After seeing the first E class trams out in revenue service (I haven't been on one yet) and noticing A) how bad the condition of some of the Z1/Z2s are and B) how crowded some of the Z3 and A routes have become, I have been thinking wouldn't it be great if additional orders were placed in a few years time. My understanding is that an option exists for 100 additional trams beyond the 50 ordered but even if half of them were to be ordered there isn't the space for them and further depot expansions would be needed, even with retirements of older types.
I vaguely remember that the Brumby Labor government had originally planned for a solid order of 100 trams...until they realised they didnt have the depot space for them and so they went about ordering 50 and expanding Southbank.
If another 50 were ordered for delivery post 2017, where would they go? Where would YT logically try to find space? If the full option for another 50 again was taken up, what would happen then?
For that matter with the D2s slated for the 19, where is Brunswick going to find the space?
I looked up a thread from 2010 that had some discussion on this, but it was before the E order was placed and it was just prior to the Southbank extension. None of the other proposals in that thread have come about...
Of the existing depots, the only one that seems to have any decent space for expansion is Brunswick, which has space parallel to the Upfield line. Possibly North Fitzroy could give up its bus space.
To me (and this was discussed in the thread I dug up, though I did come to the same conclusion before I found the thread) a large depot at Docklands Drive near the Docklands film studios makes the most sense. The 35, 70 and 86 already terminate there, the 24, 30 and 75 terminate close by and could be made to do so with appropriate capacity upgrades at the terminus.
And to float another idea...why not join the 78/79 with the 30/31? It would make all 4 routes more useful (as an aside, why not just do this now?) and the 78/79 would be able to also run out of this new depot!
There would be scope for closure of old depots (on prime established suburban land). You could probably close East Preston depot as an example if you moved 112 operations to the Preston Workshops (which is I believe the plan).
Anyway, what do people think?