Copyright © 2015, 2020 Don Storey.  All rights reserved.




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MELBOURNE ELECTRIC

TRAMWAYS GUNZEL NOTES

 

A TIME-LINE HISTORY OF THE

MELBOURNE ELECTRIC TRAMWAYS

 

DON STOREY

 

© COPYRIGHT 2015, 2020 All rights reserved.

 

 

 

      This pile of drivel provides a detailed account of the establishment and development of Melbourne's electric tramway system, with the various items listed chronologically. The original intention of these notes was just that - notes to record a basic history of Melbourne's tramways. It has since grown into this expanded and perhaps prosaic pile of hard-core gunzel gibberish. This is not a literary record of the definitive history of Melbourne's tramways; rather, it is an attempt to provide information enough to give a good understanding of the development of the system. The dynamics behind the management, and sometimes mismanagement, that shaped the system is not delved into in any great detail - simply, developments are listed as they happened. It is hoped that this information will fill a gap, and perhaps provide a starting point for an exhaustive history to be chronicled in the future.

 

      Opening and closing dates of the horse and cable tramways are included to provide an overview of tramway development. Information on the Box Hill - Doncaster electric tramway is not included, other than opening and closing dates, as this line had no bearing on the development of the tramway system, and the subject is already well covered in Robert Green's book ‘The First Electric Road’. Details of timetables, uniforms, tickets and fares, and other minutia has been considered best left for other suitably inclined gunzels to write about.

 

      Rolling stock details are included, however for an in-depth treatment readers are referred to ‘Destination City’ by Norm Cross and Keith Kings. Trams that have been disposed of are noted as such or as scrapped, even though some may still exist, complete or incomplete. A number of trams have been preserved by various gunzel groups for historical or commercial reasons - some are operational, others are not; some are faithfully restored, others are modified and/or painted in silly colours, some are later disposed of and lose their 'preserved' status. Tram preservation, or what happens to any tram after disposal, is beyond the scope of this work, therefore mention is made only of those preserved trams that have been stored and/or operated on the system.

 

      For ease of reference, the various Trusts, the North Melbourne Electric Tramway & Lighting Company and the Victorian Railways trams have their own headings throughout the text.

 

      Track maps are included, which show all major changes to the tram network. They should be referred to in conjunction with the text to clarify any points, and to provide an overview of the tramway system.

 

      Some of the preliminary research herein was utilised in a volume entitled ‘Time-Line History Of Melbourne’s Government Cable And Electric Trams And Buses’, compiled by Barry George. However, this is a completely different work and no direct comparison should be made between the two.

 

      As with any work of this nature, there is always a possibility of errors and omissions. The information presented herein is not complete - some installation dates for special work, etc, have proved difficult to ascertain. What is presented here are the fruits of research to date. The splitting of the tramways into two separate groups on October 1, 1997 is taken as a convenient point to end this drivel.

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

       This work would not have been possible without the assistance of Anthony Sell, Jeff Bounds and Norm Cross who provided access to much archival material; and Dean Filgate, Clive Gibson, Geoff Warburton and Michael Norbury who shared some of the fruits of their own research.

      Many sources were utilised to compile the information herein, however, as the original intention was to make notes and not to 'write a book', no detailed reference to individual sources was recorded. Information came mostly from MMTB / PTC records, but also from contemporary news reports and articles in gunzel magazines (Electric Traction, Trolley Wire and Running Journal), an unpublished expanded manuscript of 'The Brighton Electric Line' by Leon Marshall-Wood, 'Destination City' by Norm Cross and Keith Kings, and from personal observations.

 

Don Storey,

December 2015

 

CONTENTS

 

TRAM TIMELINE

Details of the development of the Melbourne tramway system arranged in chronological order.

 

APPENDICES

Hard-core gunzel stuff:

 

Appendix 1 - Route numbers  

Appendix 2 - Depot allocation of trams 
March 1928, June 1928, 1934, 1938, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, Jan 1977, July 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1986,
1987, 1988, 1991, Jan 1997, July 1997.

Appendix 3 - Trams sold for operation in provincial cities 

Appendix 4 - MMTB passenger tram numerical roster 



Appendix 5 - Destination signs 

 

Appendix 6 - Track Maps 
1907   1911   1914   1917   1920   1923   1925   1926   1928   1931   1939   1948   1956   1967   1980   1996   PRESTON WORKSHOPS

 


 

 

 

TRAM TIMELINE

 

 1884.

 

DEC 20     Fairfield horse tramway opened, running from Fairfield Station via Station Street to Mansfield Street, Thornbury. The line was operated by a land development company. (Some sources give the opening date as Jan 10, 1885).

 

 1885.

 

NOV 11     The Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company (MT&OCo) opened the first cable car line from the City to Richmond. Commencing at Bourke Street, the line ran via Spencer Street, Flinders Street, Wellington Parade and Bridge Road, terminating at Hawthorn Bridge. (The MT&OCo operated all subsequent cable lines except the Northcote line, as noted in the text).

 

 1886.

 

OCT 2       The North Fitzroy cable line was opened, running from a City terminus at Spencer Street via Collins Street and Brunswick Street to Barkly Street.

 

NOV 22     The Victoria Street (North Richmond) cable line was opened, branching from the North Fitzroy line at Brunswick Street and running via Victoria Parade and Victoria Street to Victoria Bridge.

 

 1887.

 

AUG 10     Opening of the Clifton Hill cable line, running from the City terminus at Spencer Street via Bourke Street, Nicholson Street, Gertrude Street, Smith Street and Queens Parade.

 

AUG 30     The Nicholson Street cable line was opened, branching from the Clifton Hill line at Gertrude Street and running via Nicholson Street to Park Street, North Fitzroy.

 

OCT 1       The Brunswick cable line was opened, running from a City terminus at Flinders Street via Elizabeth Street, Royal Parade and Sydney Road to Moreland Road.

 

DEC 21     The Collingwood cable line was opened, running from Swanston Street along Lonsdale Street, Russell Street, Lygon Street, Elgin Street and Johnston Street.

 

DEC 28     The Kew horse tramway was opened, running from the Victoria Bridge cable car terminus via Barkers Road and High Street to Kew Cemetery. It was operated by the MT&OCo.

 

 1888.

 

MAY 17    The Sandringham to Cheltenham via Beaumaris horse tramway was opened, operated by the Beaumaris Tramway Company. Commencing from Sandringham Station, the line ran via Beach Road, Tramway Parade, Balcombe Road and Charman Road to a terminus at Cheltenham Station. (Some sources state the opening date as December 1888).

 

OCT 11     The Brighton Road cable line was opened, running from a City terminus at Flinders Street via St Kilda Road, High Street and Brighton Road to Brunning Street (between Chapel and Milton Streets). Three months later, on January 20, 1889, the City end of the line was extended to Queensberry Street via Swanston Street.

 

OCT 26     The Prahran cable line was opened, branching from the Brighton Road line at St Kilda Road and running via Domain Road, Park Street, Toorak Road and Chapel Street, terminating at Carlisle Street.

 

 1889.

 

FEB 9       The North Carlton cable line was opened, branching from the Collingwood line at Elgin Street and running via Rathdowne Street to Park Street.

 

FEB 14     Opening of the Coburg horse tramway, commencing from the Brunswick cable car terminus at Moreland Road and running via Sydney Road to Gaffney Street. It was initially operated by the Northern Tramway Company then by various other operators before being acquired by the Coburg City Council in 1911.

 

FEB 15     The Toorak cable line was opened, branching from the Prahran line at Chapel Street and running via Toorak Road to Irving Street.

 

APRIL      Horse tramways were opened from Elsternwick Station to Glenhuntly Station and to Caulfield Station, operated by the Caulfield Tramway Company. The line to Caulfield Station was closed after a few months.

 

OCT 14     The first electric tramway in Australia - and the Southern Hemisphere - was opened from Box Hill via (present day) Station Street and Tram Road to Doncaster. It was operated by the Box Hill & Doncaster Tramway Company.

 

 1890.

 

JAN 27     The Hawthorn horse tramway was opened from the cable car terminus at Hawthorn Bridge via Burwood Road, Power Street and Riversdale Road to Auburn Road. It was operated by the MT&OCo.

 

FEB 18     The Northcote cable line was opened, from the Clifton Hill cable terminus via High Street to Dundas Street. This line was operated by the Clifton Hill, Northcote and Preston Tramway Company, and it was the only cable line not run by the MT&OCo. It was later taken over by the Northcote City Council.

 

MAR 3      The North Melbourne cable line was opened, branching from the Brunswick line at Elizabeth Street and running via Victoria Street, Errol Street, Queensberry Street, Abbotsford Street and Flemington Road to terminate at Flemington Bridge.

 

MAR 10    The Zoo horse tramway was opened, running via Royal Park from the cable car line at Royal Parade to the Zoo entrance. It was operated by the MT&OCo.

 

APR 18     The West Melbourne cable line was opened, running from Elizabeth Street via Lonsdale Street, Spencer Street and Abbotsford Street to a junction with the North Melbourne line at Queensberry Street.

 

JUNE 17   The South Melbourne cable line was opened, running from the Collins Street line via Market Street, Queensbridge Street, City Road, Clarendon Street, Park Street, Montague Street, Bridport Street and Victoria Avenue to the terminus at Beaconsfield Parade.

 

JUNE 20   The Port Melbourne cable line was opened, branching from the South Melbourne line at City Road and running via Bay Street and Beaconsfield Parade to the terminus near Port Melbourne Station.

 

 1891.

 

JUNE        Operation of the Box Hill to Doncaster electric tramway was suspended.

 

OCT 27     The Windsor to St Kilda Beach cable line was opened, running from Chapel Street via Wellington Street, Fitzroy Street, Esplanade and Acland Street to the terminus at Barkly Street. This was the last new cable route constructed.

 

  ~~~        The Fairfield horse tramway was closed. (It possibly could have closed in 1890 or 1892 - no precise date has been found).

 

 1892.

 

MAR 19    Operation of the Box Hill to Doncaster electric tramway recommenced. The original tramway company had been liquidated, and by October the tramway was taken over by the Doncaster & Box Hill Electric Road Company.

 

 1894.

 

  ~~~        The Elsternwick - Glenhuntly horse tramway was closed.

 

 1896.

 

JAN 6       The Box Hill to Doncaster electric tramway was closed.

 

 1901.

 

  ~~~        The Elsternwick - Glenhuntly horse tramway was re-opened.

 

 1902.

 

  ~~~        The Elsternwick - Glenhuntly horse tramway was again closed.

 

 1904.

 

  ~~~        NMETL  Plans to provide transport to the Essendon district were thwarted by the MT&OCo, which had refused to extend the Flemington Bridge cable car due to the spasmodic traffic they considered would be generated. This led to a proposal by private enterprise to construct electric tramways and also supply electricity as a sideline (the electricity generation required by trams at night would be reduced due to less frequent services, therefore the excess capacity could be utilised to supply domestic electric lighting, thus providing a good return upon the investment).

                          This proposal was vigorously opposed by the Victorian Railways (VR) and the Metropolitan Gas Company; the former feared the tramway would compete with the railway, and the latter were concerned about the effects of electrolysis and loss of revenue as people switched from gas to electric lighting. Following a change of government and a referendum of ratepayers showing majority support for the tramway, a franchise was granted to a private concern, the North Melbourne Electric Tramway & Lighting Company (NMETL), to construct tramways and supply electricity in the Essendon district.

 

 1905.

 

MAY 24    NMETL  Construction of the Essendon electric tramways by the North Melbourne Electric Tramway & Lighting Company commenced.

SEPT       VR  A final Act of Parliament authorised the Victorian Railways to construct a tramway from St Kilda Station to Brighton. The original Act of Parliament on Sept 30, 1904 approved a standard gauge line running from the cable tram terminus at the 'Village Belle' (Acland Street). The later Act amended the line to commence from St Kilda Station, and be built to the railway broad gauge (1600mm [5'3"]), to allow for the possibility of running to Melbourne via the St Kilda railway. (All other electric tramways in Victoria have been built to standard gauge 1435mm [4'8½"]).

                          The Premier, Thomas Bent, who happened to have real estate and electoral interests in the area, guided the Act through Parliament - he was Member for Brighton. When plans for an extension of the St Kilda railway failed, Bent found that by proposing a tramway he could bypass the Parliamentary Standing Committee because the cost was less than £25,000.

 

 1906.

 

MAY 5      VR  The Victorian Railways St Kilda - Brighton 'electric street railway' was opened. It ran from St Kilda Railway Station via Grey Street, Barkly Street, Mitford Street, Broadway, Ormond Road, St Kilda Street and Esplanade to Park Street, Middle Brighton.

                                A three-road depot and power house was built at the corner of St Kilda Street and Head Street, and was named Elwood Depot. The line was single track with four passing loops (Acland Street, Shelley Street, Head Street and Bay Street), and a terminating loop just before the single track terminus. There was a double track dead-end terminal at St Kilda Station.

                                Trams were painted Tuscan red and white, with gold lining, yellow trucks and 'Victorian Railways' in ornate lettering along the sides. Five trams were available at the opening:

                                1 - 5  Five single-truck California combination trams built by J. G. Brill & Co. U.S.A., and assembled at the Victorian Railways Newport Workshops.

 

JUNE        VR  The Acland Street loop on the St Kilda - Brighton line was relocated to Carlisle Street to improve timekeeping.

 

OCT 11     NMETL  The North Melbourne Electric Tramways and Lighting Company opened lines from Flemington Bridge to Keilor Road and Saltwater River.

                                The Keilor Road line ran from the Flemington Bridge terminus (on the north side of the Moonee Ponds Creek, a short distance from the cable car terminus) via Mount Alexander Road, Pascoe Vale Road, Fletcher Street and Mount Alexander Road North to terminate in Essendon at the Keilor Road / Lincoln Road intersection. A branch line was built along Puckle Street from Mount Alexander Road to the Moonee Ponds Railway Station.

                                The Saltwater River line left Mount Alexander Road and ran via Victoria Street, Racecourse Road, Epsom Road, Union Road and Maribyrnong Road to terminate on the west side of Saltwater River (renamed Maribyrnong River in 1913).

                                The Keilor Road line was double track to Moonee Ponds Junction (Puckle Street), then single track to the terminus with five passing loops (just north of Moonee Ponds Junction, Bent Street, Fletcher Street, Napier Street and Brewster Street). Mount Alexander Road North was a divided road with a central plantation, and the track was laid along the western carriageway. A double track terminal was provided at Keilor Road.

                                The Puckle Street branch was single track with a double track terminal and a triangular junction at Mount Alexander Road. Services on the Puckle Street branch operated on race days, connecting the racecourse with the railway station.

                                The Saltwater River line was double track to the corner of Union and Maribyrnong Roads, with three crossovers provided in the vicinity of the Showgrounds. The line was then single track to the terminus with one passing loop and a double track terminal. It crossed the railway at the Showgrounds on the level.

                                A mixture of span wires and centre poles were used for the overhead - centre poles were used in parts of Union Road, Racecourse Road and Mount Alexander Road, and possibly other locations, all being later removed (dates unknown).

                                A six-road depot was built in Mount Alexander Road (which later became roads 13 to 18 of present day Essendon Depot). The depot was accessed by a single turnout to the north connecting with the inbound track, a crossover providing access to the out-bound track.

                                The depot was always called Essendon Depot, so named as the whole NMETL operation was generally known as the 'Essendon Tramways'. The name has been retained to the present day, even though the depot is actually located in Ascot Vale, several kilometres from the suburb of Essendon.

                                Trams were painted Indian red and cream, with yellow lining and white roofs, with 'NMET&LCo' lettering on the sides of saloon cars. Fifteen trams and ten trailers were built for the system:

                                1 - 10  Ten single-truck saloon trams built by J. G. Brill & Co. U.S.A., and assembled by Duncan and Fraser, Adelaide (later MMTB U class 202 - 211).

                                11 - 15 Five single-truck open crossbench (‘toastrack’) trams built by J. G. Brill & Co. U.S.A., and assembled by Duncan and Fraser, Adelaide (later MMTB V class 212 - 216).

                                51 - 60 Ten single-truck open crossbench (‘toastrack’) trailer cars built by Duncan and Fraser, Adelaide.

 

DEC 22     VR  An extension from Middle Brighton via the Esplanade to Brighton Beach Station was opened, built as single track. The Park Street loop was relocated to Wellington Street, and a loop was installed at the terminus. 'Brighton' was retained as the destination sign.

 

 1907.

 

FEB 9       VR  By this time twelve additional trams were in service, making a total of 17:

                                6, 7  Two single-truck California combination trams, the same as Nos. 1 - 5.

                                8, 10  Two single-truck saloon trams built by J. G. Brill & Co. U.S.A., and assembled at the VR Newport Workshops.

                                9  A single-truck saloon trailer car built by J. G. Brill & Co. U.S.A., and assembled at the VR Newport Workshops.

                                11 - 17  Seven single-truck open crossbench (‘toastrack’) trailer cars built by J. G. Brill & Co. U.S.A., and assembled at the VR Newport Workshops. Three further trailers, intended to be numbered 18 - 20, were still under construction.

 

MAR 7      VR  Elwood Depot and the entire tram fleet was completely destroyed by fire, the cause of which was never proven conclusively. An emergency bus service was implemented pending rebuilding of the depot and acquisition of new rolling stock.

 

MAR 17    VR  The St Kilda - Brighton Beach tram service was reinstated after the VR hurriedly acquired some trams.

                                Seven second-hand trams purchased from Sydney, plus the three trailers under construction at Newport Workshops, enabled resumption of the tram service. To allow the service to be reinstated in the shortest possible time, the ex-Sydney trams ran for several months carrying Sydney numbers and livery before being repainted:

                                15 - 17  Three ex-Sydney D class single-truck California combination straight-sill trams (Nos. 98, 101, 110 not respectively) built 1899 by Ritchie Bros. (98, 101) and Clyde Engineering (110) for the New South Wales Government Tramways. They were mounted on broad gauge trucks salvaged from the fire.

                                18 - 21  Four ex-Sydney C class single-truck saloon trams (Nos. 23, 25, 38, 39) built 1899 by Hudson Bros. for the New South Wales Government Tramways. They were also mounted on broad gauge trucks salvaged from the fire.

                                8 - 10  Three trailer cars under construction at Newport Workshops at the time of the fire. They entered service at the end of March.

 

JUNE 20   VR  The rebuilding of Elwood Depot was completed. The tram shed, power house and offices were separated from each other, and the tram shed was reduced from three roads to two. Designated as No. 1 shed, 'escape tracks' were provided by extending the tram lines out the rear of the building. An additional second shed was still under construction.

 

JULY        VR  Eleven new trams were ordered, entering service in June and July:

                                1 - 7  Seven single-truck California combination trams built by VR Newport Workshops. To enable these trams to be available for service as soon as possible, they were temporarily fitted with electrical equipment acquired from Sydney pending arrival of new equipment from overseas.

                                11 - 14  Four more single-truck open crossbench (‘toastrack’) trailer cars built by VR Newport Workshops.

                                As these cars entered service, the ex-Sydney C class trams (Nos. 18 - 21) were converted to trailers. Use of these and the other ex-Sydney trams was kept to a minimum due to their low carrying capacity and high steps.

 

AUG 1      VR  The additional shed was completed at Elwood Depot, designated No. 2 shed. It consisted of three roads, all of which had 'escape tracks' extending out the back of the building. A turntable was provided on the centre road at the rear of the shed for turning trams with uneven flange and/or weather wear. This new shed was used primarily for operations, No. 1 shed being mainly devoted to maintenance work.

 

 1908.

 

JULY 6     PMTT  Following failed attempts to obtain cable car extensions to their suburbs, application was made by the Prahran and Malvern Councils for authority to construct tramways in their district. The Prahran & Malvern Tramways Trust (PMTT) was constituted to build and operate electric tramways in their area. It was later re-constituted to include neighbouring councils as lines expanded. Construction of the tramway commenced on October 20, 1909.

 

 1910.

 

MAY 30    PMTT  The Prahran & Malvern Tramways Trust opened lines from Charles Street Prahran via High Street to Tooronga Road, and from High Street via Glenferrie and Wattletree Roads to Burke Road. Services from Charles Street operated to both branches. The lines were double track with centre poles from Charles Street to Glenferrie and Wattletree Roads, and single track with a passing loop on each line from Glenferrie Road to the terminus. Crossovers were provided at Chapel Street, Orrong Road and west of Glenferrie Road.

                                A six-road depot and workshop was constructed off Glenferrie Road on the south side of Coldblo Road. There was a single track entrance to the depot from a triangular junction at Glenferrie Road, and it was named Malvern Depot (although it was actually in Armadale - Glenferrie Road formed the boundary between the two suburbs).

                                Trams were painted chocolate and cream, with 'Municipal Tramways' lettering on the sides. Thirteen trams were available for the opening:

                                1 - 13  Thirteen single-truck California combination trams built by Duncan & Fraser, Adelaide (later MMTB A class 1 – 13).

 

 1911.

 

MAR 12    PMTT  The Wattletree Road line was duplicated from Glenferrie Road to Burke Road, with a crossover installed on the east side of Glenferrie Road.

 

MAR 14    PMTT  The High Street line was extended west from Charles Street to Punt Road. It was built as double track, the points at Charles Street being removed.

 

MAY         PMTT  A second order of trams, identical to the first thirteen, entered service between January and May:

                                14 - 20  Seven single-truck California combination trams built by Duncan & Fraser, Adelaide (later MMTB A class 14 – 20).

 

DEC 16     PMTT A new line was opened from Wattletree Road via Glenferrie and Dandenong Roads to the railway bridge at Windsor. It was built as double track with crossovers at Orrong Road and south of the railway level crossing in Glenferrie Road. The Dandenong Road track was open ballast construction in a central reservation. Services were provided from the Wattletree Road corner.

 

 1912.

 

JAN          PMTT  New trams:

                                21 - 24  Four maximum-traction, bogie, straight-sill combination trams built by Duncan & Fraser, Adelaide (later MMTB O class 127 - 130). They were referred to by the PMTT as 'Metropolitan' cars.

 

MAR 31    PMTT  The Dandenong Road line was extended a short distance west from the railway bridge to Chapel Street, providing a connection with the Windsor and Prahran cable cars. The extension was double track and the points at the railway bridge were removed.

 

SEP 14     PMTT  The High Street line was extended west from Punt Road to St Kilda Road, connecting with cable cars to the City. It was built as double track and the points at Punt Road were removed.

 

