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Cheers - AE

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

An old queen comes to Melbourne - UPDATED

Oh, hooray. An elderly queen comes to visit Melbourne today, and no it's the proper one rather than a Priscilla variety so I shall be far too overcome with patriotic pride in the monarchy depressed to blog today. Normal ranting should be resumed late this evening as long as my natural curmudgeonly republicanism doesn't get me strung up with red, white and blue bunting or thown before the Royal Tram. Yes, the Royal Tram. No, I didn't know there was one either, and yes apparently we are supposed to so be ecstatic that a posh and very cashed up octogenarian tourist is going for a tram ride.
Melbourne's custom-designed royal tram has been unveiled on the eve of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh's visit to Melbourne.
Custom designed? Really?
The newly-painted Z-class tram will carry the royal couple from Federation Square, along Swanston Street to Government House Drive tomorrow.
Premier Ted Baillieu said the specially prepared tram would remain in public operation for the next year in honour of the Queen's visit.
So "custom designed" means passing on tarting up one of Melbourne's remaining iconic W-class trams, the ones still running on the routes tourists tend to use because they just look so good, in favour of a circa 1980 built Z class with a new paint job which, since it's going to be used for normal passenger services as soon as she buggers off home, will be otherwise completely unmodified. Have I got that about right? Mind you, the last time I was on a W-class the bloody thing broke down, which is presumably why Oprah Winfrey had her boat race plastered across one of the big, new modern ones.

Anyway, for whatever reason Lizze's got the tram equivalent of shoulderpads and a mullet, albeit with a coat of paint (can't remember who but someone once remarked that the poor old dear probably thinks the whole world smells of fresh paint), but on the upside I'll bet everybody's too chickenshit to ask her to pay a fare. Even if she does I doubt anyone will check her ticket because despite seeing inspectors now and then in more than five years they've never checked mine.

UPDATE - Eating words time.
And like any other passenger the Queen had to pay her way, although her Australian equerry, Commander Andrew Willis, had the job of buying her ticket.
They used a myki - a pre-paid travel card - but it is not known if they chose the two-hour zone-one fare costing $3.80 or opted for the cheaper $2.80 dollar pensioner discount ticket.
Four mounted officers from Victoria Police escorted the royal tram which travelled at walking pace, during the eight minute journey.
Either way it's a bloody good deal. Even if they didn't go for the concession rate that means personal tram hire here comes out to $57 an hour, and that's got to be one of the best value things for visitors to do in Melbou... what? What do you mean it's not for everyone, just royalty?

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