Melbourne tram route 96

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Route 96
Brunswick EastSt Kilda Beach
Icon for route 96.
E 6001 and E 6002 (Melbourne trams) in Bourke St on route 96, 2013.JPG
E class trams on Bourke Street in December 2013.
System Melbourne
Operator Yarra Trams
Depot Southbank
Vehicle C2 class
E class
Night-time Friday & Saturday
Locale Melbourne, Australia
Start Brunswick East
Via Fitzroy North
Carlton North
Melbourne CBD (Bourke Street)
South Melbourne
Albert Park
Middle Park
End St Kilda Beach
Length 13.9 km (8.6 mi)
Journey time 50-55 minutes
Operates Daily
Zone(s) Free Zone: Stops 11-1, 122-124
Myki Zone 1: Stops 27-12, 124A-140
Timetable Route 96 timetable
Map Route 96 map
Route map

Melbourne trams route 96 map.png

← Route 86  {{{system_nav}}}  Route 109 →

Melbourne tram route 96 is operated by Yarra Trams on the Melbourne tram network. It operates from Brunswick East to St Kilda Beach. The 13.9 kilometre route is operated by C2 and E class trams from Southbank depot.[1][2]

It is one of Melbourne's busiest tram routes carrying 39,700 passengers a day[3] with a frequency of up to every six minutes during peak. It has been described as one of the world's top 10 tram rides,[4][5] highly popular with both commuters and tourists visiting St Kilda's many attractions and special events including the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix and the St Kilda Festival.

The route began electric operation on 6 May 1956, with the reintroduction of trams on Bourke Street. It was extended to St Kilda on 20 November 1987,[6] with the conversion of the St Kilda railway line to a light rail.[7] As a result it has a lengthy right of way between Melbourne and St Kilda, although the majority of the route is on-road. End to end services take about 50 minutes.

Frequent overcrowding problems have seen route 96 become the only route to run the C2 class tram, specifically designed to carry more passengers, complementing the D class trams. Due to its high usage, the route was chosen in April 2012 to undergo major infrastructure upgrades along its entire length.[8]


The line opened as a cable tram line operated by the Melbourne Tramway & Omnibus Company on 30 August 1887, operating along Bourke and Nicholson Streets.[9] It operated until 26 October 1940, when the Bourke Street cable lines were abandoned by the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board (MMTB) in favour of double decker buses. The Bourke Street cable lines were the last cable trams to operate in Melbourne.

The MMTB, unhappy with the performance of the buses, decided to reinstate trams when the buses reached life expiry, trams on the 88 (predecessor to the modern 86) started on 26 June 1955 with the first tram to East Brunswick operating on 6 May 1956.[10]

The W7 class trams were built for running on these lines and the new Z class trams first ran on route 96 in June 1975.[11]

The line was extended south to St Kilda along Spencer Street, the former St Kilda railway line, Fitzroy Street and The Esplanade to terminate in Acland Street on 20 November 1987 following the conversion of the St Kilda Railway (along with the Port Melbourne railway line) to light rail.[12] The broad gauge 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) track was re-gauged to standard gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) and the overhead voltage was reduced from 1500V DC to 600V DC with light rail platforms built adjacent to the former stations platforms.

With the closure of North Fitzroy depot in December 1993, its route 96 duties were transferred to South Melbourne depot.

After the merger of the M>Tram network with Yarra Trams in 2004, most D2 class trams were transferred from Malvern depot to Southbank depot to help alleviate the congestion on the route.[13][14][15] Since the introduction of these low floor Combino trams on the route, accessible stops have been built on Bourke Street, Fitzroy Street and St Kilda Esplanade, increasing customer safety and comfort.

In response to frequent overcrowding on the tram system in 2008, the state government leased new C2 class trams from Mulhouse, France specifically to run the route.[16] The first of these new trams began operation on 11 June 2008 with the nickname Bumble Bee 1.[17][18] In November 2013, the first E class trams entered service on the route.[19] In January 2016, route 96 began operating through the night on Fridays and Saturdays as part of the Night Network.[20]

Route 96 Project[edit]

On 17 April 2012, it was announced that Route 96 would become the focus of tram upgrades to transform it from a tramway to a light rail system; a "model" for how Melbourne's tram network should operate. The Route 96 Project superseded a similar project of the previous government, Tram 109.

The proposed aims of the project are:

  • Providing level access stops along the entire route
  • Upgraded termini at Blyth Street, Brunswick East, and Acland Street, St Kilda[21][22]
  • Segregation treatments to better separate low-floor trams from traffic
  • Improved priority for low-floor trams at traffic lights
  • Improved customer information

The objectives are to:

  • Increase access to trams and safety for customers through providing improved infrastructure and information
  • Improve tram reliability and efficiency through increased priority and accessible infrastructure
  • Ensure better utilisation of the road network with a focus on moving people
  • Design a full route of enhancements to demonstrate the benefits of a modern light rail system in Melbourne conditions, compared with a traditional tram network.

