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Melbourne tram route 48 is operated by Yarra Trams on the Melbourne tram network. It operates from Balwyn North to Victoria Harbour Docklands. The 13.5 kilometre route is operated by A and C class trams from Kew depot.[1][2]

Route 48
Balwyn NorthVictoria Harbour Docklands
Icon for route 48.
C 3012 at North Balwyn terminus.
SystemMelbourne tramway network
OperatorYarra Trams
VehicleA class
C class
Began service11 December 1938
Length13.5 km (8.4 mi)
TimetableRoute 48 timetable
MapRoute 48 map
← Route 35  {{{system_nav}}}  Route 57 →


Route 48 was first allocated to the line between North Balwyn and the City on 11 December 1938 with the opening of the North Balwyn extension. Prior to that point, services on the East Kew line were largely provided by route 40, which ran from East Kew (Bulleen Road) to the City.[3] Trams traditionally would usually terminate in the Lonsdale Street terminus on Spencer Street, but peak hour congestion at the terminus often meant that trams would often run through to La Trobe Street, or would truncate at the corner of Flinders and Spencer Streets.[3] After the construction of a siding north of La Trobe Street, route 48 trams were extended to terminate there. However, it proved to be difficult for the siding to handle peak hour congestion along with route 75, so route 48 was amended to terminate at Flinders Street West from 17 February 2002.[4] The line was extended to Harbour Esplanade Docklands on 4 April 2003. On 4 January 2005, route 48 was extended to Waterfront City along Harbour Esplanade and Docklands Drive, with the opening of the Docklands Drive tram extension.[5] On 20 September 2009, route 48 was altered to run via Collins Street in lieu of Flinders Street, terminating at Victoria Harbour Docklands.[6][7][8][4]

The origins of route 48 lie in separate lines. The section between Flinders Street (near Stop 9) and Hawthorn Bridge (Stop 23) dates back to Melbourne's first cable tram line to Richmond, which opened on 11 November 1885. It was electrified in stages, finally commencing electric operations on 4 December 1927. The section between Southern Cross Station (Stop 1) and Spring Street (Stop 8) opened on 2 October 1886 as the North Fitzroy line. It was electrified on 21 November 1929. These two lines are connected by a line that was built along Spring Street on 10 November 1993 as part of the City Circle tram line works. The section between Barkers Road (Stop 29) and Cotham Road (Stop 33) was built by the Prahran & Malvern Tramway Trust on 24 February 1915. The track between Cotham Road and Kew Cemetery (Stop 37) opened later that year on 8 May, and then extended to Harp Road (Stop 39) on 26 November. The MMTB opened Church Street line between Barkers Road and Hawthorn Bridge on 7 July 1923. An extension from Harp Road to Burke Road (Stop 45) opened on 11 January 1925. The line between Burke Road and Bulleen Road (Stop 47) opened on 13 June 1937, and the rest of the line to North Balwyn opened on 11 December 1938.

On 18 November 2002, a tram line was constructed to Collins Street West along the Collins Street extension. However, from 28 June 2004 until 21 November 2005, the line was truncated back to Spencer Street while Southern Cross railway station was redeveloped. It was extended further along the Collins Street extension to Victoria Harbour Docklands on 21 September 2009. It was extended a further 450 metres west to the corner of Collins and Bourke Streets from 26 January 2014, which is today's Victoria Harbour terminus.

Proposed extensionEdit

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) and Cities of Boroondara and Manningham have been lobbying for an extension of route 48 to Westfield Doncaster.[9][10][11] It would require approximately 4.5 km of extra track, serving Greythorn Village and the Doncaster Park and Ride facility before terminating near Westfield Doncaster. The PTUA has also pointed out the future potential for the line to be extended further along Doncaster Road to Doncaster East and Donvale.

Proponents have argued that it could serve as a cheaper, quicker and more efficient alternative to the long-proposed Doncaster railway line. However, supporters of the railway state that the tram already takes 50 minutes from one terminus to the other in the off-peak, and that the tram would take well over an hour to reach the city from Doncaster. It is therefore considered as a separate project to the heavy railway, that would serve a local access purpose.

In the lead up to the 2006 state election, the Ted Baillieu opposition promised the extension by July 2010, pricing it at $35 million.[12][13] It was stated that there would have been about 2 accessible stops every kilometre, similar to the recent Box Hill tram extension. However the government was returned and the Baileu government did not commit to it in the 2010 election.

