Yarra Trams recognised at global awards 

Melbourne’s Yarra Trams and its operator Keolis Downer have been highly commended for the “Vision of the Year” award at the Global Light Rail Awards ceremony in London.  

Yarra Trams and Keolis Downer were recognised for their innovative and ambitious network transformation roadmap, which was developed in collaboration with the Victorian Department of Transport. 

Keolis Downer has been managing the Yarra Trams network since taking over in November 2009. Keolis Downer’s guiding principle is to ‘Think like a passenger’ and is focussed on delivering safe, reliable, clean, and easy-to-use services, while increasing the environmental, social, and economic contribution that Melbourne’s tram network makes to the city. 

A highlight of the light rail industry’s calendar, the Global Light Rail Awards recognise ground-breaking new technologies, inspiring collaborative working, and companies going above and beyond to ensure the safety of passengers while maintaining a reliable service. 

The Vision of the Year category was focused on identifying out the best emerging ideas in the urban transportation sector and was open to both ideas that have been implemented recently, as well as those that show potential and are looking for recognition in the future. 

Victorian Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll said Melbourne’s historic and iconic tram network will play an intrinsic role in the Victorian Government’s strategy to deliver simple, connected, accessible, reliable and safe public transport for Victorians. 

“As we strive to deliver the best tram network in the world, the international expertise provided by Keolis Downer Rail has been invaluable, particularly in relation to improving passenger experience,” he said. 

“We value the close collaboration with KDR on how to respond to COVID from a public transport perspective, and the partnership has provided global insights on our strategy to transform the tram network.” 

Yarra Trams’ Chief Executive Julien Dehornoy said the award recognises the hard work of the teams at Yarra Trams and the quality of its partnership with the Department of Transport, as “we increase reliability, access and passenger comfort alongside journey times as Melbourne continues to grow”. 

“Trams are central to Melbourne’s identity, but they are more than just an iconic association with this city. They are the work horses of our public transport network, moving more than 200 million passengers around our city every year,” he said. 

“This award reinforces our vision that Keolis Downer is more than just an operator – we are true long-term partners for Victoria, and we are committed to improving and investing in the tram network so it can be enjoyed by Melburnians for decades to come.” 

Melbourne has the largest tram network in the world, with more than 2700 employees and 500 trams serving 24 routes, 250 km of double track, and more than 200 million passengers per year (pre-COVID). It has been operating since 1885 and more than 90 per cent of the current network was built prior to 1940. 

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