramway operation.[5] The Goodwood flyover was constructed at this time, separating the new tram tracks from the conventional railway.[6]

Thirty H class trams were built for the line by a local manufacturer, A. Pengelley, along the lines of North American interurban cars of that era. The line re-opened on 14 December 1929, with the city terminus reverting to Victoria Square.

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 the racecourse at Morphettville. 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-class 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.

H class trams at the Moseley Square terminus circa 2005

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.

The H-class cars were progressively updated during the 1970s, again in the late 1980s and most recently (on five trams) in 2000. These included toughened safety glass in windows, replacing wooden panels with fibreglass, upgrading bogies, fluorescent lights inside the cars, and sealed-beam headlights and brake/hazard lamp clusters outside.

In 1986 the line was converted from trolley pole to pantograph operation. This change coincided with relocation of the tram depot from the corner of Angas Street and Victoria Square in central Adelaide to a new facility at Glengowrie, close to Glenelg.

Despite the various refurbishments and upgrades, the overall character of the H-class trams has stayed very much as they were built. The interiors are still varnished wood and glass etched with MTT logos, and with no heating or air conditioning. Any remaining services are crew operated, with a driver and conductor on single cars, or a driver and two conductors on two-car sets.

21st Century developments[edit]

2005 Track & Rolling Stock Renewal[edit]

Flexity Classic tram in December 2014
May 2003 The South Australian Government announced the planned upgrade of the Glenelg line infrastructure and the introduction of new trams.
21 September 2004 S.A. Govt. announced the contract for delivery of nine new Flexity Classics had been awarded to Bombardier.
6 April 2005 An additional two trams were ordered (a total of 11) to cater for services on the city centre extension.
5 June 2005 to
7 August 2005
Service was temporarily suspended and a substitute bus service introduced. 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-class cars and Glengowrie depot.

When the tram service resumed on 8 August 2005, services were still operated by H-class trams as no Flexitys had been delivered.

September 2005 The tram terminus in Moseley Square was reconfigured, as part of a general redevelopment of the square.
22 November 2005 The first new Flexity tram (101) arrived at the Glengowrie depot.
9 January 2006 Following a period of commissioning and staff training, the first two Flexity trams (101 and 102) entered public service.

2007 Tram 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 West extension
6 April 2005 S.A. Government announced a 1.2-km extension from Victoria Square along King William St. to Adelaide railway station. An additional two trams were ordered (a total of 11) to cater for services on the city centre extension.
18 May 2005 S.A. Government announced a feasibility study would be conducted on extending the line past Adelaide Oval to North Adelaide.
February 2007 Preliminary work on the Victoria Square - UNI West extension commences.
6 April 2007 Track laying commences on the extension along part of North Terrace.
6 August 2007 The new Victoria Square stop opens on the west side of Victoria Square, replacing the former stop in the centre of the square.
2 September 2007 First extension tests. Flexity 104 and H class 351 and 367 were used. 104 ran with no problems but 351 and 367 made contact with the median strip on North Terrace rounding the curve from King William Street.
6 September 2007 H class 351 and 367 were again tested on the extension. The median strip on the North Terrace corner had been modified and no further issues were noticed.
25 September 2007 H class 351 and 367 tested new signalling on the extension. Two runs were made.
29 September 2007 First daylight driver familiarisation training runs made. Flexity 106 was used.
14 October 2007 The Tram Extension opens to the public, temporary opening shuttle service running between Victoria Square and City West tram stop, normal services ran between Victoria Square and Glenelg. Trams 101 and 102 along with H class 351 and 367 used in the opening procession. 351 and 367 returned to Glengowrie depot after the opening run.
15 October 2007 Normal services to the new timetable began with through services from Glenelg to City West and a free shuttle service between South terrace and City West. Services are still run to this pattern.

South Road Overpass[edit]

The South Road Overpass was announced in the 2007 State Budget and was built in conjunction with the Anzac Highway Underpass.[7] The project started in July 2009 and was due to be completed by the end of 2009. In 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.

2009–2010 Tram Extension to the Entertainment Centre[edit]

5 June 2008 The extension to the Entertainment Centre was announced in the 2008 State Budget.[8] Planning commenced soon after.
27 November 2008 State Cabinet approved the $100m Tram Extension to the Entertainment Centre.[9]
11 May 2009 Work began on the Entertainment Centre line.[10]
30 May 2009 Work began on modifying the Port Road bridge to carry the new tramline over several heavy rail lines.[11]
10 October 2009 All right turn movements to and from North Terrace to Newmarket Street, Gray Street, Liverpool Street and George Street in the Adelaide city centre were permanently removed to create a safe working area for the construction and operation of the tramline in the centre of North Terrace.[12]
5 November 2009 First track sections laid down at the Entertainment Centre terminus within the Port Road median strip.[13]
6–9 November 2009 Hindmarsh Bridge carrying Port Road over the Torrens River was closed to allow for modifications to carry the tramway. Port Road closed temporarily between Adam Street/Park Terrace and Phillip's Street with traffic diversions in place.[14]
20‑23 November 2009 The first major section of tracklaying began at the Entertainment Centre end of the line.[15]
22 February 2010 The first Test tram 110 made its run with no problems.
15 March 2010 Extension opened to the public.