In mid-2013, the proposed changes were released to the public. They involved an eventual segregation of trams from traffic along nearly the entire route, and the upgrade of all stops to level access to improve passenger flow and make the network disability-compliant. On Nicholson Street, all on-street parking would eventually be removed to create dedicated tram lanes where it is illegal for cars to drive. Easy-access stops (level access by raising the road to footpath level) would be constructed between Blyth Street and Brunswick Road, while centre island superstops would be constructed between Brunswick Road and the CBD.

The World Trade Centre and Port Junction stops in South Melbourne would be redesigned with a separate bay for the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant, while in St Kilda, some parts of Acland Street would be closed to cars in favour of widened footpaths, pedestrian plazas and tram right of way.

The project has received strong support from commuters, urban planners and public transport advocates, while there have been concerns from shop owners along the route that a loss of on-street parking will negatively affect business.[23]

Work completed as at March 2017 has included:


B2 class tram on the former St Kilda railway line section in January 2006

Route 96 runs from Brunswick East, travelling south on Nicholson Street through the suburbs of, Carlton North, Fitzroy North, Carlton and Fitzroy, passing the Royal Exhibition Building.

It enters the CBD on Spring Street turning west into Bourke Street at Parliament House, travells through the Bourke Street Mall and turns south into Spencer Street, passing Southern Cross station, it crosses the Yarra River and enters Southbank on Clarendon Street before passing through the suburbs of South Melbourne, Albert Park, Middle Park and St Kilda on a right-of-way on the former St Kilda railway line with stops at City Road, South Melbourne market, Albert Park, Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre, Middle Park, Fraser Street and St Kilda. The tram line exits the private right-of-way and travels along Fitzroy Street and The Esplanade to Acland Street, St Kilda where it terminates.


Route 96 is operated by trams from Southbank depot[29] and is predominantly run with:

However, during special events, track works or tram shortages, trams running this route can also include:

Special events and services[edit]

Several annual events affect the usual services along route 96:

Route map[edit]

     Route 96
Free Tram Zone covers stops 11 to 124. Fare zone 1 applies from stop 27 to 12, and 124A to 140.
Brunswick East Stop
Bus interchange 503, 508
Blyth Street 27
Victoria Street 26
Albert Street 25
Bus interchange 506
Glenlyon Road 24
Bus interchange 506
Miller Street 23
Bus interchange 250, 251
Holden Street 22
Scotchmer Street 21
Bus interchange 504
Reid Street 20
Tempany Street 19
Freeman Street 18
Bus interchange 546
Alexandra Parade 17
Rose Street 16
Bus interchange 200, 207
Johnston Street 15
Bell Street 14
Hanover Street 13
Route 86 via Gertrude Street Right arrow
Tram interchange 86
Melbourne Museum Gertrude Street 12
Bus interchange Victoria Parade buses; Tram interchange 30, 35
Victoria Parade 11
Towards Melbourne Central Left arrow
Bus interchange Lonsdale Street buses; Mainline rail interchange City Loop
Parliament station Albert Street 10
Towards Flinders Street or Richmond Right arrow
(Up arrow Nicholson Street – Bourke Street Down arrow)
Right arrow Route 35 via Spring Street
Tram interchange 35
Spring Street 9
Russell Street 7
Tram interchange 1, 3/3a, 5, 6, 16, 64, 67, 72
Swanston Street 6
Tram interchange 19, 57, 59
Bourke Street Mall Elizabeth Street 5
Bus interchange Queen Street buses
Queen Street 4
Tram interchange 58
William Street 3
Bus interchange Regional; Tram interchange 86; Mainline rail interchange City Loop, regional
Southern Cross station Spencer Street 1
Towards Flagstaff Left arrow
Route 86 via Spencer Street Left arrow
(Up arrow Bourke Street – Spencer Street Down arrow)
Towards North Melbourne Left arrow
Bus interchange 232, 235, 237; Tram interchange 11, 12, 48, 109; Mainline rail interchange City Loop, regional
Southern Cross station Collins Street 122
Routes 11 & 48 via Collins Street Left arrow
Right arrow Routes 11, 12, 48 & 109 via Collins Street
Left arrow Routes 35, 70 & 75 via Flinders Street Right arrow
Towards Flinders Street Right arrow
Bus interchange 944, 945; Tram interchange 35, 70, 75
Batman Park Flinders Street 124
(Spencer Street Up arrow)
Yarra River
Tram interchange 12
Casino/MCEC 124A
(Clarendon Street Down arrow)
(Up arrow Clarendon Street – Normanby Road Down arrow)
Right arrow Route 12 via Clarendon Street
Tram interchange 109
Clarendon Street Junction^ 125
Southbank tram depot
Route 109 via Port Melbourne light rail Left arrow
(Up arrow Normanby Road – St Kilda light rail Down arrow)
West Gate Freeway
Bus interchange 234, 236
City Road 126
South Melbourne Coventry Street 127
Left arrow Route 1 Right arrow
Albert Park Bridport Street 128
Left arrow Route 12 Right arrow
Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre Wright Street 129
Middle Park Armstrong Street 130
Fraser Street 131
Bus interchange 600, 922, 923
St Kilda station 132
(Up arrow St Kilda light rail – Fitzroy Street Down arrow)
Right arrow Routes 3a & 16 via Fitzroy Street
Tram interchange 3a, 16
Canterbury Road 133
Bus interchange 606 Tram interchange 12
Park Street 134
Route 12 via Park Street Left arrow
Jacka Boulevard 135
(Up arrow Fitzroy Street – The Esplanade Down arrow)
The Esplanade 136
Bus interchange 606, 623 Tram interchange 3a, 16
Luna Park 138
(Up arrow The Esplanade – Acland Street Down arrow)
Right arrow Routes 3a & 16 via Carlisle Street
Belford Street (removed 8 August 2016[31]) 139
Bus interchange 246, 600, 606, 922, 923
Barkly Street 139
St Kilda Beach Stop
Victoria Parade bus routes: 302, 303, 304, 305, 309, 318, 350, 402, 684, 905, 906, 907, 908
Lonsdale Street buses: 302, 303, 304, 305, 309, 318, 350, 905, 906, 907, 908
Queen Street buses: 200, 207, 216, 219, 220, 232, 234, 235, 236, 237, 250, 251, 605
^Depot services terminate at Clarendon Street Junction.
Expand to show intermediate stops. Route map is not to scale.