The City of Manningham commissioned a $60,000 study in 2007[14] to investigate the potential for the new line, arguing it was a needed alternative to overcrowded buses.

Melbourne tram route 48 evolution
Dates Route Notes
11 December 1938 – 2 September 2001 North Balwyn to City (La Trobe/Spencer Street) via Bridge Road and Flinders Street
3 September 2001 – 3 January 2005 North Balwyn to City (Spencer/Flinders Street) via Bridge Road and Flinders Street
4 January 2005 – 19 September 2009 North Balwyn to Waterfront City Docklands via Bridge Road and Flinders Street
20 September 2009 – Present North Balwyn to Victoria Harbour Docklands via Bridge Road and Collins Street


Route 48
Balwyn North - Victoria Harbour
via Kew, Richmond & City
Free tram zone covers stops D18 to 8, fare zone 1 applies from stop 9 to 51
Balwyn North
Balwyn Road
Hill Road
Cityview Road
Sunburst Avenue
North Balwyn Shopping Centre
Wattle Avenue
Burke Road
High Street
Kilby Road
Kew East
High Street
Kew High School
Irymple Avenue
Clyde Street
Harp Village
Harp Road
  302, 304, 624
Victoria Park
High Street
Kew Cemetery
Parkhill Road
Cobden Street
Pakington Street
Cotham Road
Tram 109
Box Hill 
Cotham Road
Kew Junction
  200, 207
Stevenson Street
Kew tram depot
High Street
Barkers Road
Barkers Road
Tram 109
Church Street
Barkers Road
Brook Street
Grattan Street
Burwood Road
Tram 75
Hawthorn Bridge
Yarra Boulevard
Burnley Street
Coppin Street
Richmond Town Hall
Church Street
Church Street
Tram 78
Bosisto Street
Epworth Hospital
Wellington Parade
Punt Road
Wellington Parade Siding
East Melbourne
Wellington Parade
Simpson Street
Jolimont station
Jolimont Road
Lansdowne Street
Flinders Street
Tram 75, City Circle
Macarthur Street
Tram 11, 12, 109
Spring Street
City Circle tram
  Parliament station
Spring Street
101 Collins Street
Swanston Street
Tram 1, 3, 5, 6, 16, 64, 67, 72
Town Hall
  1, 3, 5, 6, 16, 64, 67, 72
Elizabeth Street
Tram 19, 57, 59
Elizabeth Street
William Street
Williams Street
Tram 58
Southern Cross station
Spencer Street
Tram 12, 96, 109
  Southern Cross station
Southern Cross station
  232, 235, 237
Batman's Hill
Harbour Esplanade
Harbour Esplanade
Tram 70, 75, City Circle
Collins Landing
Victoria Harbour
Victoria Harbour
Note: Green denotes free tram zone


  1. ^ Facts & figures Yarra Trams
  2. ^ Route 48 Yarra Trams
  3. ^ a b "Gunzel". Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  4. ^ a b History of Melbourne Trams Routes from 1950 to 2009 Yarra Trams
  5. ^ Docklands Drive Tram Extension Now In Service Yarra Trams 4 January 2005
  6. ^ Spring into Collins on Route 48 Yarra Trams 21 September 2009
  7. ^ Changes to Routes 48 & 70 from Sunday 20 September 2009 Yarra Trams
  8. ^ "Melbourne – Collins Street trams reach Victoria Harbour" Trolley Wire issue 319 November 2009 page 13
  9. ^ "Submission to Infrastructure Australia on Victoria's transport infrastructure priorities" (PDF), Public Transport Users Association, p. 8, retrieved 2011-11-03
  10. ^ "Destination: Doncaster" (PDF), Public Transport Users Association, retrieved 2011-11-03
  11. ^ "Mayor pushes Balwyn tram extension". Boroondara Review Local. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  12. ^ "A Liberal government plan to improve Public Transport" (PDF). Victorian Liberal Party. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  13. ^ Warner, Michael (9 November 2006). "$35m line on trams". Herald Sun. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  14. ^ Stephen Moynihan (16 July 2007). "Councils plead to fill gaps in transport network". The Age. Archived from the original on 18 June 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)

External linksEdit