  ~~~        The Cheltenham - Beaumaris section of the Beaumaris horse tramway was closed.

 

                pmtt  Malvern Depot was expanded: the roads were lengthened, a car repair shop was built on the north side of Coldblo Road, and a truck shop was erected at the western end of the depot. An access track to both workshops was built along Coldblo Road.

 

                pmtt  New trams:

                                36 - 37  Two single-truck straight-sill centre-aisle 'summer' trams built by Duncan & Fraser, Adelaide (later MMTB F class 46 - 47). (The numbers 25 - 35 were reserved for trams on order, which were delivered the following year).

 

                VR  Three of the four ex-Sydney C class trailer cars, Nos. 19, 20 and 21 were scrapped. These cars had seen very little use since 1908.

 

 1913.

 

APR 12     PMTT  A double track line was opened from Dandenong Road via Hawthorn Road, Balaclava Road and Carlisle Street to St Kilda Beach, crossing the VR Brighton line at Barkly Street and terminating in a single track on the side of the road at the Esplanade. An interim service was provided pending completion of a new line north along Glenferrie Road in May.

 

MAY 7      VR  The St Kilda - Brighton line was duplicated from Elwood Depot to St Kilda Railway Station, with a connecting track to the railway provided to facilitate tram movements to and from the Newport Railway Workshops. A crossover was installed at Dickens Street, and one trailing and two facing crossovers were provided at the St Kilda Station terminus.

                                The entrances to Elwood Depot were rearranged to connect with the new 'up' line, with slip points provided for access to the 'down' track. Semi-circle curves connected the two southern roads from the rear of No. 2 shed to both roads from the rear of No. 1 shed; however they saw very little use. A crossover was installed behind No. 2 shed.

                                By December three passing loops were added on the single track section between Elwood Depot and Brighton Beach (North Road, Normanby Street and Gould street), to enable a more frequent service to be run in response to increasing demand.

 

MAY 30    PMTT  New lines were opened from Malvern Town Hall (High Street) north along Glenferrie Road to Cotham Road, Kew, where the line branched into two. One line turned left into Cotham Road to terminate at the Kew Post Office (High Street), the other turned right along Cotham Road to terminate at Burke Road, Deepdene.

                                The lines were built as double track throughout, with level crossings over the railways at Kooyong and Glenferrie. Crossovers were installed in Glenferrie Road at Malvern Town Hall, Riversdale Road, Glenferrie Railway Station and Cotham Road. A triangular double track junction was provided at Cotham Road, and connecting curves were installed at Malvern Town Hall on the north-west corner (double track) and the south-east corner (single track), in addition to the existing curves on the south-west corner.

                                Services were provided through to St Kilda Beach (via the new Balaclava Road line) from both the Kew Post Office and Deepdene termini.

 

JULY        VR  New trams:

                                19 - 27  Nine single-truck closed crossbench ‘toastrack’ trams, the first of which entered service in May. The VR Newport Workshops built the first tram, the remainder were built by Pengelley & Co., Adelaide. These trams were based on the Sydney J class design, and caused considerable public criticism. As a result of the introduction of these trams, the seven ‘toastrack’ trailer cars, Nos. 8 - 14, saw very little further use, and were stored out the back of the depot on the connecting curves between Nos. 1 & 2 sheds.

 

AUG 27     NMETL  Following improvement works to the bridge over the Moonee Ponds Creek, the Flemington Bridge terminus of the Essendon lines was extended a short distance further south to provide a more convenient interchange with the cable trams. The new terminus was double track with two crossovers.

 

NOV 13     PMTT  Three new lines were opened, running over part of the routes of the former Caulfield Tramway Company horse car lines which had closed many years previously.

                                The first line was from Balaclava Junction (corner of Hawthorn and Balaclava Roads) running east via Balaclava Road, Normanby Road, Railway Avenue, Derby Road and Waverley Road to Darling Road. It was built as double track to Finch Street (just past Caulfield Station) and single track to the terminus with a passing loop at Tennyson Street.

                                The second line was from Balaclava Junction running south via Hawthorn Road and west via Glenhuntly Road to Brighton Road, Elsternwick. It was built as single track with passing loops at Glen Eira Road, west of Hawthorn Road and at Orrong Road. The third line ran east from South Caulfield Junction (Hawthorn Road) via Glenhuntly Road to Grange Road, built as single track with a passing loop at Laura Street.

                                The railways at Elsternwick and Glenhuntly were crossed on the level, and a 'grand union' was installed at Balaclava Junction. (A 'grand union' junction features two tracks crossing at right angles with connecting curves on all four corners). Services were provided from Elsternwick to both Darling Road and Grange Road. The Orrong Road loop was relocated after several months to the Elsternwick railway crossing.

 

  ~~~        PMTT  The railway level crossing in Glenferrie Road at Malvern Station was replaced by grade separation.

 

                pmtt  New trams:

                                25 - 35  Eleven maximum-traction, bogie, drop-end-and-centre combination trams built by Duncan & Fraser, Adelaide (later MMTB C class 25 - 35).

                                48 - 53  Six single-truck straight-sill, centre-aisle 'summer' trams built by Duncan & Fraser, Adelaide (later MMTB G class 48 - 53).

                                54 - 63  Ten single-truck California combination trams built by Duncan & Fraser, Adelaide (later MMTB H class 54 - 63).

 

                pmtt  Summer’ trams 36 and 37 (later MMTB F class) were renumbered 46 and 47, allowing block grouping of numbers for both the ‘summer’ cars (46 - 53) and maximum-traction bogie cars (25 - 45). (The numbers 36 - 45 were reserved for trams on order).

 

                VR  Due to the widespread unpopularity of the new crossbench trams (Nos. 19 - 27, which were based on the Sydney J class), an inquiry was held into the operation of the St Kilda - Brighton line. This resulted in a change of management and a rehabilitation plan that proposed a new power supply, track duplication and the construction of 'modern and commodious' trams.

 

                NMETL  The Saltwater River destination was altered to Maribyrnong River, in keeping with the renaming of the waterway.

 

 1914.

 

FEB 17     MBCTT  The Brunswick & Coburg Tramways Trust was constituted to construct and operate an electric tramway from the North Carlton cable car terminus to Brunswick and Coburg, including replacement of the Council operated horse tramway in Sydney Road.

 

MAR 25    PMTT  The High Street line was extended from Tooronga Road to Glen Iris, terminating at Malvern Road. It was built as single track with a passing loop at Burke Road. The existing line was duplicated from Malvern Town Hall to Tooronga Road.

 

JUNE 14   HTT  The Hawthorn Tramways Trust (HTT) was constituted to construct an electric tramway from Melbourne to Burwood.

 

JUNE 20   PMTT  A double track loop line was opened on the Darling Road route near Caulfield Station, via Waverley Road from Railway Avenue to Derby Road, to facilitate handling of racecourse traffic. A triangular junction was provided at Derby Road, allowing Darling Road trams to proceed direct along Waverly Road or travel via Railway Avenue. Trams from the west terminating at Caulfield were able to proceed around the loop in either direction without shunting. Trams could also be laid up on either track while regular services used the other route. Normal services would operate via Railway Avenue and Derby Street so as to provide convenient interchange with Caulfield Station.

 

JUNE        The remaining section of the Beaumaris horse tramway to Sandringham was closed.

 

AUG 1      PMTT  A crossover was installed on the St Kilda Beach line in Balaclava Road at Balaclava Railway Station.

 

OCT 26     MBCTT  The Brunswick & Coburg Tramways Trust was reconstituted as the Melbourne, Brunswick & Coburg Tramways Trust (MBCTT). This followed authorisation being granted to extend the tramline to the City terminus of the Swanston Street cable cars at Queensberry Street, in lieu of connecting with the North Carlton cable cars at Rathdowne Street.

 

NOV 1      The Kew horse tram was closed to permit construction of an electric line by the PMTT.

 

  ~~~        PMTT  New trams:

                                36 - 45  Ten maximum-traction, bogie, drop-end-and-centre combination trams built by Duncan & Fraser, Adelaide (later MMTB D class 36 and E class 37 - 45). The PMTT fleet now comprised 63 trams, consisting of 25 maximum-traction bogie cars and 38 single-truck trams.

 

 1915.

 

JAN 18     PMTT  The Hawthorn Road line was duplicated from Balaclava Junction to Glenhuntly Road, with a crossover installed south of Balaclava Road.

 

FEB 24     PMTT  A double track extension was opened from Kew Post Office to the eastern side of Victoria Bridge, via High Street and Barkers Road (along the former horse tram route). A crossover was installed at Kew Post Office. The service from St Kilda Beach to Kew Post Office was extended to Victoria Bridge, and another service was provided from Deepdene to Victoria Bridge, in addition to the existing Deepdene to St Kilda Beach service.

 

FEB 28     PMTT  The Glenhuntly Road line was duplicated from Hawthorn Road to Elsternwick Station, with crossovers installed west of Hawthorn Road and on the east side of the Elsternwick railway crossing.

 

APR 8       PMTT  A new line was opened along Commercial and Malvern Roads from St Kilda Road to Burke Road, Gardiner. It was built as double track throughout, with crossovers provided at Chapel Street, Orrong Road and on the west side of Glenferrie Road. Double track connecting curves were provided on both the north-west and south-west corners of Glenferrie Road.

 

MAY 8      PMTT  Kew Depot opened. This six-road depot was built on the corner of Barkers Road and High Street, Kew, mainly to accommodate trams operating on routes from Victoria Bridge. Two access tracks were provided, each connecting three roads, with both joining the in-bound line in Barkers Road. A crossover was provided in Barkers Road for access to the out-bound track. The PMTT was the only electric tram operator with two depots before the formation of the MMTB. (The VR later had two depots, but they were on two physically isolated lines).

                                A new line was opened from Kew Post Office via High Street to Kew Cemetery (Park Hill Road), built as double track over the former horse tram route. Services ran through to Victoria Bridge, operated from the new Kew Depot.

 

JUNE 4     PMTT  The Elsternwick line was extended to Point Ormond via Glenhuntly Road. Built as double track, it crossed the VR St Kilda - Brighton line at Ormond Road. The work also included duplicating the existing line between Elsternwick Station and Brighton Road, with an additional crossover being provided on the west side of the railway crossing. The terminus at Point Ormond was double track with a facing crossover, constructed in open ballast and located in a short reservation. Services to Point Ormond were run from Darling Road, while most Grange Road trams continued to terminate at Elsternwick Station.

 

JUNE 13   VR  The St Kilda - Brighton line was duplicated from Elwood Depot to Bay Street, Brighton.

 

JUNE 15   HTT  After fully considering the option of delegating operation of their tramway to the PMTT, the Hawthorn Tramways Trust board decided in favour of operating their system themselves.

 

JULY 4     PMTT  Tracks were extended from the east side of Victoria Bridge to the cable car terminus on the west side to provide a more convenient connection with the Victoria Street cable trams.

 

AUG 3      FNPTT  The Fitzroy, Northcote & Preston Tramways Trust (FNPTT) was constituted. This followed the formation in 1912 of the Northern Extension Tramway League to obtain a tram service along St Georges Road to Preston. As the MTOCo were not interested in extending the cable tramway, the local councils considered that building an electric tramway was a viable option. This decision was inspired by the profits generated by the Northcote cable tramway, the positive impact the cable tramway had on the district, and the operational success of the PMTT.

 

SEP 14     VR  The St Kilda - Brighton line was duplicated from Bay Street to the Brighton Beach terminus. Crossovers were provided at Normanby Street and Wellington Street. Duplication of the entire route was now complete.

 

NOV 26     PMTT  The Kew Cemetery line was extended along High Street to Strathalbyn Street, Kew, built as double track with a crossover installed at the former terminus.

 

DEC 5       The Coburg horse tramway was closed to permit construction of an electric line in Sydney Road by the MBCTT.

 

DEC 30     FTT  The Footscray Tramways Trust (FTT) was constituted. This followed lengthy representations by residents to the Footscray City Council to provide tram services in their area, and the ruling out of constructing a line from the Showgrounds operated by the NMETL as part of their 'Essendon' system.