  1. ^ Facts & figures Yarra Trams
  2. ^ Route 96 Yarra Trams
  3. ^ Craig, Natalie (19 June 2011). "Learning our lines". The Age. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "Tram 96 travels tracks to glory". The Age. 8 March 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Tram 96 among the world’s best — but could be even better". Public Transport Users Association. 8 March 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Metlines - March 1988
  7. ^ Jones, Colin (1993). Watch for Trams. Kenthurst: Kangaroo Press. p. 118. ISBN 0 86417 544 2. 
  8. ^ From the Minister for Public Transport (17 April 2012). "Tram route 96 to be upgraded ahead of new trams" (Press release). State Government of Victoria. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  9. ^ Melbourne Tramway & Omnibus Company Limited Running Journal volume 9 no 3 page 16
  10. ^ "Our golden years". Yarra Trams. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "New Cars for North Fitzroy" Trolley Wire issue 159 August 1975 page 40
  12. ^ "Towards the modern era". Yarra Trams. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "A new century". Yarra Trams. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "D2 Class", Vicsig, retrieved 26 September 2011 
  15. ^ New low floor trams boost capacity on Route 96 Yarra Trams 26 July 2004
  16. ^ "Melbourne welcomes Mulhouse tram" Railway Gazette International March 2008 page 127
  17. ^ "Five more trams to be added to the metropolitan system". Media release from the Minister for Public Transport. Yarra Trams. 7 February 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "First of five French Trams now on Melbourne tracks". Yarra Trams. 11 June 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  19. ^ Stand by your tram - Melbourne welcomes the E-class Yarra Trams 4 November 2013
  20. ^ Night Tram Public Transport Victoria
  21. ^ a b Route 96 - Tram network upgrade - June 2015 Yarra Trams
  22. ^ Route 96: Acland Street, St Kilda Public Transport Victoria
  23. ^ "Help Council Have Their Say on Tram Changes". City of Port Phillip. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  24. ^ Route 96 Improvements: Nicholson Street Public Transport Victora
  25. ^ Route 96: Stop 125 Port Junction Public Transport Victoria
  26. ^ Port Junction: Platform stop construction Yarra Trams
  27. ^ Acland Street upgrade Yarra Trams
  28. ^ Acland Street upgrades City of Port Phillip
  29. ^ "Southbank Depot", Vicsig, retrieved 26 September 2011 
  30. ^ Gough, Deborah (4 November 2013). "Longer and louder: New E-Class tram makes itself heard". The Age. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  31. ^ "Route 96 - Network upgrade work - Monday 8 to Tuesday 16 August". Yarra Trams. Archived from the original on 25 October 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 

External links[edit]