1. 🙂 The bumble-bee trams. They look pretty cool inside too. Since the tram is returning from St Kilda, I wonder which favourite cafe some of the punters travelling on-board the tram visited? For sweet tooths out there, Chocolateria San Churro offers some big options for that sugar rush!

    1. After the above article was published, the Port Phillip Council commissioned a report on the economic impact of turning part of the street into a mall. The report looked at other similar outdoor malls, and found a rent premium of 0-50% over adjacent areas with on-street parking. The Council’s submission eventually supported a tram terminus in a car-free mall. This shows the right way to address traders’ concerns – use the evidence base of other successful areas.


  2. From Mulhouse


    We have also had trams from Porto


    and Lisbon


    and also HK Tuen Mum LR crawling our streets


    Sydney’s trams come from Vélez-Málaga which went broke


    Adelaide has a batch that were intended for Madrid, but never made it


    and a batch that were bought new off a batch designed for Frankfurt


    Just goes to show, Light Rail is a very international product, unlike Heavy Rail which until recently was much more localised. Although Auckland is up there as is Wellington in getting international designs.

  3. When it comes to sweet teeth, the famous cake shops on Acland Street are much-visit: Monarch and Europa being the best.

    1. But did you find real cannoli?

      I went up and down that whole sweet street looking for the real thing and they were all CUSTARD filled! WTF?

      Ended up going to a hidden away Fitzroy place to get the ricotta/ marscapone ones.

  4. Adriano Zumbo Patissier for slightly “out there” sweet experiments, 12-14 Claremont St. If coming from St Kilda, 79 Tram from Luna Park, get off at corner Chapel and Toorak Roads. A bit of a walk, but maybe necessary in between cake fixes. And yes, great way to get around…and turned this integrated ticketing sceptic right around.

  5. Ah yes, lack of context strikes again. The “bumblebees” were a stopgap measure and only 5 or 6 were ever purchased to address burgeoning capacity needs on the 96. They operate solely on the 96 and despite their comfort and pleasant interior, have been passed over for Bombardier’s more boxy, conventional and I’d argue old-fashioned (but locally assembled) design.

    So they may look nice but they’re indicative of the difficulty of managing light rail infrastructure – trams are stupidly expensive meaning government outlays only for relatively small batches, meaning you get a disparate fleet with little commonality and less flexibility (tram purchases are largely to address burgeoning demand on a specific line, which can have characteristics not suitable for other tram types, meaning you can’t easily transfer one to the other).

    And of course the 96 route supplanted a rail line from the city, meaning St Kilda, a very popular and growing area, is a bit of a transport black hole (trams generally being a nice way to trip around in your spare time, but a nightmare for getting somewhere on time and in a speedy fashion).

    But no, look at the pretty tram. All is well. It looks so “sophisticated”. Sure, the already sparse local bus services run at half hourly or even hourly intervals (or not at all on weekends) due to a lack of available funds to pump up that service. And sure, the route is ridiculously circuitous and lengthy, even with the dedicated right of way. And fare evasion is so easy that it starves the rest of the PT funding. But, you know, TRAMS! They solve everything.

    1. You make two good points:

      One; the distortions that can occur when local industry cries out for special treatment [are the Bombardiers better? Or just have more local content].

      Two; trams in traffic are not Rapid Transit, but can be good local distributors, although how good only depends on their degree of priority.

      1. One: All industrialised countries have biases toward their own local industries and use a range of tools to do this. NZ has a big emphasis on farming and tourism, Australia has a big emphasis on resources extraction. Other industries in NZ and Oz fill niches but are not the sustained heavy-weights in the way that their preeminent industries are……..and it hasn’t been a great week for tech stocks this week.

        So, if you want a diverse population and thriving cities, what do you do to provide employment? Encourage the trades to build squillions of houses and shopping malls into the countryside to fill with the next new wave of immigrants? Or, do you from time to time, use the lever of government contracts to support not the just the assembly site, but also an entire manufacturing support industry.

        This is a case by case exercise, sometimes a bias toward local content is the right way to go, sometimes not. But, just saying, don’t write it off, or be too judgemental on governments who do favour local content. Our government supports Americas Cup, Victoria’s supports tram manufacture.

        Two: Whether it is a pretty tram, a pretty bus, or a pretty train, all require quality infrastructure to work effectively. This requires investment and a government prepared to take a long term view. This is something our friends on the trucking and road construction industry know very well.

        1. Well we would have to say that NZ is unique in having a government that has a bias away from local industry! One that seems to go out of its way to run local manufacturing into the ground, especially when it comes to Rail procurement. Possibly for ideological reasons [economic purity], or petty point scoring [to ensure previous government’s purchase fails], or in order to reduce unionised industries’ power.

          I really did think the Hillside works should have been preferred for the Kiwi Rail contract to build new wagons, something completely within their skill set. To go to China for those and for them to then turn out to be dodgy was a real kick in the teeth for Dunedin. Though I doubt they could have built either AK’s or Welly’s EMUs. Perhaps in some kind of partnership? Others will know more, but I do know that we are lucky to be getting these lovely Spanish built trains.

          1. Agreed. And yes those Spanish trains are stunners, and all things considered, have apparently had a pretty good process ramping up to operational status, thus far, fingers crossed!

Leave a Reply