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.
OperatorYarra Trams
VehicleC2 class
E1 class
E2 class
Night-timeFriday & Saturday
LocaleMelbourne, Australia
StartBrunswick East
ViaFitzroy North
Carlton North
Melbourne CBD (Bourke Street)
South Melbourne
Albert Park
Middle Park
EndSt Kilda Beach
Length13.9 km (8.6 mi)
Journey time50-55 minutes
Zone(s)Free Zone: Stops 11-1, 122-124
Myki Zone 1: Stops 27-12, 124A-140
TimetableRoute 96 timetable
MapRoute 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 53,000 passengers every week day[3] with a frequency of up to every 4-6 minutes during peak times. 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 E 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 8 April 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 1500 V DC to 600 V DC with light rail platforms built adjacent to the former stations platforms.

With the closure of North Fitzroy depot on 19 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 of which there are now 26 which saw all D2 class trams transferred to Brunswick depot. 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 Batman Park (previously the World Trade Centre) and Clarendon street junction (Previously 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 October 2018 has included:

  • new Blyth Street terminus headshunt at the northern end in July 2015[21][24]
  • new Clarendon Street Junction stop in January 2016[25][26]
  • new Acland Street terminus in December 2016[27][28]
  • stop upgrades at Johnston Street, Moor street and Melbourne Museum in September 2018 along with stop removal at Hoddle St and Hanover street.


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

Route 96 runs from its terminus in Brunswick East, travelling south on Nicholson Street through the suburbs of Carlton North, Fitzroy North, Carlton and Fitzroy, passing the Royal Exhibition Building and Melbourne Museum. It enters the CBD on Spring Street turning right into Bourke Street at Parliament House, travels through the Bourke Street Mall and turns left 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 track. 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:

  • A class
  • B class (rare as they are not allocated to Southbank Depot)
  • C1 class (rare as they are not allocated to Southbank Depot)
  • D1 and D2 class (rare as they are not allocated to Southbank Depot)

Special events and services[edit]

Several annual events affect the usual services along route 96:

Route map[edit]

Route 96
Brunswick East - St Kilda Beach
via Fitzroy, City, Southbank & Albert Park
Free Tram Zone covers stops 124 to 11, fare zone 1 from stop 140 to 124A, 27 to 12
Brunswick East
Blyth Street
Bus interchange 503, 508
Albert Street
Glenlyon Road
Bus interchange 506
Miller Street
Bus interchange 506
Former Brunswick Road/Holden Street Line
Brunswick Road
Bus interchange 250, 251
North Fitzroy tram depot (closed)
Scotchmer Street
Reid Street
Freeman Street
Alexandra Parade
Bus interchange 546
Rose Street
Johnston Street
Bus interchange 200, 207
Moor Street
Gertrude Street
Tram 86
Melbourne Museum
Zone 1
Free Tram Zone
Victoria Parade
Tram 30
Parliament station
Mainline rail interchange
Parliament station
City Loop suburban lines
Spring Street
Tram City Circle
Spring Street
Russell Street
Bus interchange 605
Swanston Street
Tram 1, 3, 5, 6, 16, 64, 67, 72
Swanston Street
Tram interchange 1, 3, 5, 6, 16, 64, 67, 72
Bourke Street Mall
Tram interchange 19, 57, 59
Elizabeth Street
Tram 19, 57, 59
Queen Street
William Street
William Street
Tram 58
Southern Cross station
Spencer Street
Tram 86
Mainline rail interchange Southern Cross station
Southern Cross station
Collins Street
Tram 11, 12, 48, 109
Flinders Street
Tram 70, 75, City Circle
Flinders Street Viaduct
Batman Park
Free Tram Zone
Zone 1
Clarendon Street
Clarendon Street
Tram 12
Normanby Street
Clarendon Street Junction
Port Melbourne Light Rail
Tram 109
Ferrars Street
City Road
Bus interchange 234, 236
South Melbourne
Park Street
Tram 1 (no connecting stop)
South Melbourne
Ferrars Street
Albert Park
Albert Road
Tram 12 (no connecting stop)
Canterbury Road
Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre
Middle Park
Middle Park
Canterbury Road
Fraser Street
St Kilda station
Bus interchange 600, 922, 923
Fitzroy Street
Tram 3a, 16
Canterbury Road
Tram interchange 3a, 16
Park Street
Tram interchange 12, Bus interchange 606
Park Street
Tram 12
Jacka Boulevard
Bus interchange 606
The Esplanade
The Esplanade
Luna Park
Tram interchange 3a, 16; Bus interchange 606, 623
Carlisle Street
Tram 3a, 16
Acland Street
Acland Street
Bus interchange
246, 600, 606
922, 923
St Kilda Beach
Note: Green denotes free tram zone


  1. ^ Facts & figures Archived 29 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine Yarra Trams
  2. ^ Route 96 Yarra Trams
  3. ^ Jacks, Timna (15 September 2018). "Tram patronage booming, including on weekends, new data reveals". The Age. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  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. Archived from the original on 18 March 2012. 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 Archived 15 March 2017 at the Wayback Machine 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 Archived 17 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine Public Transport Victoria
  23. ^ "Help Council Have Their Say on Tram Changes". City of Port Phillip. 25 July 2013. Archived from the original on 14 September 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  24. ^ Route 96 Improvements: Nicholson Street Public Transport Victora
  25. ^ Route 96: Stop 125 Port Junction Archived 2016-08-09 at the Wayback Machine Public Transport Victoria
  26. ^ Port Junction: Platform stop construction Archived 17 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine 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.

External links[edit]