 

  ~~~        PMTT  The centre poles in High Street and Glenferrie Road were removed.

 

                PMTT  New trams:

                                64 - 83  Twenty single-truck California combination trams built by Meadowbank Manufacturing Co., Sydney (later MMTB J class 64 - 83).

                                (Un-numbered)  A single-truck track cleaner tram built by the PMTT (later MMTB No. 3A, later No. [1st] 6).

 

                pmtt  The drop-centre of maximum-traction bogie car No. 36 was modified, in preparation for the proposed use of conductresses during World War 1, by enclosing some doorways and altering the seating layout. This modification later caused the MMTB to classify this car as D class (the other unmodified trams of this type were designated E class by the MMTB). The use of conductresses did not eventuate at this time, and women were not employed as platform staff on trams until 1941.

 

                VR  Trailer car 14 was motorised.

 

 1916.

 

JAN 18     The Melbourne Tramways Board was appointed as an interim body to take over the cable tramways from the MTOCo. This was pending a decision on the future of the various tramways, as the need to co-ordinate and consolidate Melbourne's public transport was becoming apparent.

 

JAN 31     The Hawthorn horse tramway was closed in preparation for construction of an electric line by the HTT.

 

MAR 18    PMTT  A balloon loop was constructed at the St Kilda Beach terminus, to facilitate tram shunting at times of heavy laoding. (Some sources give the date as December 20 - this was the opening date of a cafe constructed within the loop).

 

APR 4       PMTT  The railway level crossing at Glenferrie Station in Glenferrie Road was replaced by grade separation.

 

APR 6       HTT  The Hawthorn Tramways Trust line was opened from Princes Bridge via Batman Avenue and Swan Street to Hawthorn Depot, at the corner of Wallen Road and Power Street. Built as double track throughout, crossovers were provided at Burnley (Park Grove), west of Punt Road, and outside the depot. Hawthorn Depot consisted of four roads, plus a basement workshop with a separate access track. The opening had been delayed considerably due to wartime conditions.

                                Trams were painted grey with blue lining and white roofs, with 'Hawthorn Tramways Trust' lettering on the rocker panels. Seven trams were available at the opening, and all ten were in service by April 20:

                                11 - 20  Ten maximum-traction, bogie, drop-end-and-centre combination trams built by Duncan & Fraser, Adelaide (later MMTB N class 117 - 126). (Due to wartime conditions, these higher numbered trams were delivered before lower numbered trams 1 - 10).

 

APR 23     HTT  The first of the lower-numbered trams ordered by the HTT became available for service, the last entering service by July 11:

                                1 - 10  Ten single-truck California combination trams built by Duncan & Fraser, Adelaide (later MMTB M class 107 - 116). The Hawthorn Tramways Trust now had 20 trams in service, 10 single-truck trams and 10 maximum-traction bogie trams.

 

APR 27     MBCTT  The Melbourne, Brunswick & Coburg Tramways Trust line was opened from Coburg Depot via Moreland Road and Sydney Road to Bell Street. It was built as double track, with the five-road Coburg Depot situated in Nicholson Street a short distance north of Moreland Road.

                                Twelve trams were constructed, three being available initially (Nos. 6, 7 and 8). The remainder entered service in May (Nos. 3, 4 and 5), July (Nos. 1, 2, 9 and 11) and September (Nos. 10 and 12). The colour scheme was dark green with white rocker panels, white trim and a grey roof, and 'MB&CTT' lettering along the sides:

                                1 - 12  Single-truck California combination trams built by Duncan & Fraser, Adelaide (later MMTB S class 154 - 165). These were the first trams in Melbourne fitted with air brakes.

 

MAY 7      HTT  The Hawthorn line was extended along Riversdale Road to Auburn Road (over part of the former horse tram route), being built as double track and crossing the PMTT line at Glenferrie Road.

 

MAY 14    MBCTT  The Sydney Road line was extended from Bell Street to Bakers Road, North Coburg, constructed as double track to Wilson Street, then as single track to the terminus, with a passing loop at Gaffney Street.

 

MAY 31    HTT  The Hawthorn line was extended from Auburn Road via Riversdale Road and Camberwell Road to Bowen Street. It was built as double track throughout with a crossover at the former Auburn Road terminus.

 

JUNE 10   HTT  An extension to Burwood was opened from Bowen Street via Camberwell Road and Norwood (now Toorak) Road to Boundary (now Warrigal) Road. It was constructed as single track with four passing loops (Orange Grove, Smith Road, Glencairn Avenue and Through Road).

 

JUNE 21   HTT  A new line was opened from Hawthorn Depot via Power Street and Burwood Road to the Richmond cable car terminus at Hawthorn Bridge. Built as double track over part of the former horse tram route, it was operated as a shuttle service.

 

AUG 14     MBCTT  The Coburg line was extended south from Moreland Road via Holmes Street and Lygon Street to Park Street. Built as double track, crossovers were provided at Albion Street and south of Moreland Road.The line crossed the Inner Circle railway on the level.

 

AUG         PMTT / HTT  The PMTT sold their four maximum-traction ‘Metropolitan’ bogie cars Nos. 21 - 24 (later MMTB O class) to the HTT. The Hawthorn Tramways Trust was experiencing overcrowding on their trams due to the unanticipated popularity of the service, and needed to acquire new rolling stock quickly. The design of Nos. 21 - 24 had not proved practical to the PMTT, and they were quite happy to get rid of them.

                                By coincidence, the HTT fleet numbered 20 trams, therefore ex-PMTT 21 - 24 retained the same numbers in HTT service. The HTT fleet now comprised 24 trams, and the PMTT fleet now consisted of 79 trams plus one works vehicle. Like the PMTT, the HTT did not hold Nos. 21 - 24 in high regard (conductors were required to work half the tram from the footboard, and the sliding doors tended to open and shut without warning on hills), and they were usually limited to short peak period runs.

                                To further relieve overcrowding, the HTT ordered fifteen new trams on September 1, consisting of eight maximum-traction bogie and seven single-truck combination trams.

 

SEP 30     PMTT  The Deepdene line was extended from Burke Road via Whitehorse Road to Union Road, Mont Albert. It was constructed as single track with a long passing loop at Talbot Avenue, and crossed the railway at Deepdene on the level. Services from Victoria Bridge were extended to the new Mont Albert terminus; however, trams from St Kilda Beach continued to terminate at Deepdene.

 

OCT 2       FTT  The Footscray Tramways Trust were granted authority to construct five tram routes, from Footscray Railway Station to Ballarat Road, Russell Street, Williamstown Road, Hyde Street and northwards to the Maribyrnong River bridge via Nicholson Street. Plans for the latter two routes were deferred in 1917.

 

OCT 25     HTT  A new line to Riversdale was opened, branching from the Burwood Line at Camberwell Junction, and running via Riversdale Road to Wattle Valley Road. (Portion of the line had tram services operating from Oct 16). It was built as single track with passing loops at Trafalgar Road and Willow Grove, and a level crossing over the railway at Riversdale. This line was built on behalf of the Town (later City) of Camberwell and was known as the 'Riversdale extension'. Services operated through to Princes Bridge.

 

OCT 31     MBCTT  Official opening of the MBCTT. The line was extended south from Park Street via Lygon Street, Elgin Street and Madeline (now Swanston) Street to Queensberry Street, built as double track. A new 'branch' line was constructed north from Coburg Depot via Nicholson Street to Bell Street, East Coburg, being all single track with a passing loop at Crozier Street. Services were provided from Queensberry Street to both East Coburg and Bakers Road, North Coburg. Destinations for the 'branch' line originally showed 'Bell Street East', but in December this was altered to 'Coburg Cemetery' to avoid confusion with the 'Bell Street' destination used by short-working trams on the Sydney Road route.

 

NOV 9      HTT  The Riversdale Road line was extended a short distance from Wattle Valley Road to Highfield Road, built as single track with a passing loop at the former terminus.

 

DEC 23     HTT  The Riversdale Road line was extended from Highfield Road to Wattle Park, terminating at Boundary (now Warrigal) Road. It was built as single track with a passing loop at Middlesex Road. The Town of Camberwell actually wanted the tramline to go only as far as Highfield Road, but agreed to the extension because the Trust had just purchased Wattle Park, having considered that a park at the end of a tram route would be beneficial for traffic.

 

 1917.

 

FEB 6       VR  A third car shed with three roads was built at Elwood Depot, to the north of No. 2 shed, for housing new bogie trams under construction. All three roads extended out the rear of the shed, where two crossovers were installed.

 

                VR  New trams:

                                28 - 32  Five bogie, drop-centre combination trams built by VR Newport Workshops. These were the first equal wheel, four-motor trams in Melbourne, and the first VR trams to be fitted with air brakes. They did not enter service until December 1918, when the power supply for the line was upgraded. The design of these ‘modern and commodious’ cars resulted from the outcome of an inquiry held in 1913 due to the widespread discontent with the ‘toastrack’ trams (Nos. 19 - 27).

 

july 3     htt  The first five of the eight new bogie trams on order entered service. The others were held in storage in Adelaide awaiting extensions to the depot at Hawthorn - two more were delivered in December 1917, the last entering service on March 28, 1918:

                                25 - 32  Maximum-traction, bogie, drop-end-and-centre combination trams built by Duncan & Fraser, Adelaide (later MMTB P class 131 - 138).

 

AUG         MBCTT  New trams were acquired, the last entering service in October:

                                13 - 18  Six single-truck combination trams with a long saloon, built by Duncan & Fraser, Adelaide (later MMTB T class 177 - 182). These were the only Melbourne trams fitted with long wheelbase Radiax trucks.

                                (Un-numbered)  A single-truck rail flusher tram (later MMTB No. 1A, later No. 5). It was built by the MBCTT at Coburg Depot from spare parts acquired for the original fleet of twelve trams. (The spare parts were no longer considered necessary after the new trams were delivered, as ample spare trams were available).

 

DEC 6       PMTT  The Gardiner line was extended north along Burke Road to Camberwell Station (south side). It was built as double track with crossovers at Gardiner and Leura Grove. It crossed the railway at Gardiner on the level, and intersected the Hawthorn Tramways Trust lines at Camberwell Junction.

 

  ~~~        PMTT  New trams:

                                21 - 24, 84 - 91  Twelve single-truck California combination trams built by the PMTT and James Moore, Melbourne (later MMTB B class 21 - 24, 84 - 91). Nos. 21 - 24 took the numbers of the four bogie cars sold to the HTT. Some of these trams were delivered in 1918.

 

                pmtt  No. 49 (later G class) was rebuilt from a 'summer' car to a combination car by closing in the centre door and creating a saloon with longitudinal seating. This was done as a prototype for planned trams that eventually became the MMTB K class.

NMETL Saloon tram No. 7 was fitted with a windshield at one end on trial. After an experimentation and evaluation period, the NMETL commenced a program to vestibule all saloon cars which was completed in 1920.

 

 1918.

 

MAR 7      PMTT  A double track extension was opened from Camberwell Station via Burke Road to Cotham Road. It was operated as a separate shuttle service due to the incomplete railway bridge at Camberwell. A crossover was provided at Cotham Road, and double track connecting curves turned east from Burke Road into Cotham Road.

                                The Mont Albert line was duplicated a short distance from Burke Road to the Deepdene railway crossing. A crossover was installed in Cotham Road on the west side of Burke Road.

 

MARCH    HTT  A second shed was completed at Hawthorn Depot comprising three roads. Provision was made for a third shed to be built, including a set of points in the depot fan, but this never eventuated.

                                Completion of the new shed allowed new trams on order from Duncan & Fraser, Adelaide, to finally be delivered. (The Trust had been paying storage fees on the bodies in Adelaide for some time). The last of the bogie trams from the group 25 - 32 were delivered and entered service immediately (some of this group had already been delivered in July and December 1917). Seven bodies, in storage since completion on May 18, 1917, were also delivered:

                                33 - 39  Single-truck California combination trams built 1917 by Duncan & Fraser, Adelaide. These bodies were placed in storage at Hawthorn Depot as the necessary electrical equipment had not yet arrived. (These cars would eventually become MMTB M class 183 - 189).

                                The HTT had 32 trams available for service (plus seven bodies in storage) and their fleet was now at its maximum extent.

 

APR 30     PMTT  The Darling Road line was duplicated from Finch Street to Tennyson Street.

 

JUNE        MBCTT  The Queensberry Street terminus was relocated south of the intersection to provide a more convenient interchange with the Swanston Street cable cars.

 

SEPT       PMTT  The Camberwell railway bridge was completed and through running along Burke Road commenced. Services ran from St Kilda Road to Cotham Road (destination 'Camberwell'), operated by Malvern Depot. A crossover was provided on the north side of the railway.

 

SEPT 10   FNPTT  Track construction commenced on the St Georges Road line for the Fitzroy, Northcote & Preston Tramways Trust. Earlier, in 1917, the FNPTT constructed a replacement bridge over the Merri Creek suitable for use by both tram and road traffic.

 

OCT         HTT / FTT  The unused bodies of HTT single-truck cars 33 - 39 (later MMTB M class 183 - 189) were sold to the Footscray Tramways Trust. The seven bodies remained in storage at Hawthorn Depot until delivered to Footscray in September 1919.

 

DEC 14     VR  New trams:

                                33 - 37  Five bogie, drop-centre combination trams built by VR Newport Workshops, to the same design as Nos. 28 - 32. At this time the upgraded power supply was commissioned, and the original five bogie trams (Nos. 28 - 32) which had been stored since completion also entered service.

 

                VR  Also at this time one of the ex-Sydney D class combination trams, No. 16, and the last remaining ex-Sydney C class saloon trailer car, No. 18, were scrapped.

 

  ~~~        MBCTT  A crossover was installed on the Bakers Road (North Coburg) line in Sydney Road at Bell Street. Previously trams displaying ‘Bell Street’ destinations shunted a short distance further north at the end of the double track at Wilson Street.

 

 1919.

 

MAR 10    VR  A new tramway from Sandringham to Black Rock was opened, after local proposals for an extension of the Sandringham railway to Beaumaris were rejected because of the high cost involved. Construction of the tramway as an economical alternative was approved by Parliament in November 1914, but progress was delayed by wartime conditions.

                                Originally planned as broad gauge (the same as the VR St Kilda - Brighton line), it was actually built as standard gauge to allow for the possibility of eventual connection to the main Melbourne tram system. (Thus, the VR St Kilda line that would ultimately meet the main system at four locations was a different gauge, and the isolated line that was nowhere near the main system was the same gauge).

                                The line ran on an inland route from Sandringham Railway Station via Station Street, Bay Street, Fernhill Road, Royal Avenue and Bluff Road to terminate at Balcombe Road, Black Rock. It was built as double track except for the section in the vicinity of Sandringham Station, which was single track owing to the narrow width of Station Street. A three-road depot was erected in the Sandringham Station yard, with a connecting track to Bay Street.

                                Trams for the new line were transferred from Elwood Depot to Sandringham Depot. They consisted of six of the unpopular crossbench cars, Nos. 22 - 27, supplemented by six trailers, Nos. 8 - 13. These cars had been displaced by new bogie trams, and the number of trams at Elwood now totalled 23, consisting of 10 bogie trams and 13 single-truck trams.

 

MARCH    VR  On the St Kilda line, the destination 'Brighton' was altered to 'Brighton Bch', and a new destination 'Mid Brighton' was added.

 

Sept 18   HTT / FTT  Between September 11 and September 18 the Footscray Tramways Trust took delivery of seven single-truck combination tram bodies purchased from the Hawthorn Tramways Trust in October 1918 (HTT 33 - 39, later MMTB M class 183 - 189). The FTT arranged for provision of trucks and electrical equipment, and the cars were held by the FTT awaiting the opening of their system.

 

NOV 1      Following a great deal of consideration about the future of Melbourne's numerous tramways, The Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board was formed with the intention to take over, operate and unify the various tramways, with the exception of the two lines operated by the Victorian Railways. The cable tram system (except the Northcote line) and the Royal Park horse tramway were also taken over from the interim Tramways Board on this date.

 

  ~~~        PMTT  The first five of an order of eight new trams was delivered:

                                92 - 97  Single-truck straight-sill combination trams built by the PMTT and James Moore, Melbourne (later MMTB K class 92 - 97). This design followed the conversion of 'summer' car 49 (later G class) as a prototype.

 

 1920.

 

JAN 27     FNPTT  The Fitzroy, Northcote & Preston Tramways Trust conducted a trial run over all their lines, using tram No. 1 (the only completed tram), one week before the Trust was taken over by the MMTB.

                                The lines ran from the cable tram terminus at Barkly Street, North Fitzroy, via St Georges Road to Miller Street, Thornbury, and then formed two branches. One line turned left into Miller Street and then right into Gilbert Road, and terminated at Regent Street, West Preston. The other line turned right at Miller Street, crossed the Whittlesea railway line, then turned left into Plenty Road and terminated at Tyler Street, East Preston.

                                The Victorian Railways would not permit the tramway to cross the railway on the level, and so a 'temporary' overbridge was built. The bridge was ramped on both sides and became known as the ‘Hump’ (and also colloquially as 'Mount Buggery'), and was still in use at the time of writing.

                                The line was double track from Barkly Street to Miller Street, with a crossover at Woolton Avenue for racecourse traffic. Each branch was single track, both having passing loops at Bell Street and Murray Road. Due to the presence of a large water main under the median strip in St Georges Road from Merri Creek northwards, the track was laid on the western carriageway (with the result that south bound trams would travel head-on towards oncoming north bound road traffic).

                                A four-road depot was built on the north-west corner of St Georges Road and Miller Street, and was called Preston Depot. (From 1955 it was referred to as Thornbury Depot or Old Preston Depot, after a new depot was constructed at East Preston).

                                Only one of an order for eight trams was completed by the FNPTT before takeover by the MMTB:

                                1  A single-truck straight-sill combination tram built for the FNPTT at Malvern Depot by the PMTT and James Moore, Melbourne. It was painted in a two-tone grey livery with gold lining, and later became MMTB R class 176. This tram was almost identical to PMTT 92 - 100 (later K class) which were under construction at the same time, having slightly different electrical equipment and a saloon that was one foot greater in length.

 

FEB 2       The Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board (MMTB) assumed control of the Northcote cable line and five municipal electric tramways:

 

§  Prahran & Malvern Tramways Trust (PMTT)

§  Hawthorn Tramways Trust (HTT)

§  Melbourne, Brunswick & Coburg Tramways Trust (MBCTT)

§  Fitzroy, Northcote & Preston Tramways Trust (FNPTT)

§  Footscray Tramways Trust (FTT)

                                The privately owned tramways of the NMETL were not included in the above arrangement, and over two years was to elapse before they were taken over by the MMTB (following formation of the State Electricity Commission to absorb the power supply business of the NMETL). Consideration was given to transferring the VR trams to the MMTB, but they were deemed to be an integral part of the railway administration and as such were to be retained by the VR.

                                The MMTB had the task of co-ordinating the different operating procedures of the various tramways into a standard unit while maintaining provision of daily tram services. The Board was obligated by Parliament to develop a 'General Scheme' for the operation of tramways in Melbourne, and, after considering all alternative forms of transport, decided on a policy of converting all cable tramways to electric traction, designing a standard tramcar, and providing a central workshop facility.

 

APR 1       Lines constructed by the Fitzroy, Northcote & Preston Tramways Trust, from the North Fitzroy cable car terminus to East and West Preston, were opened by the MMTB. The services were operated from Preston Depot using the rolling stock ordered by the FNPTT, the remainder of which were completed by the MMTB:

                                2 - 8  Seven single-truck straight-sill combination trams built for the FNPTT at Malvern Depot by the PMTT and James Moore, Melbourne. They were painted in FNPTT livery, and later became MMTB R class 151 - 153 and 172 - 175 (not respectively). All but one were ready for traffic on the opening day.

 

MAY         Summer car No. 48 (later G class) was converted to a combination tram, the same design as No. 49 that was converted previously. An exact date has not been found for the conversion, which was commenced by the PMTT and completed by May 1920 at the latest.

 

JUNE        Colour light signals for safe-working were installed on the single track ‘Hump’ overbridge at Thornbury.

 

AUG 10     The first of three new trams enters service, the other two being completed later in the year:

                                19 - 21  Three single-truck California combination trams built by the MMTB at Coburg Depot. The first part of an order for six trams by the MBCTT, these cars were built to the same design as the first twelve MBCTT trams with only minor differences, and later became S1 class 166 - 168. The MBCTT had intended to build more Radiax truck trams the same as Nos. 13 - 18 (later T class), but negotiations to procure the patented Radiax trucks proved fruitless.

 

AUG 30     Chocolate and cream, with M&MTB lettering on the rocker panels, was adopted as the standard livery for trams by the MMTB. This was an adaptation of the PMTT colour scheme and similar to that already in use on the cable trams. Later, with the advent of the W class trams in late 1923, the M&MTB lettering was dropped.

 

SEPT 9     As the lines constructed by the Footscray Tramways Trust were still incomplete (arrangements for power supply were not yet finalised), the seven single-truck trams purchased from the HTT by the FTT were temporarily transferred back to Hawthorn Depot. They were repainted in the new MMTB chocolate and cream livery, and entered service between August 12 and September 9 at Hawthorn Depot still numbered 33 - 39, the numbers intended for them by the HTT.

 

DEC         A single-track connecting curve was installed on the north-west corner of Camberwell   Junction, linking the former HTT system with the former PMTT system. (It possibly could have been installed a few months prior to December).

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                98 - 100  Last three of an order of 8 single-truck straight-sill combination trams built by James Moore, Melbourne and completed by the MMTB at Malvern Depot. Ordered by the PMTT, these cars were later classified K class.

