Southbank Tram Depot is set to receive a $24 million upgrade in a venture that will create more than 50 jobs and will help prepare the network for the arrival of 50 new low-floor trams.
Premier Ted Baillieu said the Coalition Government was investing $24 million in upgrading Southbank Depot to get it ready for the 50 new low-floor trams that have been ordered.
"Approximately 50 jobs will be created during construction, and an extra 15 permanent full time maintenance and engineering staff will be employed by Yarra Trams to work at the depot following the works," Mr Baillieu said.
Transport Minister Terry Mulder said this upgraded depot would provide additional infrastructure facilities. It is integral to the future maintenance capacity required to service the current fleet and the 50 new low-floor trams on order from Bombardier.
"The depot works will be complete in time for the arrival of the first of the new low-floor trams on the network later this year," Mr Mulder said.
The $24 million works include:
- expansion and improvements to the workshop area to increase capacity to carry out maintenance works to all types of trams in the fleet and increased room for stabling;
- installation of an underfloor wheel lathe used to carry out essential wheel maintenance on the fleet and improve passenger comfort through a smoother ride and a reduction in wheel noise;
- construction of additional maintenance pits and work platforms and gantry cranes;
- construction of a mezzanine office area, workshops and storerooms;
- installation of an automatic wheel measuring station which automates the measuring of tram wheels; and
- installation of a 60,000 litre underground water tank to capture stormwater for use in the new tram wash facility.
Mr Baillieu said local manufacturer Bombardier was building the 50 new E class low-floor trams at Dandenong and sourcing components from local manufacturers.
"The new trams will each be able to carry more than 200 passengers and will improve accessibility for passengers," Mr Baillieu said.
"The new trams will have a low floor to provide easier access at tram stops, and slip-resistant floors and air-conditioning to improve passenger comfort and safety."
Mr Mulder said the new tram design followed a consultation process that involved tram drivers, elderly passengers, and passengers with a disability, including passengers who use scooters, wheelchairs, and those with low vision.
"The Coalition Government is focused on getting the basics of our public transport network right, which is why we're investing $800 million in tram network improvements," Mr Mulder said.
Other tram network improvements will include additional platform stops, power upgrades and tram stabling and maintenance facilities.
"Melbourne's tram network is the world's largest, with about 182 million passenger trips now made on our trams each year. We are committed to upgrading both the network and trams to improve accessibility,'' Mr Mulder said.
Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd had been awarded the works contract to upgrade maintenance facilities at the Southbank Depot which would start on 30 January.
The upgrade of the maintenance facilities at Southbank will provide complementary servicing facilities to the upgraded Preston Workshop. Until Preston Depot is developed, Southbank Depot will service and maintain up to 20 of the low-floor trams being built by Bombardier.