Most mornings I walk past the number 78 tram as it stands at the end of the line waiting to trundle off toward Chapel Street. The stop isn’t far from where I’ve been staying and the faded green and yellow colored 78 is one of the few remaining W-class trams still in regular operation in Melbourne. Inside the fixtures and fittings are made of brass and wood and the pull chord to request the next stop is made of some kind of rope. It’s unsophisticated and somewhat antiquated, but of all the trams winding their way around Melbourne, those old ones on that particularly colourful route, are my favourite.
Melbourne has a fairly comprehensive tram system that I’ve become very familiar with in the time I’ve been here. And unlike a lot of trains or subways, the trams here feel a little friendlier and social with strangers often engaged in chatter between the various stops. My friend Leia assures me you couldn’t start a conversation on the Paris Metro anywhere as easily as you can on a Melbourne tram, and I know from my own experience that the London Tube is a place you’re very much alone in a crowd.
I would be remiss if I didn’t then feature Melbourne’s trams in at least one picture while I am here. For days I’ve taken the same picture of the 78 at the end of Church Street in Richmond, but each day that picture has been set aside to make way for one that I thought was better.
Today though, while it’s not the 78, I’ve chosen a picture of one of those wonderful old trams. The 30 is waiting at the end of that particular line, about to make its way back into the city as the 109 passes on its way to Box Hill. Even looking at this picture evokes that now familiar trundling sound in my mind.