 

                TRAM NUMBERING

 

                The MMTB divided its inherited electric tramway system into two groups: the ‘Eastern System’, which consisted of the routes and rolling stock of the PMTT and the HTT; and the ‘Northern System’, based on the routes and rolling stock of the MBCTT and the FNPTT. A precise date for the introduction of this system has not been found, but was either late 1920 or early 1921. Each system had its own parallel car numbering:

 

                EASTERN SYSTEM

 

                Eastern System numbering simply involved ex-PMTT trams retaining their original numbers (1 - 106, including trams ordered by the PMTT but yet to be completed), with ex-HTT trams being added on (107 onwards):

 

                1 - 100      Ex-PMTT 1 - 100.

                101 - 106   Reserved for PMTT trams on order, to be completed by the MMTB.

                107 - 138   Ex-HTT 1 - 32.

 

                NORTHERN SYSTEM

 

                In theory, Northern System numbers should have simply consisted of MBCTT trams retaining their numbers (1 - 24, including trams ordered but yet to be completed), with FNPTT trams being added on (25 onwards):

 

                1 - 18  Ex-MBCTT 1 - 18.

                19 - 21  Trams ordered by the MBCTT and completed by the MMTB.

                22 - 24  Reserved for trams ordered by the MBCTT and yet to be completed.

                25 - 32  Ex-FNPTT 1 - 8.

 

                In practice, the numbering was more complicated, and trams allocated to Coburg and Preston were denoted by C and P suffixes respectively. These suffixes were for administrative purposes only and did not appear on the trams:

 

                1C - 18C  Ex-MBCTT 1 - 18, allocated to Coburg.

                19C - 21C  Trams ordered by the MBCTT and completed by the MMTB, allocated to Coburg.

                22C, 23P, 24P  Reserved for trams ordered by the MBCTT and not yet completed, to be allocated to Coburg or Preston.

                25P - 29P  Ex-FNPTT Nos. 1, 4 - 6 and 8 (not respectively), allocated to Preston.

                30 - 32 Ex-FNPTT Nos. 2, 3 and 7 were to be renumbered 30 - 32, but this did not eventuate before further renumbering took place. These trams were temporarily numbered 2P, 3P and 7P for administrative purposes, to distinguish them from Coburg trams with the same numbers.

 

 1921.

 

MAR 1      The first of six new trams enters service:

                                101 - 106  Six bogie, drop-centre combination trams built by James Moore, Melbourne. Ordered by the PMTT, these were equal wheel, four-motor trams (similar to the VR bogie cars), the first such cars on the MMTB system. The last tram (No. 106) entered service on September 14, 1921. (These trams were later classified L class).

 

MAR 12    An experimental all-night service was introduced on trial between Princes Bridge and Camberwell Junction, using a two-person operated tram from Hawthorn Depot. It was discontinued after a few months.

 

SEP 6       Following finalisation of power supply arrangements on September 1, the three routes constructed by the Footscray Tramways Trust were opened by the MMTB. The lines ran from Footscray Railway Station to Russell Street, Ballarat Road and Williamstown Road. The Russell Street route ran via Leeds Street and Barkly Street to the terminus at Russell Street. The Ballarat Road route turned off Barkly Street and ran via Droop Street and Ballarat Road to the terminus at Rosamond Road. The Williamstown Road route ran via Irving Street, Nicholson Street, Buckley Street, Victoria Street, Charles Street, Gamon Street and Somerville Road to the terminus at Williamstown Road.

                                Footscray depot was built in Buckley Street, and had four roads. All routes were built as single track with one passing loop, except for the section from the depot to Barkly and Droop Streets which was double track with a crossover at Footscray station. The railway in Nicholson Street was crossed on the level.

                                The Ballarat Road service operated through to Williamstown Road, while the Russell Street service ran as a shuttle to the Railway Station. The passing loop in Gamon Street at Charles Street on the Williamstown Road line proved to be poorly sited for timetable purposes, and was soon relocated further south to Hood Street.

                                A planned fourth route to Hyde Street never came to fruition, and a junction constructed at Nicholson and Buckley Streets for this line was removed shortly after the system opened. A proposed fifth route north to the Maribyrnong River bridge via Nicholson Street never reached the design stage.

                                The seven single-truck trams purchased by the FTT from the HTT and temporarily transferred back to Hawthorn Depot, Nos. 33 - 39, were returned to Footscray to provide the services. (These trams later became M class 183 - 189). As they were at Hawthorn temporarily, these trams had not been renumbered into the Eastern System fleet.

                                The Footscray lines came under the administration of the Northern Division within the MMTB, but were not considered part of the Northern System, although by coincidence tram numbers 33 - 39 would have fitted neatly on the end of the Northern System rolling stock roster, which numbered 32 trams.

 

SEP 11     Ex-FNPTT trams 3P & 7P on the Northern System were transferred to Malvern Depot and renumbered 151 & 152 (not necessarily respectively) on the Eastern System roster. No. 2P was intended to follow and become Eastern System 153, but this did not happen before further numbering changes were made.

                                (At this point, the Eastern system was numbered from 1 - 138. Numbers 139 - 150 were reserved for trams ordered by the MMTB to cope with expanding traffic, pending design of a standard car. These trams were not delivered until 1922, and were classified Q class).

 

SEPT       New trams:

                                139, 23P  Two single-truck California combination trams built by the MMTB at Coburg Depot. Ordered by the MBCTT, these trams were intended to be numbered 22C and 23P in the Northern System roster. The tram that was to be No. 22C was numbered 139 in anticipation of a consolidated numbering system, there being 138 Eastern System cars at the time. As this consolidation attempt was somewhat premature, the second tram was numbered 23P as originally planned. (These trams later became S1 class 169 - 170).

 

OCT 20     The service from St Kilda Beach via Balaclava, Glenferrie and Cotham Roads to Deepdene was discontinued. The service from St Kilda Beach via Balaclava and Glenferrie Roads to Victoria Bridge continued to operate as before.

 

NOV 7      TRAM NUMBERING

 

                The Eastern and Northern Systems rolling stock were consolidated into one roster.

                                Eastern System trams 1 - 152 retained their numbers, including numbers reserved for Q class trams under construction. Ex-FNPTT No. 2P on the Northern system (the last tram in FNPTT livery and due for repainting) was given the next number, 153. Northern System trams 1 - 29 (including one S class still under construction) received the next group of numbers, 154 - 182 (not respectively), and Footscray trams 33 - 39 were then given numbers 183 - 189. Nos. 190 - 201 were reserved for a second order of Q class trams, to be delivered in 1923.

                                Letter classification to identify tram types was introduced at this time, and followed numerical order of the first tram of each type. Therefore No. 1 became A class, No. 21 became B class, No. 25 became C class, etc. Trams of the B, M, Q and R classes each have two different groups of numbers. This is because four of the B class assumed the numbers of the O class trams sold earlier by the PMTT to the HTT; the M class consisted of the original HTT cars, plus the later batch sold by the HTT to the FTT; the Q class consisted of two different orders; and the R class were split between the Eastern and Northern Systems. The following table gives full details:

 

ORIG.

TRUST NUMBERS

EASTERN

NUMBERS

NORTHERN

NUMBERS

MMTB

NUMBERS

MMTB

CLASS

NOTES

PMTT

1 - 20

1 - 20

-

1 - 20

A

 

21 - 24

21 - 24

-

21 - 24

B

Original numbers vacated by trams sold by PMTT to HTT.

25 - 35

25 - 35

-

25 - 35

C

 

36

36

-

36

D

 

37 - 45

37 - 45

-

37 - 45

E

 

46 - 47

46 - 47

-

46 - 47

F

Originally PMTT 36 - 37.

48 - 53

48 - 53

-

48 - 53

G

 

54 - 63

54 - 63

-

54 - 63

H

 

64 - 83

64 - 83

-

64 - 83

J

 

84 - 91

84 - 91

-

84 - 91

B

 

92 - 100

92 - 100

-

92 - 100

K

98 - 100 completed by MMTB.

On order

101 - 106

-

101 - 106

L

Ordered by PMTT but completed by MMTB.

HTT

1 -10

107 - 116

-

107 - 116

M

 

11 - 20

117 - 126

-

117 - 126

N

 

21 - 24

127 - 130

-

127 - 130

O

Purchased from PMTT, retaining same numbers.

25 - 32

131 - 138

-

131 - 138

P

 

MMTB

-

(139 - 150)

-

139 - 150

Q

Under construction.

FNPTT

3, 7

151 - 152

3P, 7P

151 - 152

R

With No. 2, intended to be Northern System Nos. 30 - 32. Renumbered 151 - 152 upon transfer to Eastern system (not necessarily respectively).

2

-

2P

153

R

With Nos. 3 & 7, intended to be Northern Nos. 30 - 32.

MBCTT

1 - 12

-

1C - 12C

154 - 165

S

 

On order. Intended to be 19 - 24

-

19C - 21C, 139, 23P, (24P)

166 - 171

S1

Ordered by MBCTT but completed by MMTB.

139 was intended to be 22C on the Northern System.

24P under construction and numbered 171 before completion.

FNPTT

1, 4 - 6, 8

-

25P - 29P

172 - 176

R

No. 1 became 29P, others not known.

MBCTT

13 - 18

-

13C - 18C

177 - 182

T

 

FTT

33 - 39

-

-

183 - 189

M

Purchased from HTT by FTT. Not used by HTT. Retained HTT numbers, not being re-numbered by FTT before MMTB takeover.

MMTB

-

-

-

190 - 201

Q

Second order of Q class, to be delivered in 1923.

 

 

 

  ~~~        The Holden Street Workshops, located near the North Fitzroy cable car depot, was established by converting a former timber store into a new electric tram construction facility. This was an interim measure pending establishment of a central tramway workshop.

 

                VR New 'railway' trams built:

                                38, 39, 48 - 51  Six bogie, drop-centre combination trams built by VR Newport Workshops, bringing the total number of bogie trams to 16. Nos. 38 and 39 entered service at Elwood, while Nos. 48 - 51 were built to standard gauge for the Sandringham line. (The gap in numbers allowed for future broad gauge trams to be built for the St Kilda - Brighton line).

 

                All the remaining trailer cars at Sandringham, Nos. 8 - 13, were scrapped. No. 14 from

Elwood (the trailer that was motorised) was also scrapped.

 

 1922.

 

JUNE 16   New tram:

                                171  S1 class single-truck California combination tram built by the MMTB at Coburg Depot. The last of six trams ordered by the MBCTT, this car was originally planned to be numbered 24P in the Northern System roster, but as it entered service after the fleet consolidation it was given number 171. Shortly afterwards, all S1 class trams were reclassified and grouped with the S class.

 

AUG 1      After negotiations, the ‘Essendon’ lines and rolling stock of the NMETL Company were purchased by the MMTB. (The electricity supply side of the undertaking was acquired by the recently formed State Electricity Commision of Victoria).

                                The ‘Essendon’ trams were allocated the next batch of numbers, 202 - 216 (The highest numbered tram at that point was 189. Nos. 190 - 201 were reserved for a second order of Q class trams under construction). Thus the oldest trams taken over by the MMTB received the highest numbers. NMETL 1 - 10 (saloon cars) became U class 202 - 211, and NMETL 11 - 15 (toastracks) became V class 212 - 216. The trailer cars 51 - 60 retained their numbers in a separate roster. (To avoid confusion with A class 1 - 15, the trams were given an E suffix [denoting Essendon] for administrative purposes until repainted.)

 

  ~~~        A scissors crossover was installed at the Batman Avenue terminus.

 

                New trams:

                                139 - 150  Twelve single-truck straight-sill combination trams built by the MMTB, some at Malvern Depot and some at the Holden Street Workshops. Initially Nos. 139 - 141 were classified as Q class, and Nos. 142 - 150 were classified as Q1 class; shortly afterwards they were all grouped together as Q class. These trams were built to acquire new trams quickly (pending design of a standard tram) to cope with expanding traffic. The design was almost identical to PMTT 92 - 100 (later K class) and FNPTT 1 - 8 (later R class), which were the latest single-truck trams constructed.

 

                VR  A crossover was installed on the St Kilda - Brighton line at Vautier Street, Elwood, and the Middle Brighton crossover at Normanby Street was relocated to Park Street.

 

                VR  The new bogie trams allowed the last of the ex-Sydney D class trams, Nos. 15 and 17, to be scrapped.

 

 1923.

 

FEB 14     The Mont Albert line was duplicated from the Deepdene railway crossing to the passing loop at Talbot Avenue. A crossover was installed at Balwyn Road.

 

FEB 25     The Williamstown Road line was duplicated from Footscray Depot to the corner of Gamon Street and Somerville Road. A crossover was provided outside the depot for access to the 'up' track.

 

MAR 17    VR  The final batch of the VR drop-centre trams enter service:

                                40 - 43  Four bogie, drop-centre combination trams built by VR Newport Workshops, entering service at Elwood Depot. No. 43 was specially fitted to run with trucks of either broad or standard gauge, and operated at Sandringham on several occasions. The total number of bogie 'railway' trams was now 20, of which 16 were at Elwood and 4 were at Sandringham.

                                These were to be the last new trams built by the VR for 19 years. A further four trams, to be numbered 44 - 47, were never completed - the partially built trams were offered to the MMTB, but, as they did not want another non-standard tram type in their fleet, the offer was declined.

 

MAR 23    The Darling Road line was duplicated from Tennyson Street to the terminus.

 

MAR 29    The Glenhuntly Road track was duplicated from Hawthorn Road to Laura Street, Glenhuntly.

 

JULY 7     The Essendon line was extended via Keilor Road to Gillies Street, built as single track with a passing loop at the former Bulla Road terminus. The 'Keilor Road' destination was altered to 'Essendon'.

 

                A new line was opened in Church Street, Hawthorn, from Barkers Road to Hawthorn Bridge. It was built as double track, and linked the Kew lines with the Hawthorn line. Services were provided by diverting Strathalbyn Street (Kew) trams via the new line to the Richmond cable car terminus at Hawthorn Bridge. Mont Albert and St Kilda Beach trams continued operating to Victoria Bridge.

 

AUG 23     Glenhuntly Depot was opened. Located in Glenhuntly Road a short distance east from South Caulfield Junction, the depot was built with nine roads, six of which were under cover. A single track provided access to Glenhuntly Road, and a crossover was installed outside the depot. Intended to relieve congestion at Malvern Depot, provision was made for expansion to a large regional depot to cater for the possibility of new lines and increasing traffic in the area. Operation of the Point Ormond to Darling Road and Elsternwick to Grange Road routes was transferred to Glenhuntly Depot from Malvern Depot.

 

AUG 27     A single track siding was constructed in Napier Street, Essendon, for football and racecourse traffic.

 

SEP 15     As a result of a serious accident in Mount Alexander Road near Victoria Street, Flemington, in which V class tram 214 towing a trailer crashed into the rear of another tram, all of the ex-NMETL trailer cars, Nos. 51 - 60, were withdrawn from service and stored. Trailer 58, which was involved in the collision, was scrapped.

                                Following withdrawal of the trailers, M class trams 183 - 189 were transferred from Footscray Depot to the Essendon lines, being replaced by 14 A class trams from Malvern Depot, which in turn were replaced by new Q class trams. This transfer was completed by February 1924.

 

NOV 5      The Zoo horse tram depot and all rolling stock were destroyed by fire during a police strike. The line was subsequently abandoned. This was the last horse tramway to operate in Melbourne.

 

DEC 12     The first MMTB designed standard tram entered service, followed by the second tram three days later:

                                219, 220  Two bogie, drop-centre combination trams built by the MMTB at Holden Street Workshops. Classified W, these equal wheel four-motor trams were the forerunners of an eventual fleet of 410 W2/SW2 class trams that were the backbone of the system for many years.

                                The need for a standard tram design had been obvious to the MMTB from the outset. Cable car conversions and construction of new tram lines, together with eventual replacement of obsolete and/or non-standard trams inherited from the Trusts and NMETL, would require a large number of new vehicles. Maintenance, training and operational requirements all dictated that these new trams should be of a standard design. The basic W class concept proved very succesful - the last W2 class tram was withdrawn from routine service in 1992, however some of the derivative classes (SW5, SW6, W6 & W7) were still in regular traffic at the time of writing.

