Route 96 - World Top 10 Tram Ride
Melbourne's route 96 tram has been named in National Geographic's "Journeys of a Lifetime" coffee table book as one of the planet's top 10 "trolley car" rides.
Journeys of a Lifetime also features 22 fun Top 10 lists in all sorts of categories. What are the world's top 10 elevator rides, bridges to walk across, trolley rides, ancient highways, or underground walking adventures?
A timely resource for the burgeoning ranks of active travelers who crave adventurous and far-flung trips, Journeys of a Lifetime provides scores of creative ideas: trekking the heights of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania... mountain biking in Transylvania... driving through the scenic highlands of Scotland... or rolling through the outback on Australia's famous Ghan train... and dozens of other intriguing options all over the world.
Tram 96 travels tracks to glory
IT MIGHT have just been named one of the world's top 10 tram rides, but that wasn't impressing passengers aboard the number 96 tram between St Kilda and East Brunswick yesterday.
"It gets that packed after five you can't get a seat - sometimes you can't even stand it's that packed," said Ian Bowman from Sunbury, en route to Southern Cross Station.
But if you made it on board before 5pm, it was a great journey, he said.
Few would realise how great in the eyes of outsiders: Melbourne's route 96 tram has been named in National Geographic's new Journeys of a Lifetime coffee table book, which lists the world's top 500 journeys.
Among the planet's top 10 "trolley car" rides is Melbourne's route 96.
It is a distinction shared with routes as far-flung as Hong Kong, Budapest and San Francisco. Seattle's waterfront service, run with some of Melbourne's old W-class trams, also made the list.
The route 96 tram is Melbourne's busiest, with 35,000 passengers a day. At peak times, 19 trams work the 14-kilometre route, which takes 50 minutes to travel from East Brunswick through Carlton and the CBD and then past Albert Park before finishing at Acland Street in St Kilda.
The 96 once terminated at the corner of Bourke and Spencer streets, but took over the old St Kilda train line after it closed in 1988.
Back then, Beverley Grant from Middle Park, who spoke to The Age as she waited for her tram, thought the Cain Government's move to replace the train with a tram was a con.
"We all thought we were losing our beloved rail line," she said.
But two decades later, all had turned out well: "Now it's such an interesting line. You have the sophisticated working people, the young people with their radios in their ears. Then you have the backpackers going to St Kilda, hauling their huge packs. And then there's still some of the down-and-outs from the old St Kilda."
The Public Transport Users Association welcomed the listing. "Trams are the envy not only of other cities, but also of middle and outer-suburban Melburnians, many of whom wish they had public transport half as good," president Daniel Bowen said.
But like many Melbourne tram routes, the 96 was overcrowded and could be faster, he said. More needed to be done to make sure trams had traffic light priority at all intersections.
This would cut journey times between 20% and 50%, a PTUA study found last year.
Reference: The Age
Date: Saturday 8th of March 2008
Journeys of A Lifetime
No one knows the world like National Geographic-and in this lavish volume, we reveal our picks for the world's most fabulous journeys, along with helpful information for readers who want to try them out.
Compiled from the favorite trips of National Geographic's travel writers, Journeys of a Lifetime spans the globe to highlight the best of the world's most famous and lesser known sojourns. It presents an incredible diversity of possibilities, from ocean cruises around Antarctica to horse treks in the Andes. Every continent and every possible form of transport is covered.
❊ Web Links ❊
→ Route 96 - World Top 10 Tram Ride
→ Tram 96 travels tracks to glory - theage.com.au
→ Journeys of A Lifetime - nationalgeographic.com
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