Imagine a bad road situation where all trams on the same route are stuck because of a jam ahead of them. When it clears up, if they go at their usual speed, they will all stay together until the end of the day. That is not desirable for commuters, as it would mean all trams will arrive at each station over the course of a few minutes, and with a huge delay for every stop. But somehow that doesn't actually happen. How do trams drivers solve this problem?

I understand that buses have more freedom on the road as they're able to pass each other and possibly catch up to their initial schedule, but trams are all on the same rail and can't do that. One possible solution would be to simply let each tram wait until their route schedule repeats (up to an hour or so), but that would still cause a very long delay.

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    It does in fact happen with busses too. But there is no need for the situation to last for a whole day, there is typically some time buffer at some stage (i.e. end of the line). – Relaxed Apr 22 '15 at 8:30
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about transport and not travel. – DJClayworth Apr 22 '15 at 13:41

Lived in Melbourne, Australia for a year, lots of trams there.

You'll frequently hear the driver announce 'we're just holding here for a bit for spacing' or 'to meet our schedule'. So it's entirely possible for them to pause and widen the gaps, and so on.

For example, the 109 ends in Port Melbourne at a 'dead end' (ie no turnaround). At that point they can queue up, sure, and then one can just take the other's position and scoot off down the track, and the rest can adjust accordingly. Worst case they can skip a slot if it makes more sense to fix the schedule faster.

But when one breaks down and you're in tram number six or seven in the line, sometimes you do wish for buses, who can just drive around the 'dead' one ;)

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