 

  ~~~        Other new trams:

                                190 - 201  Twelve Q1 class single-truck straight-sill combination trams built by the MMTB. This was the second batch of Q1 class trams, and were shortly afterwards reclassified as Q class.

                                (Un-numbered)  A workshop locomotive built by the MMTB for towing incomplete trams to and from various depots pending establishment of a central workshop. (It was later numbered 18).

 

                The solitary D class tram, No. 36, was re-converted to the standard E class design.

 

                G class trams Nos. 50 - 53 were converted from summer trams to combination trams by closing in the centre door and creating a saloon with longitudinal seating. (Nos. 48 and 49 had been converted previously).

 

 1924.

 

JAN 12     The Puckle Street line from Moonee Ponds Junction to the railway station was closed. Under NMETL ownership the line saw service only on race days, providing a connection between the station and the racecourse. The line saw little use since being acquired by the MMTB, their preference being to convey race patrons to and from the City direct on their own service, rather than deliver the business to the railways.

 

FEB 11     The last new cable car track was constructed in Lonsdale Street between Swanston Street and Elizabeth Street. Cable car services were diverted via the new track to enable the cable line in Swanston Street north to Queensberry Street to be converted to electric operation. The new cable line was built to electric tram standards, but was never used as such. (After closure of the cable car system, this track remained in place until January 1962).

 

APR 13     North Coburg and Coburg Cemetery electric trams were brought into the City by converting the cable line in Swanston Street from Queensberry Street to a new terminus at Lonsdale Street. The line was double track, and centre poles were used between Franklin and Lonsdale Streets. The new city terminus was a single track asymmetric shunt with a second crossover. Another crossover was installed just north of Victoria Street, and the points at the former Queensberry Street terminus were removed. As an interim measure, trams had been operating to the new Victoria Street crossover from February.

 

JUNE 10   Two new trams entered traffic at Hawthorn Depot, operating the shuttle service from Power Street to Bridge Road:

                                217, 218  X class single-truck saloon Birney safety trams imported from the U.S.A., built by J.G. Brill & Co. (No. 217) and St Louis Car Co. (No. 218). Initially equipped with double trolley poles, a bow collector was fitted to each tram in September, being replaced by a single trolley pole in 1927.

                                The Birney car was designed as a lightweight, driver-only operated vehicle for economic operation of routes with light loading. They were designated 'safety cars' as they could not have their doors open while the tram was in motion, and they were fitted with 'deadman' safety equipment which would bring the tram to a halt if the driver let go of the controls.

                                217 ran a demonstration trip for the press on June 5 and entered service on June 10, with 218 entering service probably the next day. Use of the Birney trams on the Hawthorn shuttle was the first instance of driver-only electric tram operation on the Melbourne system (with the exception of the closed Box Hill - Doncaster pioneer line).

                                Over 5,000 of these trams were built for use in the USA. Six other Birney trams were imported into Australia, four for the Adelaide tramways, and two for the Geelong tramways, all of which eventually ended up in service in Geelong and later Bendigo.

 

JUNE        Essendon Depot was expanded. A second six-road shed (present-day roads 7-12), plus one open road, were added to the south (or City) side of the original shed. Trackwork was altered extensively, the direction of the depot fan being reversed so the tracks ran out towards the City. The original northern single track facing entrance from the 'up' track was retained, together with the crossover. A second northern entrance was provided nearby with a trailing connection to the 'down' track, and a third entrance was installed at the southern end of the depot in the opposite direction, with a trailing connection to the 'up' track.

 

JULY 8     The first section of the new Chapel Street line was opened, from Swan and Church Streets, Richmond to Toorak Road, South Yarra. This line crossed the new Chapel Street Bridge over the Yarra River, to which the Tramways Board contributed part of the cost, and was built as double track. Services were provided from Toorak Road to the City terminus at Princes Bridge, operated from Hawthorn Depot. A connecting track was provided at the Toorak Road terminus to allow Prahran and Toorak cable cars access to their depot, which was located at the corner.

 

AUG 29     The Essendon line was duplicated in Pascoe Vale Road, from Moonee Ponds Junction to Buckley Street. Two crossovers were installed, one at Moonee Ponds Junction, the other further north at Thomas Street to facilitate racecourse traffic.

 

OCT 20     The second stage of the Chapel Street line was opened, from Swan and Church Streets, Richmond to Victoria Street, North Richmond. Built as double track, a service was provided from Toorak Road to Victoria Street, in addition to the existing Toorak Road - Princes Bridge service, both operated from Hawthorn Depot. The destination 'Victoria St' was later altered to 'North Richmond'. Double track connecting curves were provided at Swan and Church Streets on both the south-west and north-west corners. The Victoria Street terminus was double track with a crossover.

 

OCT 10     Construction of a tramway workshop commenced on a large 17 acre site at Preston, bounded by St Georges Road, Miller Street, Oakover Road and the Whittlesea railway line, opposite Preston Depot. At this point, various tram maintenance and construction works were being carried out at a number of cable and electric tram depots and the temporary Holden Street Workshop. With the expansion of the electric tramways the need for a central workshop had become urgent.

 

DEC 15     The Maribyrnong River line was duplicated in Maribyrnong Road, Ascot Vale, from Bowen Street to Hotham Street, in effect being an extension of the Bowen Street passing loop. The double track terminus was replaced by single track around this time, the double track being required only for shunting trailers, the use of which had been discontinued.

 

DEC         Coburg Depot was expanded. An additional five-road shed was constructed on the east side of the existing shed, making a total of 10 roads.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                221 - 236, 239, 249 - 260, 265, 279 - 308  60 W class trams built by the MMTB at Holden Street Workshops (221 - 236, 239), James Moore, Melbourne (249 - 260, 265), and Holdens Body Builders, Adelaide (279 - 308). (The gaps in numbering are due to varying delivery dates of simultaneous orders placed with different contractors). The W class commenced service at Essendon Depot, due to the requirement for extra capacity following withdrawal of the trailer cars. Shortly afterwards as their numbers grew the W class were also allocated to other depots.

 

                F class 46 & 47 were converted from 'summer' trams to combination trams by closing in the centre door and creating a saloon with longitudinal seating (similar to the G class).

 

                Between 1924 and 1926 the C, E, N and P class trams were modified by cutting an aisle through the crossbench seats in the drop-centre. The C class also had their saloons lengthened, with longitudinal seats replacing the previous combination of transverse and longitudinal seating in the saloons.

 

 1925.

 

JAN 11     An extension from Strathalbyn Street, Kew, via High Street to Burke Road, East Kew was opened. It was built as double track to Clyde Street and single track from that point to the terminus. Services continued to operate from Hawthorn Bridge, and trams displayed the destination sign 'High St - East Kew'.

 

FEB 1       Double track connecting curves were installed on the south-west corner of Riversdale and Glenferrie Roads, Hawthorn.

 

FEB 7       The Russell Street route was duplicated from Droop Street to Summerhill Road, West Footscray.

 

FEB 20     The Burwood route was duplicated from Bowen Street to Smith Road, Hartwell. A passing loop was installed at the corner of Toorak and Camberwell Roads pending duplication of the remainder of the line.

 

MAR 1      The Brighton Cemetery line was opened from Glenhuntly Road via Hawthorn Road to North Road, South Caulfield, being double track as far as Saturn Street, and single track the short distance to the terminus. Services were provided to Windsor via Dandenong Road, operated from Glenhuntly Depot, although it was originally proposed to run the service to Elsternwick via Glenhuntly Road. A crossover was installed in Hawthorn Road north of Glenhuntly Road.

                                Trackwork provided at South Caulfield Junction included double track connecting curves on the north-west corner for the Darling Road - Point Ormond service, and a single-track connecting curve on the south-west corner, from the ‘down’ Glenhuntly Road track to the ‘down’ Hawthorn Road track, to facilitate traffic from Glenhuntly Depot to Brighton Cemetery.

                                This track arrangement meant that trams returning to Glenhuntly Depot from Brighton Cemetery had to perform a tedious double shunt, first on the north side of the junction in Hawthorn Road, then around the corner on the west side of the junction in Glenhuntly Road.

 

MAR 24    A connecting line was opened from Lygon Street via Brunswick Road, Holden Street, Pilkington Street and Barkly Street to St Georges Road. It was built as double track from Lygon Street to Nicholson Street, and single track from Nicholson Street to St Georges Road. Services from East and West Preston were altered to reach the City by running via Lygon Street and Swanston Street to the Lonsdale Street terminus.

 

MARCH    The Northcote cable line was connected to the Clifton Hill - City line and a through cable car service operated from the City to Northcote.

 

APRIL      The Showgrounds level crossing on the Maribyrnong River line was replaced by grade separation. The crossover on the south side of the railway was removed and replaced by a second crossover on the north side.

 

JUNE        The paint shop and body shop were both completed at the new Preston Workshops. The body shop had fourteen roads, and the paint shop had eight roads, and they were connected by a traverser. On the western side of the paint shop, four tracks fanned out to the access line along the western boundary. This track was connected to the St Georges Road line by a single track junction. The access track continued along the western and northern boundaries to provide a test track.

 

JULY 17   The Holden Street line was duplicated from Nicholson Street to Rae Street.

 

JULY 19   The West Brunswick line was opened, commencing from a City terminus in William Street at Collins Street, and running via William Street, Peel Street, Flemington Road, a private right of way on open ballast track through Royal Park, Grantham Street and Dawson Street to Daly Street, West Brunswick. It was built as double track throughout, with centre poles in Peel Street and William Street. The Peel Street track between Victoria Street and the Haymarket was laid in open ballast in a central reservation. Crossovers were provided at Lonsdale Street, Haymarket, Abbotsford Street (two), and Royal Park Station. The City terminus was a single track asymmetric shunt with a second crossover, similar to the Swanston Street terminus at Lonsdale Street.

 

                The North Melbourne cable car was cut back to Abbotsford Street, and the line via Flemington Road to Flemington Bridge was replaced by electric trams. This allowed the Essendon and Maribyrnong River services to reach the City via the new line to William Street, and also provided access from the West Brunswick line to Essendon Depot which operated the service. The points at the former Flemington Bridge terminus were removed, and a new crossover was installed in Mount Alexander Road at Victoria Street to reduce dead mileage for trams running to and from Maribyrnong River and Essendon Depot.

 

JULY 31   The 'Burke Road' destination (for the Wattletree Road line terminus) was altered to 'East Malvern'. (Not to be confused with the latter day 'East Malvern - Darling Road').

 

AUG 29     The Windsor - St Kilda cable line was closed, this being the first step in the conversion of the St Kilda Road and Swanston Street lines to electric traction.

 

OCT 10     The West Brunswick line was extended from Daly Street via Melville Road to Albion Street, built as double track as far as Hunter Street and single track from there to the terminus.

 

OCT 24     A crossover was installed on the Maribyrnong River line at the corner of Racecourse and Epsom Roads, which provided extra flexibility in the vicinity of the Show Grounds and Flemington Racecourse for special traffic.

 

OCT 31     The St Kilda Beach Via South Melbourne line was opened, built entirely as double track. It commenced from a City terminus at City Road and St Kilda Road, and squiggled along Sturt Street, Eastern Road, Heather Street, Park Street, Clarendon Street, reserved track next to Albert Road, Canterbury Road, Mills Street, Danks Street, Patterson Street, Park Street, Mary Street and Beaconsfield Parade to terminate at Fitzroy Street, St Kilda.

                                The City Road and St Kilda termini were both double track with a crossover, in readiness for connection to the Swanston Street and Esplanade lines respectively upon electrification. Two sidings were provided; one was a 'third road' siding in the Albert Road reserved track outside the South Melbourne Football Ground, and the other was a double track siding with an asymmetric terminus in Mills Street at Albert Park Beach.

                                The service was operated from the new Hanna Street Depot (renamed South Melbourne Depot in 1960) which was opened on the same day. This depot was located in Hanna Street (later Kingsway) between Dorcas Street and Bank Street, and had a nine-road shed with two yard tracks. A single track entrance connected to double tracks in Hanna Street, which in turn connected to the tracks in Sturt Street. Provision was made for an 18-road shed with two double track entrances, but this never came to fruition and the area to be occupied by the second shed was later used as a per-way yard.

                                The St Kilda Beach Via South Melbourne line was originally proposed before the formation of the MMTB, and serious consideration was given by local councils to construct and operate the line. When the MMTB built the line it was envisaged it could be used temporarily to bring the St Kilda trams into the City (and possibly other south-eastern suburbs trams via Balaclava Road) before it was decided that conversion of the St Kilda Road cable routes should be a priority.

 

DEC 26     The Brighton Road to Swanston Street cable line was closed for conversion to electric traction. Toorak and Prahran cable cars continued to operate until Jan 12, 1926 to a temporary terminus at Princes Bridge.

 

DEC 27     The St Kilda Beach - Windsor line was opened, on the route of the former cable tramway. The line ran from Barkly Street, St Kilda, via Acland Street, Esplanade, Fitzroy Street and Wellington Street, joining the existing electric line in Dandenong Road at Windsor. It was built as double track throughout, with double track connections provided to the existing (ex-PMTT) line at Carlisle Street, and to the new St Kilda Beach Via South Melbourne line at Beaconsfield Parade. A crossover was installed on each side of St Kilda Junction, and a crossover was also provided at the former Windsor terminus in Dandenong Road at Chapel Street. The VR Brighton line was crossed at St Kilda Station. Services from Wattletree Road Corner and Brighton Cemetery that had previously terminated at Windsor were extended through to St Kilda Beach.

                                New double track was also constructed from Hanna Street Depot via Hanna Street and Park Street to Domain Road, the track in Hanna Street being open ballast in a central reservation. Temporary double track was laid alongside the cable line in St Kilda Road between Domain Road and St Kilda Junction. This allowed a tram service operated by Hanna Street Depot to run from St Kilda Beach via St Kilda Road, Hanna Street and Sturt Street to City Road, pending conversion of the cable tram track. The MMTB had wanted to lay permanent reserved tracks in St Kilda Road next to the median strip alongside the cable lines, but the Melbourne City Council vetoed the proposal.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                237, 238, 240 - 248, 261 - 264, 266 - 276, 278, 309 - 329, 336, 339 - 342, 346, 348 - 350, 369 - 386, 388 - 392  80 W class trams built by the MMTB at Holden Street Workshops (237, 238, 240 - 248), MMTB at Holden Street and Preston Workshops (339 - 342, 346, 348 - 350), James Moore, Melbourne (261 - 264, 266 - 276, 278, 369 - 386, 388 - 392), and Holdens Body Builders, Adelaide (309 - 329, 336).

                                364  W1 class bogie drop-centre combination tram built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. This was the first of thirty such trams, and featured an open drop-centre section with longitudinal seats which were later modified so they could face outwards in fine weather, or inwards (with blinds drawn) in inclement weather. It was otherwise similar to the W class. 364 was renumbered 422 in 1927 to fit in numerically with later W1 class trams, and No. 422 was completed as a standard W class tram and renumbered 364.

 

                The body of A class 17 was dismantled, and the truck, controllers and other equipment were placed in Hawthorn Depot for use in driver instruction.

 

                Five of the stored ex-NMETL trailer cars were converted to ballast trailers for use during construction of the reserved track in Royal Park on the West Brunswick line. One ex-NMETL trailer was sold to the Melbourne Electric Supply Co. and converted to a Scrubber Car at Geelong (utilising electrical equipment from scrapped Geelong No. 11). Unofficially numbered 13, it ran on the Geelong tramways until the system closed in 1956. The six trailers concerned were from the group 51, 52, 56, 57, 59, 60, but which particular car was sold to Geelong and which were converted to ballast trailers is not known.

 

                All V class 'toastrack' trams (Nos. 212 - 216) were withdrawn from service and used as per-way locomotives for towing ballast trailers.

 

                VR  The two-road No. 1 (southern) shed at Elwood Depot was converted to a workshop, after plans to build a separate workshop on the site were dropped.

 

 1926.

 

JAN 12     The Prahran and Toorak cable trams were truncated to Domain Road due to the ongoing conversion work in St Kilda Road.

 

JAN 24     The Swanston Street track was opened from Lonsdale Street to City Road, replacing the cable car line. It was built as double track with a crossover at Flinders Street, and the two crossovers at the former Lonsdale Street terminus were retained.

                                Services terminating at each end of Swanston Street were now able to be brought right into the City. East and West Preston trams were through-routed to St Kilda Beach Via South Melbourne, operated jointly by Hanna Street Depot and Preston Depot. North Coburg trams were through-routed to St Kilda Beach via St Kilda Road, while Coburg Cemetery trams terminated in the City. Both these routes were jointly operated by Hanna Street Depot and Coburg Depot.

 

MAR 28    The St Kilda Road track between City Road and Domain Road was opened, replacing the cable line. It was built as double track with two crossovers south of City Road. St Kilda Beach trams now ran direct via the full length of St Kilda Road, the diversion via Hanna Street and Sturt Street no longer being necessary. The track from Hanna Street Depot to Domain Road was now used only for depot workings.

 

MAY 9      Permanent double tracks were completed in St Kilda Road between Domain Road and St Kilda Junction, replacing the temporary tracks. A crossover was installed on the south side of Domain Road. One week later, on May 16, the Camberwell (via Gardiner), Glen Iris and East Malvern (both via High Street) routes were extended from their St Kilda Road termini to the City via Swanston Street.

 

MAY 31    A siding in Swanston Street from Franklin Street turning into Victoria Street was opened, allowing services terminating in the City to shunt clear of through trams on the Preston and Coburg routes. The siding was double track with a crossover north of Franklin Street.

 

JULY 5     The Wattle Park line was duplicated from Camberwell Junction to Wattle Valley Road. A crossover was installed east of Camberwell Junction.

 

JULY 10   The East Preston line was duplicated from Bell Street to Gower Street.

 

AUG 28     The Prahran cable line in Chapel Street was closed from Toorak Road in preparation for conversion to electric traction.

 

AUG 29     The Elsternwick - St Kilda Junction line was opened, replacing the Brighton Road cable line together with an extension to Glenhuntly Road, and was built as double track. A crossover was installed at Milton Street (destination ‘Ripponlea’), and a double track connection turning east was provided to the Glenhuntly Road line. Two sets of double track connecting curves were installed at Carlisle Street, on the north-east and south-west corners. The St Kilda Junction trackwork consisted of an ‘H’ crossing plus double track connecting curves on both northern corners. Services were provided from Elsternwick Station, on the existing Glenhuntly Road track, to the City via St Kilda Road and Swanston Street, operated from Glenhuntly Depot with some trips provided by Hanna Street Depot.

 

SEPT 1     VR  An extension of the Sandringham tramway from Black Rock to Beaumaris was opened. It was built entirely as single track with two passing loops, plus a passing loop at the terminus. Like the existing Black Rock section, the new extension wound its way on an inland route via Balcombe Road, Ebden Avenue, Fourth Street, Haydens Road, Pacific Boulevard, Reserve Road and Martin Street to reach the terminus at Tramway Parade.

                                Construction of the Beaumaris extension had been proposed even before the Black Rock section was opened, and Parliamentary approval was given as it was expected much development of the area would follow. The line ran through a very sparsely populated area, and because of this it was referred to by locals as the 'bush tramway'.

 

OCT 1       The Toorak cable line was closed in preparation for conversion to electric traction.

 

OCT 18     The remaining portion of the line from Holden Street to Barkly Street, North Fitzroy was duplicated. A crossover was installed in Barkly Street at St Georges Road.

 

OCT 31     The Chapel Street line was extended south from Toorak Road to Windsor Railway Station, built as double track along the former cable route. Crossovers were installed on the north side of both High Street and Toorak Road. The connection to the cable car depot at Toorak Road was removed, it no longer being required following closure of the Prahran and Toorak cable routes.

 

NOV 29     Part-time driver-only operation was introduced on the Point Ormond line at slack times. When the service was driver-only operated it ran as a shuttle to Elsternwick Station; at other times two-person trams continued to operate through to Darling Road.

                                The Point Ormond driver-only service was operated using some new X1 class trams, three of which were allocated to Glenhuntly Depot:

                                461 - 466  Six X1 class single-truck saloon 'safety' trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. These trams were a local adaptation of the ‘Birney’ design, retaining the 'deadman' safety equipment but featuring two doors per side. Although often stated as being the first trams painted in the new green and cream livery, research suggests that most of the class (i.e. those built before November 1927) probably entered service in the chocolate and cream colour scheme.

 

DEC 1       The Glenhuntly Road line was duplicated from Laura Street to the west side of the Glenhuntly railway crossing.

 

DEC 19     The Chapel Street line was extended south from Windsor Station to Brighton Road. It was built as double track, with crossovers on the south side of Dandenong Road, on the north side of Carlisle Street and at Brighton Road. The points at Windsor Station were removed. Double track connecting curves were provided at Carlisle Street on the north-west corner and at the Brighton Road terminus. Trams showed the destination 'Prahran' (somewhat misleading as that suburb was a few miles further north). Services to Prahran were provided from both Princes Bridge and North Richmond. Operation of the Princes Bridge route was transferred from Hawthorn Depot to Glenhuntly Depot, while Hawthorn Depot continued to operate the North Richmond route.

 

                The Glenhuntly Road line was extended from Grange Road to Murrumbeena, via Glenhuntly and Truganini Roads, terminating at Koornang Road. It was built as single track with passing loops on the east side of the Glenhuntly railway crossing and at Yendon Road. Services were provided to Elsternwick operated from Glenhuntly Depot.

 

  ~~~        The engineering shop, equipment store and foundry were completed at Preston Workshops. The temporary Holden Street Workshops were closed, and all equipment was transferred to the new Preston Workshops. The engineering shop had 14 roads, connected to the body shop by a traverser. A separate track, south of the body and paint shops, was provided to the equipment store for future use by a freight car to distribute various materials to depots.