Planned 2011–2018 Tram Extensions[edit]

 5 June 2008  Further extensions to West Lakes/AAMI Stadium (2016), Port Adelaide and Semaphore (2018) announced in 2008 State Budget.[8]
 31 May 2012  Extensions scrapped in 2012 State Budget. [16]
5 July 2016 One-kilometre branch along the eastern section of North Terrace announced in 2016 State Budget.[17][18]


Due to the increased popularity of the service beyond the city after the extension,[19] 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.[20] 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.[21]

There have been a small number of minor derailments along the tramway, including one on Melbourne Cup Day, 6 November 2007.[22][23] On several occasions, some Flexity Trams experienced breakdown problems.[24]


H class[edit]

Refurbished H types 370 and 380 at the former City West terminus, January 2009
Main article: H class Adelaide tram

Until January 2006, 1929-vintage H class trams provided all services on the Glenelg line. These trams were built for the electrification of the Glenelg line and have many of the characteristics of American "interurban" cars of the same period.

The H-class are the longest rigid-body trams remaining in service in Australia, and the second-longest ever built. They travel in pairs during peak times, and with the retirement of the W2 trams from Melbourne's network are the oldest passenger trams in service in Australia.[25] Thirty H class trams were built with road numbers 351 - 380.

Five refurbished H-class trams are still in the fleet. They operated a restricted 'heritage service' timetable on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. The H class trams are currently not in use but are stored at the depot awaiting a decision on their future. They have been fitted with safety measures similar to those of the new trams, including vigilance control and electro-magnetic track brakes. The retained H-class trams are numbers 351, 367, 374 and 380. Three of the trams are currently stored near Tonsley.

Flexity Classic[edit]

Main article: Flexity Classic

In November 2005 the first of nine Flexity Classic trams were delivered. A further two were added to the order, followed by another four as part of the Adelaide Entertainment Centre extension entering service in 2011. Numbered 101-115, all were built by Bombardier Transportation in Bautzen, Germany.

Citadis 302[edit]

Former Metro Ligero de Madrid Citadis tram 202 at the Moseley Square terminus
Main article: Citadis

In May 2009 the State Government purchased six Citadis 302 five car trams for $36 million. Manufactured by Alstom in France, they had been ordered for the Metro Ligero de Madrid system in Madrid, Spain, but became surplus following the line they were ordered for being scaled back.[26][27]

The trams were delivered in two separate batches of three to Australia being landed in Melbourne on 9 September 2009 and 10 November 2009 for modifications at Yarra Trams' Preston Workshops before being moved by road to Adelaide.[28] Delivered as Metro Ligero de Madrid's 165-170, they were renumbered 201-206 by TransAdelaide.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The 'Eureka' Steam Motor of South Australia Eardley, Gifford Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, February 1974 pp27-29
  2. ^ "MITCHAM TRAMWAY.". South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1868 - 1881) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 7 September 1878. p. 2 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN CHRONICLE. Retrieved 11 February 2015. 
  3. ^ Madigan, J.F. (1977), The Pedestrian Network in the Adelaide Core Area (PDF), p. 7, retrieved 11 February 2015 
  4. ^ "GLENELG RAILWAY.". The Register (Adelaide). LXXIX, (21,078) (South Australia). 2 June 1914. p. 13. Retrieved 13 June 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  5. ^ "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. 
  6. ^ "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. 
  7. ^ "Glenelg Tram Overpass". Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  8. ^ a b "2008 State Budget". South Australian Department of Treasury and Finance. 5 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-06. 
  9. ^ "Cabinet gives new tramline extension green light". Government of South Australia. 27 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  10. ^ "Tram extension works start". The Advertiser/AdelaideNow. 8 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-12. [dead link]
  11. ^ "(Railpage Australia) ADELAIDE - New tramlines to Entertainment Centre, West Lakes and Semaphore". Forum members. 30 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  12. ^ "Right turn movements". DTEI. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  13. ^ "Port Road Closure - 6 to 9 November 2009". Forum members. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-18. 
  14. ^ "#U/C: Port Adelaide Tram Line". DTEI. 30 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  15. ^ "Notice of major weekend works". DTEI. 17 November 2009. 
  16. ^ "Port, Semaphore tramline derailed in State Budget". The Advertiser/AdelaideNow. 8 May 2009. Retrieved 2014-10-07. 
  17. ^ "STATE BUDGET 2016/17: $50m AdeLINK tram extension to the East End". Government of South Australia. 5 July 2016. 
  18. ^ "SA budget 2016: Adelaide tramline to be extended to East End". ABC News Online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 5 July 2016. 
  19. ^ Williams, Matt (16 February 2008). "On track for future extension". The Advertiser - News Corporation. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  20. ^ 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. 
  21. ^ "Authorities deny tram causing congestion". ABC News. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  22. ^ "Double Derailment at Glengowrie". Sensational Adelaide. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  23. ^ Robertson, Doug; Owen, Michael (1 November 2007). "Tram commuters to Glenelg face derailment delays". The Advertise - News Corporation. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  24. ^ Owen, Michael (12 November 2007). "TransAdelaide gutted as another tram breaks down". The Advertiser - News Corporation. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  25. ^ Hoadley, David (18 January 1996). "Type H". Retrieved 2007-08-03. 
  26. ^ Castello, Renato (24 May 2009). "European trams to bolster our City-Glenelg fleet". The Adelaide Advertiser. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  27. ^ Fenton, Andew (7 June 2009). "Six new trams for Adelaide-ex-Madrid". The Adelaide Advertiser. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  28. ^ "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. 

External links[edit]