E-Class tram

Tram Power Upgrade Project

The Victorian Government has invested $1.1 billion for new trams and supporting infrastructure to revitalise Melbourne’s tram network.

This investment includes the purchase of 50 next-generation E-Class trams, upgrades to Route 96 (the first route to receive the new trams), the redevelopment of two tram depots, accessibility improvements and power supply upgrades. The introduction of the E-Class trams onto Route 96 also means that other larger trams currently running on this route can move to other busy routes, as part of a cascading program.

These changes across the network will significantly increase the overall energy consumption for the tram network. The current power supply infrastructure is unable to cater for this increase.

To continue the optimal performance of the tram network, new power substations will be required at key locations around the Melbourne network.

Project description

The Tram Power Upgrade Project will include:

  • the construction of 14 new substations at key locations around Melbourne;
  • the upgrade of two existing substations;
  • installation of new overhead and underground feeder cables; and
  • installation of associated power infrastructure.

Why do we need more power for the tram network?

Melbourne’s trams run on electricity. Electrical substations around the network convert the power supplied from utility providers to the required tram power supply. Substations then distribute this converted supply to the network’s overhead wire system. A metal structure on the roof of the tram, called a pantograph, connects to the overhead wires to feed power to the tram.

A power system study was undertaken to help identify current and future power needs and potential issues across the tram network. The study took into account the planned upgrades including the introduction of the E-Class trams.

The study found that the network requires additional power to operate the large, powerful trams and meet the future requirements of the network. To ensure there are no ‘power gaps’ around the network, which would result in trams losing power, we need new substations in strategic locations.

More information

For more information about the Tram Power Upgrade Project visit the Yarra Trams website