 

                New trams:

                                277, 330 - 335, 337, 338, 343 - 345, 347, 351 - 363, 365 - 368, 393 - 410, 412  49 W class trams built by the MMTB at Holden Street and Preston Workshops (343 - 345, 347, 351 - 363, 365 - 368), MMTB at Preston Workshops (399 - 410, 412), James Moore, Melbourne (277, 387, 393 - 398) and Holdens Body Builders, Adelaide (330 - 335, 337, 338).

                                419, 426, 429  Three W1 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

 

                A class 7 was converted to a Scraper Car, retaining the same number. What 'Scraper Car' means is uncertain, as details of the conversion are unavailable. General consensus amongst gunzels is that the tram was used to clean rail grooves.

 

 1927.

 

JAN          All four O class trams, Nos. 127 - 130, were sold to the Municipal Tramways Trust (MTT), Adelaide, becoming their D class Nos. 193, 191, 194 and 192 respectively. The O class were almost identical to the MTT’s fleet of 50 D class trams (Nos. 121 - 170). They ran in Adelaide until 1958.

 

FEB 2       A single track connecting line was built between Haymarket and the Victoria Street terminus of the Swanston Street lines, connecting the isolated Essendon Depot routes to the main system. Track was laid in the western carriageway of Elizabeth Street, as cable lines occupied the centre road. No services were provided over the connection, the track being used solely for rolling stock transfer. This connection was intended as an interim measure pending conversion of the Elizabeth Street cable line, and left the Footscray routes as the only isolated tracks on the MMTB system.

 

APR 17     The Toorak line was opened from St Kilda Road via Domain Road, Park Street and Toorak Road to Orrong Road. The line replaced the cable tram route, with an extension from the former cable terminus at Irving Street to Orrong Road. Built as double track, crossovers were installed in Domain Road at St Kilda Road, in Toorak Road east of Chapel Street and at the Orrong Road terminus. Services were provided to the City via Swanston Street utilising the existing St Kilda Road track, and operated by Hanna Street Depot. The destination used was ‘Orrong Rd - Toorak’, which was later altered to ‘Toorak - Orrong Rd’.

 

                The Elsternwick - City via Swanston Street service was through-routed to East Coburg, operated jointly by Coburg Depot, Hanna Street Depot and Glenhuntly Depot. About this time the ‘Coburg Cem’ destination was renamed ‘East Coburg’.

 

APRIL      Rolling stock classification had been simplified: Single-truck drop-end combination trams of the A, B, H, J, M and S classes were grouped together as A class, single-truck straight-sill trams of the F, G, K, Q and R classes were grouped together as G class, and maximum-traction bogie trams of the C, D, E, N and P classes were grouped together as C class. (As an aid to identifying tram types, and in accordance with common gunzel practice, this work will continue to distinguish the trams by their original class).

 

MAY 2      The East Coburg line was duplicated from Moreland Road to Crozier Street, with a crossover provided outside Coburg Depot. This enabled trams running out of the depot to gain access to the 'up' (or City-bound) track, as the depot track was only connected to the 'down' line.

 

MAY 8      The Toorak line was extended from Orrong Road via Toorak Road to Glenferrie Road. It was built as double track with a crossover at the terminus and double track connecting curves turning south onto the Glenferrie Road line.

 

MAY 12    After only a few months operation of the Glenhuntly Road extension, the ‘Murrumbeena’ destination was renamed ‘Carnegie’.

 

MAY 15    The West Brunswick line was extended from Albion Street via Melville Road to Moreland Road, built as double track with a crossover at the terminus. (The existing section of track between Hunter Street and Albion Street was still single).

 

                The city end of the Richmond cable line in Flinders Street was truncated to Swanston Street, and the section from that point to Spencer Street was closed in preparation for conversion to electric traction.

 

JUNE 26   The West Brunswick line was extended from Moreland Road via Melville Road to West Coburg, terminating at Bell Street. It was built as double track to Reynard Street, and single track with a passing loop to the terminus.

 

JUNE 28   The West Preston line was duplicated along Miller Street from St Georges Road to Gilbert Road. A facing crossover was installed in St Georges Road for East Preston trams to access the single track over the 'Hump' bridge.

 

JUNE 29   The Richmond cable line was closed entirely, pending conversion to electric traction.

 

JUNE        New tram:

                                469  Y class tram built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. A bogie, front and centre door saloon tram, the design saw wide use overseas (known as ‘Peter Witt’ cars), but this was the first of its type in Australia. Intended as a tourist tram, it commenced service as such on September 16 on a route covering the eastern and southern suburbs. It operated from Hawthorn Depot, with an X1 class tram being used as a spare. The tourist tram service lasted only a few years, being discontinued as a result of the economic depression. In addition to its tourist tram role, 469 had always been available for normal passenger duties, and, following the demise of the tourist service, operated from Hawthorn Depot and later Camberwell Depot mainly on the Batman Avenue routes.

 

JULY 14   The first stage of the Richmond cable line conversion was opened, from Swanston Street via Flinders Street and Spencer Street to Lonsdale Street, including a short extension from the former cable car terminus at Bourke Street. It was built as double track with crossovers west of Swanston Street, south of Bourke Street and south of Lonsdale Street. A single track connecting curve was installed at Swanston Street on the south-west corner, providing access to and from Hanna Street Depot. This enabled an interim shuttle service to be operated pending conversion of the remainder of the Richmond cable line.

 

JULY 25   The Mont Albert line was duplicated from Wharton Street to the terminus.

 

AUG 7      The short remaining single track section of the West Coburg line, from Hunter Street to Albion Street in West Brunswick, was duplicated.

 

AUG 22     The West Preston line was duplicated in Gilbert Road from Miller Street to Bell Street.

 

SEP 9       A crossover was installed at Kew Depot in High Street, north of Barkers Road.

 

SEP 17     The next stage of the Richmond cable line conversion was opened, from Swanston Street via Flinders Street and Wellington Parade to Simpson Street, East Melbourne. It was built as double track with a crossover east of Swanston Street and at Simpson Street. At this stage trams only ran for football and racecourse traffic, operated from Hanna Street Depot. (A temporary bus service was still operating over the Richmond cable line while the remainder of the conversion work was still in progress).

 

OCT 13     The railway crossing in Nicholson Street, Footscray, on the Williamstown Road route, was replaced by grade separation.

 

OCT 14     On the High Street East Kew line, the ‘Strathalbyn St’ destination was altered to ‘Kew’.

 

OCT 20     The Glen Iris line was duplicated from Tooronga Road to the terminus, with a crossover being provided at Tooronga Road.

 

                The Burwood line was duplicated from Smith Road to Through Road, a crossover being provided at Smith Road (destination 'Hartwell').

 

OCT 28     The entrance to Glenhuntly Depot was duplicated.

 

NOV 3      The East Preston line was duplicated from the east side of the ‘hump’ bridge to the existing double track at Bell Street. A passing loop was installed on the west side of the ‘Hump’ bridge, and a crossover was installed at Bell Street.

 

NOV         W2 453 was the last new tram routinely painted chocolate and cream. From this point on, a new green and cream livery became standard.

 

DEC 4       The final stage of the Richmond cable line conversion was opened, from Simpson Street via Bridge Road to Hawthorn Bridge. The line was built as double track with a crossover on the west side of Hawthorn Bridge. The High Street East Kew service was extended via the new line into the City via Flinders Street and Spencer Street to the Lonsdale Street terminus, operated from Kew Depot. The Power Street to Bridge Road shuttle service was discontinued and replaced by a through service from Hawthorn to Spencer Street, operated from Hawthorn Depot.

                                The two Birney trams (X class 217 & 218) which had operated the Hawthorn shuttle service were transferred to Hanna Street Depot.

 

DEC 23     The Wattle Park line was duplicated from Wattle Valley Road to Middlesex Road, a crossover being provided at Wattle Valley Road (destination ‘Riversdale’).

 

DEC 24     The East Preston line was duplicated from Gower Street to Wood Street.

 

DEC 26     A summer service commenced operation by extending the North Richmond - Prahran route to Point Ormond, using newly installed curves at the corner of Glenhuntly and Brighton Roads, Elsternwick, which formed a triangular junction. Intended to cater for projected beach traffic to Point Ormond, this service operated on Sundays and public holidays only until April 8, 1928.

                                Also about this time, a Sunday summer service was provided by extending the St Kilda Beach Via South Melbourne route from its terminus at Fitzroy Street via the Esplanade to Luna Park. It too was discontinued on April 8, 1928.

 

  ~~~        Preston Workshops was completed with the opening of the truck shop, machine shop, blacksmith shop and an administration block. A branch from the access track to the store reached around the eastern boundary to the foundry and blacksmith shop. Various other storage and shunting tracks were added to the yard in ensuing years.

 

                The proposed conversion of the Collins Street cable line to electric traction was postponed due to a lack of finance, as the work would have involved four routes. A plan for quick conversion of the Victoria Street cable line was devised which envisaged running Mont Albert trams via that line and into the City via Bourke Street. This would have required diverting the Clifton Hill cable line at Gertrude and Brunswick Streets corner and running it into the City via Collins Street, and truncating the Nicholson Street cable line at Victoria Parade. Nothing eventuated of this proposal.

 

                New trams:

                                411, 413 - 418, 422  Eight W class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. 422 was renumbered 364, and the original 364 (W1 class) was renumbered 422.

                                420, 421, 423 - 425, 427, 428, 430 - 438  16 W1 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

                                439 - 458  20 W2 class bogie drop-centre combination trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. These trams featured a revised drop-centre section with one narrow and two wide doorways, and back to back seating. They were an improvement on the W design, which was found to have circulation and loading problems caused by the equal width doorways and seating layout, which encouraged standing passengers to block the doorways by leaning against the bulkheads and seat backs.

                                467, 468  Two X1 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

 

                A class No. 8 was converted to a Scrubber Car (later re-numbered 3).

 

                Un-numbered works trams were re-numbered in a separate roster with an 'A' suffix after the number. Trams affected were:

                1A u Ex MBCTT Flusher car (later No. 5)

                3A u Ex PMTT Track Cleaner (later No. 6)

                8A u Workshops Loco (later No. 18)

 

                Per-way Locomotives 214 and 216 (former V class passenger trams) were converted to Freight Car 2A and Ballast Motor 4A respectively (later re-numbered 17 & 11). The Freight Car was used for transporting materials between the Preston Workshops and the various depots (except Footscray).

 

 1928.

 

MAR 28    The West Preston line was duplicated from Bell Street to Jacka Street, with a crossover provided at Bell Street.

 

APR 8       The summer service on Sundays and public holidays from North Richmond to Point Ormond and St Kilda Beach Via South Melbourne to Luna Park was discontinued.

 

APR 13     Kew Depot was enlarged: an additional six-road shed was constructed on the north side of the existing shed. An outside road was also provided, which was connected to the 'down' track in High Street as a second depot exit.

 

MAY 25    The Maribyrnong River line was duplicated from Union Road to Hotham Street, Ascot Vale (at the commencement of the long passing loop). The corner of Maribyrnong and Union Roads remained single track due to inadequate clearance with a corner building.

 

JUNE 11   The crossover in City Road at St Kilda Road was relocated around the corner into Sturt Street.

 

JUNE 24   A connecting line was opened in Wattletree Road from Dandenong Road to Glenferrie Road, built as double track with the existing curves at Glenferrie Road retained. East Malvern trams were diverted to operate via the new line in lieu of High Street, which provided a City service in Dandenong Road. The Wattletree Road Corner - St Kilda Beach via Dandenong Road service was discontinued, while the Brighton Cemetery - St Kilda Beach via Dandenong Road service continued to operate as before.

 

JUNE 30   On the Footscray system, the Ballarat Road line was duplicated for nearly its entire length from Barkly Street to May Street. This was a prerequisite for increased headways due to driver-only operation of the route, which commenced the following day. The service frequency was almost doubled, and the through-routing altered so that Williamstown Road trams ran to Russell Street, and Ballarat Road trams terminated at Footscray Railway Station.

                                Six of the new X1 class 'safety’ trams, Nos. 461 - 466, were sent to Footscray Depot for use on the route, replacing A class trams 2, 4, 18 & 20 which were subsequently scrapped. (Prior to this X1 class trams were allocated to Glenhuntly Depot for use on the Point Ormond line and various other cross-suburban routes, and to Hawthorn Depot for use on the since discontinued Power Street - Bridge Road shuttle and as relief tourist trams for Y class 469).

 

JULY 1     The Wattle Park line was extended from Boundary (later Warrigal) Road via Riversdale Road to Elgar Road. It was built as single track with a passing loop about halfway along, plus a passing loop at the former Boundary Road terminus.

 

JULY 3     A passing loop was installed at Edna Grove near the East Coburg terminus.

 

JULY 19   The two crossovers in Swanston Street north of Lonsdale Street (a remnant of the former terminus) were replaced by a single crossover in Swanston Street south of La Trobe Street. Trams continued to show ‘Lonsdale St’ destination signs, a practice that continued into the late 1990's on some trams.

 

JULY 28   A double track siding was installed in Wellington Parade at Simpson Street, East Melbourne, to cater for sporting traffic.

 

AUG 8      The crossover in Swanston Street north of Victoria Street was relocated a short distance to the south side of Queensberry Street.

 

AUG         W class tram 284 was converted to the W2 design. The W2 class drop-centre layout was considered a success, and a decision was made to convert every W class tram to the improved W2 design, all being converted by 1933.

 

NOV 30     The Essendon line was duplicated in Fletcher Street from Pascoe Vale Road to the Essendon Railway Station.

 

NOV         Thee three remaining ex-NMETL trailer cars, Nos 53 - 55, were scrapped.

 

DEC 19     Route numbers were introduced. Initially some W class trams had route numbers mounted on the roof in the centre over the leading entrance, and operated on the Elsternwick - East Coburg line as a trial. These were replaced by route number boxes of an improved design on the tram ends from March 1929, which subsequently became standard.

                                Previously, route numbers were used on the ex-PMTT and ex-HTT lines but were since discontinued. Route numbers were gradually allocated and altered over the years, full details of which can be found in Appendix 1.

 

DEC 23     A revised summer service was introduced: North Richmond - Prahran trams were diverted via Carlisle Street to St Kilda Beach at night and on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. This service was operated until the following April and was considered to be a success (unlike the Point Ormond trial the previous summer). It was planned to resume the service every summer, and over the years the North Richmond service was altered to operate to St Kilda Beach at night and weekends and to Prahran at other times.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                470 - 479  Ten W1 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

                                480 - 544, 546 - 547  67 W2 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops (480 - 494, 525 - 544, 546, 547), and James Moore, Melbourne (495 - 524).

                                459, 460  Two X1 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops, bringing the total number of X1 class trams to 10.

                                6A  Rail Grinder built by Austral Otis (later No. 1). This vehicle was fitted with a power plant and grinding mechanism for removing corrugations and irregularities from trackwork. It usually operated at night after the last trams had run so as to allow total track occupation.

 

                Seven J class trams, Nos. 64 - 68, 71 and 75 were sold to the Melbourne Electric Supply Company for use on the Geelong tramways, being re-numbered as follows:

                64 u Geelong 26

                65 u Geelong 28 (later Ballarat 11)

                66 u Geelong 25 (later re-numbered 28)

                67 u Geelong 24

                68 u Geelong 30 (later Ballarat 13)

                71 u Geelong 27 (later Ballarat 12)

                75 u Geelong 29 (later Ballarat 14)

                (For further details see Appendix 3)

 

                A class 13 was scrapped (in addition to the four ex-Footscray A class trams in July).

 

                H class 56 was modified for towing a trailer fitted with rail hardening equipment, and re-classified as a Rail Hardener Loco (later No. 16).

 

                J class 70 was scrapped.

 

                The remaining Per-way Locomotives 212, 213 and 215 (former V class passenger trams) were scrapped.

 

                X class ‘Birney’ trams 217 & 218 were transferred from Hanna Street Depot to Glenhuntly Depot for operation on the Point Ormond - Elsternwick shuttle service. This freed some X1 class trams to be available for use at Footscray.

 

                Three W class trams were converted to W2 class: 256, 293, and 377 (in addition to 284 converted in August).

 

                All T class trams (177 - 182) had bulkheads fitted to provide enclosed drivers cabins, thus separating the drivers area from the passenger seats on the end platforms.

 

                VR  Repainting of trams in a new green and cream livery commenced. Initially the trams featured cream rocker panels, but this was later altered to all green below the windows. All bogie trams were repainted by 1930, and the remaining single-truck trams were completed by 1938, except No. 20 which was converted to a breakdown tram in 1929 and retained the old colour scheme.

 

 1929.

 

jan 1       The southernmost of the two crossovers in St Kilda Road at City Road was removed.

 

JAN 16     New works tram:

                                5A  Bogie Track Cleaner tram, built by the MMTB (later No. 7, and later No. 7W). Construction of this tram enabled the Scraper Car (ex-A class No. 7) to be withdrawn and stored.

 

JAN 29     The Gaffney Street loop on the North Coburg line was extended to the last curve before the terminus, north of Charles Street.

 

MAR 23    Preston Depot was enlarged with the addition of a five-road shed on the east side of the existing shed.

 

MAR 31    The Essendon line was duplicated in Mount Alexander Road North from Shamrock Street to Bulla Road. The track was relocated from the western roadway to a central reservation and laid in open ballast with centre poles.

 

APR 13     The East Preston line was duplicated from St Georges Road to the west side of the ‘Hump’ bridge, including a new junction arrangement at Thornbury.

 

MAY 16    On the Footscray system, the Williamstown Road line was duplicated from Gamon Street to the terminus, to allow a more frequent service to operate upon introduction of driver-only operation.

 

MAY 29    A signal box was commissioned at Franklin Street to facilitate shunting of trams at the City terminus of the Swanston Street routes.

 

JUNE 9     Driver-only operation was introduced on the Williamstown Road line. This service reverted to running through to Ballarat Road (already driver-only since July 1928). Russell Street trams once again terminated at Footscray Railway Station, this now being the sole two-person operated route on the Footscray system. The 'Pay as You Enter' fare system was altered to 'Pay As You Enter' on trips to Footscray Station, and 'Pay As You Leave' on trips from Footscray to expedite passenger loading.

                                Four extra X1 class 'safety' trams were allocated to Footscray Depot for the service (Nos. 459, 460, 467 and 468). A class trams 11 and 14 were withdrawn and scrapped.

 

JUNE 30   Mont Albert trams were diverted from Victoria Bridge to operate to the City via Bridge Road, Flinders Street and Spencer Street, sharing the route of the High Street East Kew service, as an interim measure pending conversion of the Victoria Street cable line. St Kilda Beach trams from Glenferrie Road continued to terminate at Victoria Bridge.

 

JUNE        K class 96 was converted to Scrubber Car 9A (later No. 4).

 

JULY 13   The Victoria Bridge to Brunswick Street cable line was closed for conversion to electric traction.

 

AUG 1      Tram tracks were installed on the rebuilt Spencer Street Bridge over the Yarra River, in preparation for the planned South Melbourne line (eventually opened in 1937).

 

AUG 4      Maribyrnong River trams were re-routed via a new direct double track line along Racecourse Road from Victoria Street to Flemington Road. The Victoria Street line from Racecourse Road to Mount Alexander Road was closed, and the crossover in Mount Alexander Road at Victoria Street was removed and relocated to Flemington Road at Racecourse Road.

 

SEP 14     The Collins Street cable line was closed, in preparation for conversion to electric traction. The Brunswick Street cable line was truncated at Victoria Parade, and the Port Melbourne and South Melbourne cable lines terminated in Market Street.

 

SEP 15     An electric line was opened from Victoria Bridge via Victoria Street and Victoria Parade to Brunswick Street, replacing the cable tram route. It was built as double track, and crossovers were installed at Victoria Bridge and Brunswick Street. The track in Victoria Parade was open ballast in a central reservation, the cable line having run along the northern roadway.

                                Pending conversion of the Collins Street track, an interim service was provided by extending St Kilda Beach - Victoria Bridge trams to Brunswick Street. Crews were instructed to show 'Victoria Bge' destinations from St Kilda, and alter them to 'Brunswick St' on arrival at Kew. On return trips, 'St Kilda Bch Via Balaclava Road' (which had replaced the 'Esplanade' destination sign) was to be shown upon leaving Brunswick Street.

 

SEP 24     A single track connecting curve was installed from the North Richmond terminus in Church Street turning east into Victoria Street, together with a facing crossover in Victoria Street.

 

DEC 8       The Collins Street line was opened, replacing the cable tram line. It was built as double track, with crossovers at Gisborne Street and Elizabeth Street, and two crossovers at the dead-end Spencer Street terminus. Mont Albert trams were diverted to run via Victoria Street and into the City via Collins Street. The St Kilda Beach service from Glenferrie Road was truncated to the Cotham Road corner.

 

                Camberwell Depot was opened. It was built to cater for expanding traffic in the eastern suburbs, and to relieve pressure on Hawthorn Depot, Malvern Depot and Glenhuntly Depot. Located off Riversdale Road west of Camberwell Junction, it consisted of nine roads, all under cover. The depot had double track access to Riversdale Road by a triangular junction that connected both access tracks by trailing points to only one track in each direction. This avoided use of facing points in Riversdale Road, however trams running in from either direction had to shunt before entering the depot.

                                Provision was made for expansion of the depot by another nine roads, and, if a proposed line from Camberwell Junction to Hawthorn Bridge via Burwood Road was built, a northern entrance would be provided to Camberwell Road. This never occurred.

                                Services were re-organised so that Camberwell Depot, rather than Hawthorn Depot, now operated the majority of runs on the Wattle Park and Burwood routes. As a consequence, operation of the Prahran - Princes Bridge route was transferred back to Hawthorn Depot from Glenhuntly Depot. Also, operation of the Camberwell (via Gardiner) to City via Swanston Street route was transferred from Malvern Depot to Camberwell Depot.

 

