Operated by Swanston Trams Essendon Depot.
Melbourne's tram route 55 starts at the Domain Rd Interchange, which was constructed as a Federal Government Bicentennial Project in 1988 to keep route 55 trams clear of St Kilda Rd services while shunting. The Interchange is situated in reservation in St Kilda Rd and has three tracks - two for St Kilda Rd services and a siding for West Coburg trams on the southern side.
Trams leave the siding and turn left into Park st Sth Melbourne for a short distance before turning right into Kingsway, one of Melbourne's major road outlets serving the southern and south eastern suburbs. Trams continue along Kingsway in open reservation covered in little red pebbles that was supposed to make the ride more comfortable for bus passengers when Kingsway was closed for track relaying outside the Casino. The pebbles didn't, so the buses went along the road where they should have gone in the first place! A small section of concrete sleepered track marks the spot where the entrance tracks to the now closed South Melbourne Depot (tram tours observe a minute's silence whenever they pass here) used to be.
Crossing Sturt St and route 1 to Sth Melb Beach, trams follow Kingsway for a little further and then turn right into Queens Bridge Rd past the Crown Casino and the previously mentioned relayed track, then over the Yarra River via Queens Bridge before arriving in the city at Flinders St ( route 48 to North Balwyn, route 70 to Wattle Park, route 75 to East Burwood and the City Circle tourist tram) underneath the suburban railway viaducts.
Crossing Flinders St, trams travel up Market St and turn left into Flinders Lane before turning right into William St and crossing Collins St ( route 11 to West Preston, route 12 to St Kilda Beach and route 109 between Port Melbourne and Mont Albert), Bourke St ( route 86 to Bundoora RMIT and route 96 between St Kilda Beach and East Brunswick). The connecting curves here provided access from Bourke St to Sth Melbourne depot, closed in 1997, for St Kilda light rail and City Circle services.
Crossing LaTrobe St and routes 23,24,30,34 and the City Circle tourist tram, Flagstaff station and gardens are passed as West Coburg trams pass the little used Dudley St sidings, enter Peel St and pass the Victoria Market. At Victoria St, route 57 to West Maribyrnong is crossed, then trams run in open reservation until Flemington Rd and the junction with route 59 to Airport West is reached on the Western side of a very large roundabout, where route 19 to North Coburg can be seen on the right.
Both routes 55 and 59 share tracks along Flemington Rd past the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Dental Hospital and the Royal Children's Hospital before arriving at Abbotsford St North Melbourne. West Coburg trams turn right here into their own reservation through Royal Park, an enormous parkland area with lots of trees, ovals and other facilities. The 2006 Commonwealth Games hockey and netball stadiums will be built here. The tracks in this reservation have been recently relaid by V/Line and are 41kg rail on concrete sleepers.
Just before the Royal Melbourne Zoo stop, trams cross Elliot Ave, which is a short walk from the main zoo entrance. The track changes from open ballast to mass concrete as trams pass underneath the Upfield railway line and cross the crossover that the Sunday route 65 shuttle from Elizabeth St uses to shunt. This service was previously run by vintage trams (L 104 and L 106, finally Y 469) but they were replaced by Z3 class trams when Metcard was introduced as vintage trams are not fitted with automated ticketing equipment and normal Met fares apply on the service (misguided progress?).
Trams then stop at the Royal Park tram stop, which is a short walk from Royal Park railway station and the other Zoo entrance, and is situated between the Royal Park golf course's 2nd hole tee area and the 9th green. Intending passengers can wait for their tram while observing weekend hackers happily chopping their way around the course, but need to beware of any recalcitrant golf balls overshooting the 9th green. Trams continue on in reservation through the middle of the golf course until arrival at the Brunswick Rd and Grantham St corner where street trackage is regained at the West Brunswick shopping centre.
A left turn into Dawson St and a right into Melville St past the West Brunswick substation takes West Coburg trams through a largely residential area before arrival at the West Coburg terminus at Bell St, a single track terminus with a safety zone complete with seating and shelter. The left hand corner of Melville St is at a forty five degree angle as it was planned at one stage to extend route 55 along Derby St.
55 stops, average travel time 44 minutes day, 37 minutes night.
West Domain Coburg Road
Monday to Friday (route 55)
First tram 5.33 am 6.15 am Last tram 11.23 pm 12.03 am
Saturday (route 55)
First tram 5.33 am 6.15 am Last tram 11.23 pm 12.04 am
Sunday (route 68)
First tram 7.04 am 7.50 am Last tram 11.13 pm 11.35 pm
Monday to Friday
Before AM Peak AM Peak Between Peak PM Peak NightSaturday
5 - 15 min. 5 min. 12 min. 5 min. 20 min.
Before 8 am Daytime Night 12 min. 12 min. 20 min.
Before 10.30 am Daytime Night 30 min. 12 min. 30 min.
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