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Melbourne's development by tram: the 55

The 55 tram route - which runs from Domain Interchange on St Kilda Road to West Coburg via William Street in the CBD, Royal Park and Brunswick West - is one of the more 'quieter' development corridors in Melbourne.

In fact, in the area which the route 55 runs outside of the City of Melbourne, there are only six projects in the pipeline.

The tram route inside the City of Moreland passes through older inter-war suburbia, and south of Moreland Road, the population density doubles, as Brunswick West saw a large amount of 'walk-up' flat development in 1960/1970s era.

While the total project numbers for the route 55 corridor are small, the number of dwellings is not. That's because The York and The Grove, located on an old textiles factory site, right next to the Tullamarine Freeway, roughly 500 metres from the route 55 tram corridor on Melville Road, combined have over 650 dwellings between them.

The City of Moreland has applied the Residential Growth Zone is multiple areas in Brunswick West, with Grantham Street and Melville Road a particular focus.

The numbers

Aspect Number of projects Number of dwellings
Residential projects: Planning Assessment 1 32
Residential projects: Approved - -
Residential projects: Registration and Sales 3 446
Residential projects: Under Construction 2 367
TOTAL 6 845

*Residential projects includes mixed-use projects.

Linear route 55 map. Yarra Trams
Tram route 55 Further information
Timetabled weekday peak frequency 4-6 minutes (~10-12 trams per hour)
Timetabled weekday off-peak frequency 12 minutes (5 trams per hour)
Timetabled weekend daytime frequency 12 minutes (5 trams per hour)
Timetabled night-time frequency 20 minutes (3 trams per hour); 30 minutes/2 trams per hour (Sunday nights)
Raised-platform stops?

Limited outside City of Melbourne/Royal Park.

Where do the trams go to sleep? Essendon Depot (Mt. Alexander Road, Ascot Vale)
Primary tram class that operates on the route. B2 (high-floor, articulated) and Z3 (high-floor) - details, see vicsig.net
Annual patronage and rank 6,800,000 trips annually, Melbourne's 12th busiest tram route. Source

Grantham and Dawson Streets

Route 55 exits the City of Melbourne at its northern boundary of Royal Park at, you guessed it, Park Street. A short right of way sends the route uphill to the Brunswick Road and Grantham Street intersection where the route passes through a large regional shopping district and then the tram route turns westward onto Dawson Street.

Route 55 runs on Dawson Street for a short distance, then the road turns north and is renamed Melville Road.

The Union Square Shopping Centre on Grantham Street has a liberal amount of the Residential Growth Zone on both sides of the street, and the shopping centre itself is zoned C1Z. There is currently only one project on the Urban Melbourne Project Database in this area, but we would expect that to change in future, given the proximity to the centre of Melbourne and increased proximity to Sydney Road in this south-west corner of Brunswick West.

Centennial, Brunswick West

Melville Road

From the point where Dawson Street transitions into Melville Road right up until the end of the route at Bell Street, the 55 straddles close to the eastern ridge of Moonee Valley. In many areas, particularly at the southern end of Melville Road, the views to the west cover the ever-increasing height of Moonee Ponds' skyline and beyond.

The General Residential Zone (GRZ1), Residential Growth Zone (RGZ1) and Commercial Zone (C1Z) are liberally applied directly on the properties fronting Melville Road within Brunswick West (as far north as Moreland Road), and the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ1) dominant on streets, one back from the Melville Road corridor.

Albion Street, one of the main thoroughfares to cross Melville Road has seen, and is still seeing, an intense redevelopment of an old textiles factory at the valley's floor, right next to the Tullamarine Freeway and the site is located roughly 500 metres down the hill from route 55.

Likewise, the intersection of Moreland Road and Melville Road sees a liberal application of the Residential Growth Zone with two more projects on our database.

The York, Brunswick West

Bell Street

Route 55 terminates at the end of Melville Road on the intersection with Bell Street and this area, like the Moreland and Melville Road intersection, has a smattering of C1Z, RGZ1 and GRZ1 zoned properties. There is one project on our database located within route 55's terminus catchment.

Future directions

The large amount of medium and high-density development-friendly zones along the route 55 corridor point to the potential for large-scale redevelopment within this south-western corner of the City of Moreland. And this should be front and centre of tram planner's minds.

As the timetable for route 55 shows, it has a very high amount of peak services and generally settles back into a more typical 12 minute frequency in daytime off-peaks, with the route seeing two classes of tram operate on the route: the longer articulated 76-seater B2 class and the older (and smaller) 42-seater Z3 class.

The route 55 may be renamed and have its route altered (at the city end) soon. The community consultation session has now closed, but the information is still up on PTV's website, for the merging of route 55 and the south-eastern end of route 8 to become the 58. This would allow one seat tram journeys from Brunswick West, Flemington Road and the west end of the CBD through to South Yarra and Toorak.

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2 comments

Adam Ford's picture

Are they transitioning this to B2 stock? I still mostly see z3s running this.

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Alastair Taylor's picture

Off-peak / weekends it's B2, the Z3 are brought in to beef up capacity during weekday peaks.

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