  ~~~        A new nine-road running shed was constructed at Malvern Depot, on the north side of Coldblo Road on the site of the former workshop. Also, a double track triangular junction to Glenferrie Road was installed with the same curious arrangement as that just provided at Camberwell Depot.

 

                New trams:

                                545, 548 - 596  50 W2 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

                                7A  A second Rail Grinder built by Austral Otis (later No. 2). A small two-road shed was built in the Hanna Street Depot per-way yard to house the two Rail Grinders.

 

                The ten U class trams were receiving modifications during the 1920's. All were fitted with windshields and destination boxes (some standard, others 'Malvern' type as used by the PMTT). Five trams were fitted with platform doors (Nos. 202, 205, 206, 209 & 211). This modernisation program was halted when construction of new X2 class 'safety' trams was planned. Up until this point the entire U class had been allocated to Essendon Depot. The five trams not fitted with platform doors, Nos. 203, 204, 207, 208 and 210, were scrapped, however No. 208 remained on site in a derelict state 'off-register' until 1945.

 

                19 other single-truck trams were scrapped:

§ A class 10 and 12;

§ Both F class trams Nos. 46 and 47;

§ G class 49 and 51;

§ H class 54, 55, 57 and 58;

§ J class 69, 72, 77, 78, 80 and 81;

§ B class 21 and 23;

§ K class 100.

 

                37 W class trams were converted to W2 class: 225, 227, 228, 233, 240, 244, 247, 248, 261, 275, 276, 306, 309, 312, 321 - 324, 329 - 336, 340, 341, 344, 345, 370, 376, 380, 387 and 395 - 397.

 

                VR  Two of the three Elwood crossbench trams were withdrawn. No. 19 was scrapped, and No. 20 was converted to a Breakdown Car. Externally the appearance of No. 20 did not change, and it was the only tram to retain the old Tuscan red colour scheme, all other VR trams being repainted green by 1938.

 

 1930.

 

JAN          Scraper Car 7 (former A class car) was scrapped. Its function had been taken over by new Track Cleaner 5A in January 1929.

 

JUNE 30   A single track connecting curve was installed from Batman Avenue terminus into Swanston Street.

 

JULY 12   The Fitzroy cable line along Brunswick Street was closed in preparation for conversion to electric traction.

 

JLY-AUG  All Footscray system trams were fitted with graphite lubricated trolley shoes. These were removed in 1940.

 

AUG 29     Driver-only operation on the Footscray lines had proved successful, and it was therefore decided that the remaining route to Russell Street should be converted. In preparation for the more frequent service, the track was duplicated from Summerhill Road to Clarke Street.

 

AUG         The Malvern Depot fan on roads 3 - 6 in the old shed was altered to provide improved clearance for bogie trams.

 

SEP 6       A crossover was installed in Brunswick Road at Lygon Street.

 

SEP 13     Driver-only operation was introduced to the Russell Street route. Fare boxes were fitted to all Footscray trams at this time, but were removed in 1936.

 

                Six new trams were built, five being allocated to Footscray Depot to cater for the expanded driver-only operation:

                                674 - 679  Six X2 class single-truck saloon 'safety' trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. Based on the X1 and Y1 class designs, these trams had only one door per side and a sloping windscreen to reduce interior reflection. All of these trams entered service at Footscray Depot, except 675, which remained on the main system. Curiously, 674 was issued to traffic painted chocolate and cream, the only X2 so treated, at a time when the green and cream livery was already standard.

                                The X2 class owes its existence to an order of Y1 class trams being built concurrently. When the order for Y1 class trams was curtailed, the opportunity was taken to utilise some of the components to construct the X2 class. This in turn caused the U class modernisation program to be abandoned, which led to the withdrawal of unmodernised U class trams in 1929. The X2 class were the last single-truck trams to be built for Melbourne.

                                A class trams 3, 15 and 19 at Footscray were subsequently withdrawn and scrapped following the introduction of the X2 class.

 

OCT 26     The Brunswick Street line was opened, from Victoria Parade via Brunswick Street and St Georges Road to Barkly Street, North Fitzroy, replacing the cable tram. It was built as double track with crossovers at Victoria Parade, Alfred Crescent and Barkly Street, and crossed the Inner Circle railway on the level. A proposed loop line siding along Best Street and Alfred Crescent for Fitzroy football ground traffic was never built.

                                East and West Preston trams were diverted to run over this new line to the City via Collins Street, operated by Preston Depot. A shuttle service was introduced along Brunswick Road and Holden Street between Lygon Street and St Georges Road, also operated from Preston Depot. The shuttle provided a service on that section of track previously used to bring Preston trams into the City via Lygon Street and Swanston Street.

                                Three of the five remaining U class trams, Nos. 205, 209 and 211, were allocated to Preston Depot to operate the Holden Street shuttle service. The other two U class trams, 202 and 206, remained in storage.

                                Consequently, alterations were made to Swanston Street services. St Kilda Beach Via South Melbourne trams now ran through to East Coburg instead of East and West Preston, jointly operated by Hanna Street Depot and Coburg Depot. Elsternwick trams now terminated in the City (with some trips continuing to run through to East Coburg or East Brunswick during peak periods), operated by Glenhuntly Depot with peak period assistance from Hanna Street Depot. (North Coburg trams continued to operate to St Kilda Beach via St Kilda Road as before).

 

NOV 15     The ‘St Kilda Bch Via Sth Melb’ destination sign was altered to ‘South Melb & St Kilda Beach’.

 

DEC 10     The crossover in Lygon Street at Albion Street, East Brunswick, was removed.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                597 - 609, 624 - 650  30 W2 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

                                610 - 613  Four Y1 class bogie front and centre door saloon trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops, to an improved design based on Y class 469. Planned to be utilised for driver-only operation as required, they were not used as such except on some all-night services in later years. Ten further trams (Nos. 614 - 623) were proposed but not built due to higher construction costs, a lack of finance due to the prevailing economic depression, and union opposition due to their potential use as driver-only vehicles. The allocated numbers were left blank in the rolling stock roster. Some components from these proposed trams were used in the construction of the X2 class. All four trams were allocated to Hanna Street Depot.

                                654  W3 class bogie drop-centre combination tram built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. The W3 class had a similar layout to the W2 class, but featured an all-steel frame and large 33 inch wheels in an attempt to reduce noise.

 

                Thirty W class trams were converted to W2 class: 219, 224, 229, 230, 263, 273, 280, 301, 308, 314, 320, 337, 338, 346, 348, 356, 360, 362, 363, 368, 369, 399, 402, 404 - 406, 408, 410, 411 and 417.

 

                Ten M class trams, Nos. 107 - 116, were sold to the Electric Supply Company of Victoria for use on their provincial tramways, being re-numbered as follows:

                107 u Bendigo 19 (later re-numbered 12)

                108 u Ballarat 24

                109 u Bendigo 13

                110 u Ballarat 25 (later Bendigo 6)

                111 u Ballarat 26

                112 u Bendigo 10

                113 u Ballarat 28

                114 u Bendigo 3

                115 u Bendigo 2

                116 u Ballarat 27

                (For further details see Appendix 3)

 

                13 single-truck trams were scrapped:

§ A class 16;

§ B class 22, 24, 87 and 88;

§ G class 53;

§ H class 61 and 62;

§ K class 92, 94, 95, 97 and 98.

 

                VR  Elwood crossbench tram No. 21 was scrapped.

 

 1931.

 

JAN-MAR  U class trams 205, 209 and 211 were fitted with bow collectors as a trial, operating on the Holden Street shuttle service. (211 was fitted in January, 209 in February and 205 in March.)

 

MAR 17    A crossover was installed in Riversdale Road east of Power Street for use by trams on the Hawthorn route running to and from Hawthorn Depot.

 

JUNE 11   A second single track connecting curve was installed at Camberwell Junction, on the south-west corner to improve access to Camberwell Depot from the Burke Road line.

 

JULY 2     A crossover was installed in Burke Road on the south side of Camberwell Junction. This reduced dead mileage for trams operating from Camberwell terminus to Camberwell Depot, as they no longer had to run to Leura Grove to shunt.

 

JULY        Ten single-truck trams (four B class, 1 H class and 5 J class) were sold to the Electric Supply Company of Victoria for use on their provincial tramways, being re-numbered as follows:

                B 84 u Bendigo 16

                B 86 u Bendigo 14

                B 89 u Ballarat 20

                B 90 u Bendigo 7

                H 63 u Ballarat 18

                J 73 u Ballarat 17

                J 76 u Ballarat 19 (later Bendigo 7)

                J 79 u Bendigo 6

                J 82 u Ballarat 16

                J 83 u Bendigo 4

                (For further details see Appendix 3)

 

SEP 1       VR  The Black Rock - Beaumaris 'bush tramway' was closed after only five years of operation, due to extremely poor patronage caused by a lack of development in the area served. The trams ran mostly empty except during summer weekends, and traversed desolate land surrounded by scrub and bushes with very little housing.

                                Local councils were obliged to cover any operating losses on the line for the first five years - once the payments ceased, the VR were not prepared to accept any ongoing losses, and consequently the line was closed. Crossbench tram No. 25 ran the last trip on this extension which was many years ahead of its time. The track was not removed until 1939.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                651 - 653  Three W2 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. 653, the last W2 tram to be constructed, entered service on June 3.

                                655 - 659  Five W3 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

 

                65 W class trams were converted to W2 class: 220, 222, 223, 226, 231, 234, 235, 238, 243, 245, 246, 249, 253, 254, 259, 262, 267, 270 - 272, 274, 278, 279, 281, 282, 285, 288 - 290, 295, 297, 298, 302, 303, 315, 325, 339, 342, 347, 352, 354, 355, 357, 358, 364 - 366, 371, 374, 375, 379, 381, 382, 384, 386, 388, 391 - 394, 400, 407 and 412 - 414.

 

                Ten single-truck trams were scrapped:

§  Footscray A class 1, 5, 6 and 9;

§  B class 85 and 91;

§  G class 50;

§  H class 59 and 60;

§  J class 74.

 

 1932.

 

FEB 13     A short section of the Essendon line was duplicated in Pascoe Vale Road from Buckley Street to Fletcher Street, with a crossover provided south of Fletcher Street. Road widening, relocation and duplication of the tram track under the Essendon railway bridge was also completed, and a crossover was installed in Fletcher Street east of Napier Street.

 

FEB          A siding was installed from Burke Road near Harris Avenue into an old creek bed area to the north of Gardiners Creek, to enable works trams to obtain supplies of sand. The siding was single track, with a trailing connection to the 'down' Burke Road line, and the nature of its construction was such that it could be shifted within the creek bed area according to need. It was removed during World War 2.

 

MAY         An additional open road was installed in Essendon Depot.

 

NOV         The track under the Caulfield railway bridge on the Darling Road line was re-laid, with one track passing on each side of the centre pylon. Previously, both tracks passed on the east side of the pylon.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                660 - 662  Three W3 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

 

                61 W class trams were converted to W2 class: 221, 232, 236, 237, 239, 241, 242, 250 - 252, 255, 257, 258, 260, 265, 266, 269, 277, 283, 286, 287, 291, 292, 294, 296, 299, 300, 304, 305, 307, 310, 311, 313, 316 - 318, 326 - 328, 343, 349 - 351, 353, 359, 361, 367, 372, 373, 378, 383, 385, 389, 390, 398, 401, 403, 409, 415, 416 and 418.

 

                The two remaining G class trams, Nos. 48 and 52, were scrapped.

 

                The ex-MBCTT Flusher car, No. 1A (later No. 5) was converted to a Scrubber Car.

 

                VR  Single-truck combination tram No. 1 was converted to a Scrubber Car.

 

 1933.

 

FEB          The final three W class trams were converted to W2 class: 264, 268 and 319. All 200 W class trams were now converted to the improved W2 design, 268 being the last car treated in February, 264 and 319 being converted in January.

 

APRIL      VR  MMTB Y1 class tram 613 was loaned to the Victorian Railways and ran on the Sandringham - Black Rock line, to test possible driver-only operation of the route during off-peak hours. It was returned to the MMTB in May. The experiment was a success, and plans were formulated to convert two VR bogie trams to a layout similar to that of the Y1 class.

 

AUG         U class 202 was converted to a Breakdown Car, although it saw use mainly as a spare Freight Car.

 

NOV 25     A crossover was installed in Lygon Street on the south side of the Inner Circle railway at Park Street.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                663 - 664  Two W3 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

                                670  W4 class bogie drop-centre combination tram built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. It was originally intended that 20 W3 class trams would be built, but the last four trams were built to the new W4 design. This design was developed to make use of the large 33 inch wheels of the W3 class while eliminating the high steps. The lower step height was achieved by using a wider body set lower around the trucks. This necessitated the drop-centre section curving inwards to allow the running board to remain within the loading gauge. Seats in the saloons were arranged in transverse back-to-back pairs, which were boxed in because of the large wheels protruding above floor level.

 

 1934.

 

JAN 8       The track across the Glenhuntly railway crossing on the Carnegie line was duplicated, from the end of the double track on the west side to the passing loop on the east side. A crossover was installed on the west side.

 

MAY         The W4 class order was extended by one tram, making a total of five trams. Consequently X2 class 674 was re-numbered 680 to allow all W4 class trams to be numbered consecutively as 670 - 674, and all X2 class trams to be numbered 675 - 680. 674, being the only chocolate and cream X2 class tram, was repainted green and cream when renumbered 680.

 

JUNE 1     The last remaining single track section of the East Preston line was duplicated from Wood Street to the terminus at Tyler Street.

 

JUNE 24   The Elsternwick - City, Carnegie - Elsternwick and Darling Road - Elsternwick services were combined to form through routes from the City to Carnegie and from the City to Darling Road, both running via Elsternwick. At night and on Sundays, Darling Road trams would continue to operate to Point Ormond; most of the time, the Point Ormond service would operate as a shuttle to Elsternwick Station.

 

july 30   The Wattle Park line was duplicated from Middlesex Road to Boundary (later Warrigal) Road.

 

AUG         New works tram:

                                8  Single-truck Scrubber Car built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. The cabins, underframe and controllers from C class 32 were used in its construction, the body of 32 subsequently being scrapped. Former A class Scrubber No. 8 was renumbered 3, and its track cleaning equipment was used in the new tram, the body of No. 3 then being placed in storage.

                                Upon completion, No. 8 was sent to the isolated Footscray lines, and remained there until 1935, this being the first visit by a Scrubber Car to Footscray. It subsequently made four other visits before the Footscray lines were linked to the main system in 1954.

 

OCT 12     The Burwood line was duplicated from Through Road to the terminus.

 

OCT 15     A 'third road' siding was installed in Union Road, Ascot Vale, on the Maribyrnong River line for Showgrounds and racecourse traffic.

 

oct 27     The facing crossover at Thornbury in St Georges Road at Miller Street was replaced by a trailing crossover.

 

DEC 11     The City terminus of the Swanston Street routes was altered by extending the double track in Victoria Street closer to Elizabeth Street, and installing a new crossover on the east side of Bouverie Street. This gave three separate shunting positions at the terminus, with double or triple shunts being possible in the third position.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                665 - 669  Five W3 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. These were the final W3 class trams built, making a total of 16.

                                671, 673  Two W4 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

                                681 - 684  Four CW5 class maximum-traction, bogie, drop-centre combination trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. They did not enter service until January and February 1935. These trams had a similar body to the W4 class, but narrower and without the curved drop-centre sides, and were mounted on second-hand maximum-traction trucks. They were developed as a means of obtaining new trams cheaply (due to the economic depression) by using trucks, brakes, controllers, etc. from older trams on new bodies. C class trams 29, 31 - 34 were used to provide parts for the CW5 class, the bodies being scrapped in 1935. (Parts of No. 32 were also used in the construction of Scrubber Car 8).

