A transport suggestion for St Kilda

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By John Kerrens

In recent times there has been a considerable amount of discussion/hair-tearing over St Kilda’s public transport future. One potential solution that does not appear to have been canvassed is the reintroduction of trams along the old Railway Tram line that, up until the late 1950s, ran from St Kilda station, through to Elwood and all the way to Brighton Beach. The Tramline was closed down and replaced by buses in 1959. (Interestingly, the rails themselves weren’t originally removed but simply paved over by asphalt. After a few years, lengths of disused tramtrack would stick out of the asphalt all around Elwood/StK, giving a reminder of what was lost).

The #96 Light Rail could be diverted at St Kilda station onto Grey St – instead of the current route along Fitzroy St. As with the old Railway Tram, it could then continue down Barkly, Mitford, Broadway, Ormond Rd and along St Kilda Street as far as the Middle Brighton beach. This would give the many residents of Elwood, in particular, easier access to the shops, cafes and restaurants of St Kilda. Currently, the main transport access that the people of Elwood have to StK, is the Barkly Street, Clifton Hill bus and another, less regular bus line. Elwood is poorly served for public transport – especially considering it is quite a heavily populated district with many apartments etc. This wasn’t always the case; the neighbourhood having been well served by trams – not only the aforementioned Railway Tram, but also the Point Ormond line along Glenhuntly Road, to Elsternwick station. There was also the existing Carnegie line along Brighton Rd, which is now #67; back then known as the #4 route.

Standard diesel buses somehow just don’t have the same “solidity” as Trams which tend to have more “street credibility” in the minds of many transport users.

Alternatively, the #96 could run down as far as Glenhuntly Rd, then turn left and continue on to the Elsternwick Station interchange, terminating there instead of continuing all the way to Brighton.

See below a map of the old routes in Elwood/St Kilda. A modern update could well be a solution for our current transport woes.

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