Operated by Yarra Trams Southbank Depot
Melbourne's tram route 96 starts at the corner of Acland and Barkly Sts St Kilda, where the terminus is single track with seating on the footpath next to the terminus. Route 96 shares track with route 16 to Melbourne University.
Trams travel through the Acland St shopping centre with its large variety of food stores until a left turn is made into the Esplanade, where the terminus of route 69 to Kew - Cotham Rd can be seen to the right in a large roundabout. A double track connection serves the two routes. Continuing along the Esplanade, where a Sunday market features goodies for sale that have been made by the stall holders - look out for the tram paintings!- trams pass the Esplanade Hotel and turn into Fitzroy St with its cosmopolitan restaurants and bars, some open 24 hours a day.
At Grey St, trams go through a roundabout where the tram line splits - route 16 going straight ahead towards St Kilda Junction and route 96 trams turning left onto the light rail line, pausing at St Kilda station which has been restored after fire damage and hosts the Victory Cafe and a furniture store. With Canterbury Rd on the left, trams head towards the City passing new town houses on the right and then Albert Park, home of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix. The pit area, used for indoor sports when the GP isn't on, can be seen to the right over some rugby fields and part of the racetrack as trams pass the Fraser St and Middle Park stops (a crossover was installed in 1996 at Middle Park to shunt the Grand Prix Express from Spencer St - route 96 is replaced by buses on GP weekend) then cross a bridge over route 12 to St Kilda just before the Albert Park stop, where the original station platforms and buildings are being converted to a plant nursery. At South Melbourne stop, afetr passing under route 1 between South Melbourne Beach and East Coburg, the original station is being converted to a child care centre, and a set of stairs has been constructed to enable passengers to leave the low level light rail platforms for the South Melbourne Market.
Travelling past the remnants of a railway signal, route 96 trams pass the City Rd stop and join route 109 at Port Junction next to Whiteman St, where trams from Port Melbourne join from the left, then turn left into Clarendon St past the restored tea House, Crown Casino and the Exhibition Buildings (Jeff's Shed), joining route 12 from St Kilda. The restored Polly Woodside can be seen on the left as trams cross the Yarra River over the Spencer St Bridge, where the tram line goes into a reservation that contains a shunt to enable trams to reverse, go back over the bridge and down the Port Melbourne light rail line to Southbank Depot. Most of these moves for route 96 are timetabled, it would be a lot quicker and easier to use the shunt in the Whiteman St reservation to get to the depot.
Trams now enter the City proper at the Flinders and Spencer Sts corner, where route 70 to Wattle Park is crossed and routes 48 to North Balwyn, 75 to East Burwood and the City Circle tourist tram join. At Collins St, route 109 turns right on its way to Mont Albert, and route 96 turns right at Bourke St, sharing with route 86 to Bundoora RMIT.
Travelling up Bourke St, trams cross route 55 to West Coburg at William St,, northern and western suburbs tram routes at Elizabeth St as trams enter the Bourke St Mall, crossing St Kilda Rd services at Swanston St. The mall finishes at Russell St as trams arrive at Spring St opposite Parliament House, where they turn left and rejoin the City Circle along Nicholson St, passing Parliament underground station, and arriving at Victoria Pde opposite St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne's foremost teaching hospital. The junction here is a 3/4 Grand Union, City Circle trams turning left, routes 86 and 96 going straight ahead, and curves from west to north provided for rerouting routes 86 and 96 into LaTrobe St if necessary. A set of east to south curves is also provided for emergency use, and routes 23, 24, 30 and 34 use the other straight section along Victoria Parade.
At Gertrude St opposite the original Exhibition Buildings which have been converted to house the Museum of Victoria and the IMAX Theatre, route 86 turns right on its way to Bundoora and East Brunswick trams stay in Nicholson St which is a mixed area of retail, residential and light industry, passing the former North Fitzroy Depot, now leased by a private tram enthusiast, at Park St before terminating at Blyth St East Brunswick, where there is a single track terminus, seating and shelter being provided on the footpath adjacent to the terminus.
46 stops, average travel time 51 minutes day, 41 minutes night.
St Kilda East Beach BrunswickMonday to Friday
First tram 5.31 am 5.20 am Last tram 11.45 pm 11.35 pm
First tram 5.30 am 5.20 am Last tram 11.47 pm 11.51 pm
First tram 8.07 am 7.30 am Last tram 11.43 pm 11.34 pm
Monday to Friday
Before AM Peak AM PEAK Between Peak PM Peak Night 15 - 20 min. 7 min. 8 - 12 min. 7 min. 20 min.
Before 8 am Daytime Night 12 - 15 min. 12 min. 20 min.
Before 10 am Daytime Night 30 min. 12 min. 30 min.
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