The government of Victoria in Australia has announced the opening of a new Preston Tram Depot and Workshop for Melbourne’s E-Class trams.
Designed to operate as a maintenance depot for these vehicles, the new facility is the result of an A$190m ($146m) redevelopment of the existing tram depot on St Georges Road.
It is also part of the A$800m ($617m) tram procurement programme funded by the former Labor government.
According to the government, the project was the largest redevelopment ever undertaken of a heritage site while it remained operational in Australia, with Yarra Trams continuing to use it as a heavy maintenance facility throughout construction.
It is reported that the project created around 250 on-site construction jobs, many more in the manufacturing supply chain, and will also support ongoing jobs on the tram network.
The tram procurement programme included the purchase of 50 new E-Class trams and associated infrastructure upgrades and operating costs.
Victoria Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan said: "This brand new home for our biggest trams will support services, skills and jobs, and ensure our tram network grows as Melbourne does.
"E-Class trams are built in Melbourne for Melbourne. They’re the biggest, safest and most accessible trams on the network and every single one of them has been ordered by a Labor government."
The new depot will be capable of housing all 70 of the new E-Class trams the governments have ordered, which will add capacity for more than 15,000 extra passengers.
Yarra Trams will also use the depot for its skills development programme, which includes Australia’s first full-sized tram cabin simulator that provides trainee drivers with driving experience before operating a tram.
Currently, there are 33 E-Class trams operating on the network, on routes 11 and 96, and in November will start running on Route 86.