I got to see a mock-up of the new G Class tram last week.
Why G Class instead of F Class? The official word is it was to align with the fleet numbers, given G is the 7th letter, and the trams will be numbered from 7001.
Why are they out of whack? The B Class is 2xxx, C Class is 3xxx, etc. It seems to have happened because they skipped 4xxx. Why? I’m not sure.
The G Class mock-up, like the train mock-ups recently built, represents the front section of the tram up to the first articulation. Apparently they’re going to add a bit more to the mock-up to make it slightly longer.
The trams will be 25 metres long, with capacity for 150 people. This makes it slightly longer than the B Class, but shorter than the E Class. The reason it’s shorter is to enable it to run on any line on the Melbourne tram network, whereas the Es are restricted to specific lines.
However it will be possible to extend the trams later, with an additional module in the middle.
The government has committed to an order of 100 trams, and an accelerated (compared to previous rollouts) of up to 30 per year.
This will help upgrade more of the fleet to low floors, with the new trams replacing Z class trams. They’ll be initially deployed on routes 57, 59 and 82, so will also replace Bs on the 59 – with those no doubt moving to other depots currently using Zs such as Malvern and Glen Huntly.
Eventually the Gs will also go to other depots around the network.
They’ll have on-board batteries to reduce energy usage, meaning they can be rolled-out more quickly without the need for so many power upgrades, such as all the substations being built around the place.
The destination display on the exterior of the tram isn’t a finalised design – it’s not even electronic at the moment, just pretend. Just as well as it wasn’t very readable in bright light. Hopefully they’ll avoid the issues with the E Class and their rapidly scrolling, flickery displays.
There’ll be displays inside similar to those seen on other new trams in the fleet, and showing tram route and interchange information.
The cab has been designed to improve crash worthiness, as well as driver sight lines.
Internally the layout is similar in some ways to the E class, but the inclusion of doors at the ends of the tram is a big improvement that will help passenger circulation.
The “egg beater” design for the big grab handle near the doors is apparently a newish concept used in Brussels, and improves visibility along the tram. Clever.
I assumed the wooden-backed seats were just part of the mock-up, but it seems it’s an option provided by the manufacturer, which DTP is considering. I wonder how easy it would be to keep clean.
Overall the design looks good to me.
One caveat: the feeling of light and space is likely to be undermined as soon as they start putting All-Over Advertising on these trams, effectively blocking most windows.
There’s no need for this. PT networks and advertisers can work around it if they try. I’d love to see blocking the windows banned on trams and buses, just as it is for trains.
Thanks to the Department of Transport and Planning for arranging this visit for the PTUA Committee. They’re getting other stakeholders through to review the design.
PS. Thanks to all those who attended the PTUA AGM last night! Interesting presentation from the new ticketing operator. Thanks also to Tony as MC, Jarred and especially Michael for managing the event.