                                It was intended to build 39 CW5 class trams, but as the first five proved unsatisfactory because of their slow speed and a tendency to derail, no further trams were built. Their proposed numbers 686 - 719 remained blank. The CW5 class were allocated to Camberwell Depot for use on the Batman Avenue routes to Wattle Park and Burwood to avoid use in heavy city traffic.

 

                L class trams 101 - 106 had their drop-centre doors and seats modified from a 4 door layout to a 3 door layout, similar to the W2 class.

 

                Breakdown Car 202 (ex U class) was re-classified as a Freight Car (a capacity it was already being used in) and re-numbered 19.

 

                Works trams were re-numbered from their separate 'A' suffix series to the same roster as passenger trams, using the numbers 1 - 25 which had been left vacant by scrapped trams. Works trams that had retained their passenger numbers were also re-numbered:

 

ORIG. No.

1934 No.

VEHICLE TYPE

6A

1

Rail Grinder

7A

2

Rail Grinder

8

3

Scrubber (ex A class 8)

[Body in storage; equipment used in new No. 8]

9A

4

Scrubber (ex K class 96)

1A

5

Scrubber (ex MBCTT)

3A

6

Track Cleaner (ex PMTT)

5A

7

Track Cleaner

-

8

Scrubber [Built new 1934]

4A

11

Ballast Motor (ex V class 216)

56

16

Rail Hardener Loco (ex H class 56)

2A

17

Freight Car (ex V class 214)

8A

18

Workshops Locomotive

202

19

Freight Car (ex U class 202)

 

                VR  Bogie tram 51 was converted by the MMTB at Preston Workshops to a saloon design based on the Y/Y1 class, with front and centre folding doors, although being fitted with longitudinal seats throughout. This resulted from experience gained by the operation of Y1 613 on loan to the VR the previous year. 51 returned to service on the Sandringham line, and was utilised for driver-only operation at quiet times.

 

 1935.

 

feb 7       The western end of the Victoria Street terminus of the Swanston Street lines near Elizabeth Street was altered to double track with a crossover. This work was done in anticipation of providing a double track connection to Elizabeth Street upon conversion of the cable line to electric traction.

 

MAR 12    The Alfred Crescent crossover in St Georges Road, North Fitzroy, was relocated to Fergie Street, south of the Fitzroy railway crossing.

 

JULY 20   The North and West Melbourne cable lines were closed. The North Melbourne line was to be converted to electric traction; the West Melbourne line was replaced by buses.

 

SEP 24     The North Melbourne line was opened from Flemington Road via Abbotsford Street, Queensberry Street, Errol Street and Victoria Street to Elizabeth Street, terminating outside the Victoria Market. It was built as double track on the former cable tram route, with crossovers at Flemington Road and at the Victoria Market, and a double track connection to the existing line in Flemington Road. A shuttle service was operated by trams from Essendon Depot.

 

SEP 29     The Elizabeth Street cable line was closed in preparation for conversion to electric traction. Brunswick cable cars were truncated to Victoria Street.

 

NOV 17     The Elizabeth Street line was opened from the Victoria Market to Flinders Street on the former cable tram route. It was built as double track with a crossover at Lonsdale Street, and the dead-end terminus was an asymmetric shunt with a second crossover. The North Melbourne shuttle service was extended from the Victoria Market to operate over the new line into the City.

 

                The Brunswick cable line was further truncated to the corner of Leonard Street and Royal Parade, Parkville.

 

DEC 29     A new double track electric line was laid in the central carriageway of Elizabeth Street between the Haymarket and Victoria Street, replacing the cable line. A crossover was installed north of Victoria Street, and the single track line in the western carriageway, which connected the Essendon lines to the main system, was removed. A double track connection was provided to the Victoria Street terminus of the Swanston Street lines.

                                Essendon and Maribyrnong River trams were diverted from William Street to run into the City via Elizabeth Street. Essendon trams ran direct via Haymarket while Maribyrnong River trams reached the City via the North Melbourne line, replacing the shuttle service. West Coburg trams continued to operate via William Street.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                672, 674  Two W4 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops, making a total number of five W4 class trams.

                                685  The final CW5 class tram built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

                                725, 736 - 745, 754  Twelve W5 class bogie, drop-centre combination trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. These trams had an identical body to the CW5 class, but were mounted on equal-wheel four-motor trucks, and featured an improved seating layout. Some trams were actually built using bodies intended for CW5 class trams, hence why higher numbered W5 trams entered service before lower numbered trams.

 

                The four Y1 class trams, Nos. 610 - 613, were transferred from Hanna Street Depot to Camberwell Depot for operation on the Batman Avenue routes, to avoid use on busy city streets. They remained allocated to Camberwell until 1965. Y class 469 had been transferred from Hawthorn Depot to Camberwell Depot prior to 1934 following discontinuation of the tourist tram service.

 

                The seven remaining M class trams, Nos. 183 - 189, were sold to the State Electricity Commission of Victoria. The SEC had taken over operation of the Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo tramways, and the trams were allocated and renumbered as follows:

                183 u Ballarat 30

                184 u Ballarat 31

                185 u Bendigo 19

                186 u Ballarat 32

                187 u Bendigo 20

                188 u Bendigo 21

                189 u Ballarat 33

                (For further details see Appendix 3)

 

 1936.

 

JAN 12     An electric line along Royal Parade from Haymarket to a temporary terminus at Leonard Street, Parkville, was opened, built as double track replacing the cable line. The MMTB wanted to place the Royal Parade track in open ballast reservation, but the Melbourne City Council objected to this. An interim service was run from the City, operated by Essendon Depot. The remainder of the Brunswick cable line was closed the day prior.

 

JAN          The Kew Cemetery crossover at Park Hill Road on the High Street East Kew line was removed.

 

                R class 153 was sold to the SEC and became Bendigo 22.

 

FEB 2       The North Coburg line was duplicated in Sydney Road from Wilson Street to Gaffney Street.

 

FEB 23     The Royal Parade electric line was extended to Park Street, built as double track on the former cable car route. The crossover from the temporary Leonard Street terminus was relocated to Ievers Street. The interim service provided by Essendon Depot was extended to the new terminus. A proposed 'third road' siding from Walker Street to Ievers Street for football traffic was never constructed.

 

FEB          R class 152 was sold to the SEC and became Ballarat 22 (renumbered 29 in 1938).

 

APR 26     The Brunswick cable line conversion was completed. The electric line was opened from Park Street via Sydney Road to Moreland Road, all double track with crossovers on both sides of Moreland Road, the points at the temporary Park Street terminus being removed.

                                On the same day, Brunswick Depot was opened, comprising a nine-road shed with a separate wheel grinder road. The depot was built adjacent to the cable car depot, and for a short period cable cars were housed in the new electric tram depot. The offices and mess room fronted Sydney Road, with the depot fan at the other end branching into Cameron Street.

                                A new double track connecting line was laid along Cameron Street and Moreland Road to Sydney Road, with crossovers in Cameron Street and Moreland Road, and a short single track siding in Moreland Road between Cameron Street and the railway line. A double track connecting curve turned from Moreland Road into Sydney Road towards the City, with a single track curve turning towards North Coburg. The curves on the north-east corner were removed.

                                North Coburg trams were altered to run direct along Sydney Road and Royal Parade to the City via Elizabeth Street, replacing the interim service operated from Essendon Depot. The North Coburg - City route was operated by Brunswick Depot.

                                The North Coburg line was worked almost exclusively by new W5 class trams (and later classes in subsequent years). Most W5 trams were initially attached to Essendon and Brunswick Depots for use on Elizabeth Street routes, with a small number allocated to Camberwell Depot.

                                The service from St Kilda Beach via Swanston Street and Lygon Street, which formerly ran through to North Coburg, was altered to terminate at Moreland near the railway station, utilising the siding and crossover. This service continued to be operated jointly by Coburg Depot and Hanna Street Depot.

                                There was considerable excess capacity at Brunswick Depot; consequently many surplus trams were stored there over the next sixteen years (until 1952, when Coburg Depot closed as a running shed).

 

JUNE 24   The connecting curves at Malvern Town Hall (Glenferrie Road and High Street) on the north-west and south-east corners were removed, leaving curves only on the south-west corner for depot workings.

 

AUG 1      The North Carlton (Rathdowne Street) cable line was closed, replaced by a bus service.

 

OCT 4       Sunday morning services were introduced on most cable and electric lines.

 

OCT 26     The last remaining single track section of the Essendon line was duplicated along Keilor Road from Bulla Road to the terminus at Gillies Street, with a crossover installed in the reserved track at Bulla Road.

 

OCT 30     The Carnegie line was duplicated from the Glenhuntly railway crossing (east side) to the Yendon Road loop.

 

NOV 29     A service from Caulfield to the City was introduced, running over existing track from Balaclava Junction (Hawthorn Road) via Balaclava Road, High Street, St Kilda Road and Swanston Street to the City terminus. This service, operated by Malvern Depot, provided a direct link from the area to the City. (Prior to this, the only service in Balaclava Road ran cross-suburban from Kew Cotham Road to St Kilda Beach; the Hawthorn Road service ran cross-suburban from Brighton Cemetery to St Kilda Beach via Dandenong Road; and the Darling Road service ran to the City along a roundabout route via Elsternwick).

 

DEC 7       Double track connecting curves were installed from the Collins Street terminus turning south into Spencer Street, in preparation for construction of a new line to South Melbourne.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                720 - 724, 726 - 735, 746 - 753, 755 - 785, 787 - 789  47 W5 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

 

                Nine W1 class trams were converted to W2 class: Nos. 421 - 423, 428, 429, 473, 476, 477 and 479.

 

                R class 173 and the two remaining K class trams, Nos. 93 and 99, were scrapped. (K class 96 was still extant as Scrubber No. 4).

 

                T class 178 was converted to a saloon car, suitable for use as a driver-only operated vehicle. It was fitted with air operated folding doors (one per side) and transverse seating. Despite these significant modifications, 178 remained classified as T class.

 

                Q class 190 was allocated to Drivers Instruction duties, although continuing to be available for passenger service if required until 1941. This became the last tram in the chocolate and cream colour scheme, not being repainted until November 1949.

 

 1937.

 

FEB 7       The Essendon line was extended from Gillies Street via Keilor Road to Birdwood Street. It was built as double track, the points at Gillies Street being removed.

 

FEB 14     All-night tram services commenced on the following routes:

§  HIGH ST EAST KEW - CITY (via Flinders St)

§  MONT ALBERT - CITY (via Collins St)

§  north coburg - camberwell (via Swanston St)

§  COBURG - SOUTH MELB & ST KILDA BEACH (via Swanston St)

§  ESSENDON - SOUTH CAULFIELD JUNCTION (via Swanston St, St Kilda Beach and Elsternwick)

                                These services were driver-only operated, charging higher fares than normal day services, and ran from Essendon, Brunswick, Kew, Camberwell, Glenhuntly and Hanna Street Depots.

                                Rolling stock for the all-night services was provided by modifying Q and R class trams for driver-only operation. These trams had been in storage since the early 1930s, having been made surplus by new bogie tram construction. The conversion involved fixing blinds and barriers in the closed position except for the leading near-side doorway at each end, removing portion of the driver's bulkhead to allow for collection of fares, and re-arranging the end seating layout to provide improved loading. Twenty-five trams were converted: Q class 139 - 150, 191 - 193 and 196 - 200; and R class 151, 172 and 174 - 176. Sixteen were ready for the commencement of services, and the remainder were converted within two months. In addition, X class 'Birney' trams 217 and 218, modified T class 178 and X2 class 675 (the only X2 not at Footscray) were also available for all-night use.

 

FEB 15     A crossover was installed in Flinders Street at Market Street.

 

MAR 13    The South Melbourne and Port Melbourne cable lines were closed. The South Melbourne line was to be converted to electric trams; the Port Melbourne line was replaced by buses.

 

MAY 29    The crossover in William Street at Lonsdale Street was removed.

 

JUNE 13   The East Kew line was extended a short distance from Burke Road via Doncaster Road to Bulleen Road, built as double track. The single track section of the existing line from Clyde Street to Burke Road was duplicated. The ‘High St - East Kew’ destination sign was altered to ‘East Kew’.

 

JULY 25   The South Melbourne Beach line was opened, replacing the cable car route. It ran from the terminus at Beaconsfield Parade along Victoria Avenue, Bridport Street, Montague Street, Park Street and Clarendon Street to City Road, thence via a new line in Clarendon Street to Spencer Street. (The cable car ran via City Road to Market Street). An ‘H’ crossing was installed at Park and Clarendon Streets, connecting to the South Melbourne And St Kilda Beach line and providing access to Hanna Street Depot. Crossovers were provided at the Fish Market south of Flinders Street and in Park Street west of Clarendon Street. (The ‘Fish Market’ shunt was still called such by trammies in 1999 [and possibly later], decades after the market had gone).

                                Services ran into the City via Collins Street, and were through-routed to East and West Preston, operated jointly by Preston and Hanna Street Depots. The original ‘South Melbourne’ destination was altered to ‘South Melb Beach’ shortly after the line opened.

 

SEP 10     The Brighton Cemetery line was extended a short distance to Eric Street. Built as double track, the work also included duplication from Saturn Street to the former terminus at North Road. This was in preparation for the extension of the line to East Brighton.

 

SEP 18     A crossover was installed in Balaclava Road at Balaclava Junction, on the east side of Hawthorn Road.

 

NOV         The trial use of bow collectors, fitted to the three U class trams operating the Holden Street shuttle, was considered unsuccessful, and the bow collector was removed from 209 (205 and 211 followed suit in 1938).

 

DEC 5       The Brighton Cemetery line was extended from Eric Street via Hawthorn Road to East Brighton, terminating at Point Nepean Road (later Nepean Highway). The line was built as single track with a passing loop at Union Street. Services continued to operate to St Kilda Beach via Dandenong Road. About this time the ‘Brighton Cem' destination was altered to ‘South Caulfield’.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                786, 790 - 796, 799 - 801, 808 - 820  24 W5 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

 

                17 W1 class trams were converted to W2 class: Nos. 419, 420, 424, 425, 427, 430, 431, 433 - 435, 437, 438, 470 - 472, 474 and 475. Four trams remained unconverted: Nos. 426, 432, 436 and 478.

 

                S class 162 and 170 were scrapped.

 

                C class 30 was converted to a Dog Car, for transporting dogs and their handlers to the Show Grounds. Conversion involved closing off all but one centre doorway (diagonally opposite), and rearranging the drop-centre seats from transverse to longitudinal. Because of the relatively infrequent nature of its use, the tram was allocated to Brunswick Depot where there was ample room for storage, rather than the closer Essendon Depot that had little spare capacity.

 

                VR  The Wellington Street crossover on the St Kilda - Brighton line was removed. (Middle Brighton trams always terminated at the Park Street crossover).

 

 1938.

 

MARCH    The northern crossover in William Street at the Collins Street terminus was removed, it no longer being required since the Essendon and Maribyrnong River services were diverted to Elizabeth Street.

 

APRIL      U class 205 was withdrawn and stored in preparation for conversion to an advertising car, its bow collector being removed.

 

JUNE        A track was installed in the Hanna Street Depot per-way yard for use by the Freight Car.

 

SEP 8       The Hawthorn Depot per-way yard was closed, it no longer being required because of the larger facilities available at Hanna Street Depot. The track leading to the basement was removed.

 

SEPT       U class 209 and 211 were withdrawn and stored, 211 having its bow collector removed. (The Holden Street shuttle was now operated by other classes of driver-only single-truck trams).

 

OCT 16     The City - Caulfield (via Balaclava Road) service was extended over existing track from Balaclava Junction to East Brighton. At the same time, the St Kilda Beach via Dandenong Road - East Brighton service was cut back to terminate at Caulfield (Balaclava Junction). Operation of the Caulfield - St Kilda Beach via Dandenong Road service became the responsibility of Malvern Depot, while the City - East Brighton via Balaclava Road service was operated from Glenhuntly Depot. Some Caulfield - City peak period short-workings continued to operate from Malvern Depot.

 

DEC 11     The East Kew line was extended from Bulleen Road via Doncaster Road to North Balwyn, terminating at Balwyn Road. The line was built as single track, with a passing loop at Buchanan Avenue.

 

  ~~~        New trams built:

                                797, 798, 802, 803, 821 - 838  22 W5 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

 

                W1 class 436, due to be converted to W2 class, was fitted with air operated sliding doors as a prototype for the proposed SW6 class, and classified SW2. Subsequently, the three remaining W1 class trams, 426, 432, and 478, were also converted to the SW2 design.

 

                Freight Car 19 (former U class 202) was scrapped after a bad accident. U class 206, which for many years had been in storage or used as a breakdown car, was subsequently converted to a Freight Car as a replacement for 19, retaining its passenger number.

 

                VR  Sandringham bogie car 50 was converted to a saloon car of the same design as No. 51, by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

 

                VR  Sandringham crossbench trams 22, 24, 25 and 27 were scrapped. The last two remaining crossbench trams, Nos. 23 and 26, were retained as spare cars for peak period use.

 

 1939.

 

FEB          Rail Hardener Loco 16 (ex H class 56) and the body of Scrubber car 3 (ex A class 8) were scrapped.

 

MAR 31    Prototype saloon tram in service:

                                850  SW6 class bogie, drop-centre saloon tram built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. It was fitted with air-operated sliding doors, as trialed on SW2 class trams, and tip over seats in end saloons.

 

APR 15     The Collingwood cable line was closed, being replaced by a bus service.

 

MAY         U class 205 was converted to an illuminated Advertising Car, and re-numbered 19. All remaining U class trams were now either stored (209 and 211, with 208 'off-register') or used as works trams (19 and 206).

 

OCT 25     The Holden Street shuttle was replaced by a bus service operated from the nearby North Fitzroy bus depot. The southern track was removed, from Lygon Street to St Georges Road, and the northern track was retained as a single track connecting line for special workings.

 

NOV 4      The curves from Glenferrie Road turning east into Cotham Road, Kew, were removed; the curves turning west were retained.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                804 - 807, 839  Five W5 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

                                840 - 848  Nine SW5 class bogie, drop-centre saloon trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. These trams were intended to be W5 class, but were altered while under construction to incorporate air-operated sliding doors as fitted to the SW2 class and the prototype SW6 850.

 

                N class 121 was disposed of.

 

                Workshop Locomotive 18 was stored.

 

                VR  Single-truck combination tram No. 2 was scrapped after being damaged in an accident with a bogie tram.

 

 1940.

 

MAR 20    The Maribyrnong River line was duplicated from Lennox Street to the terminus.

 

OCT 26     Final cable tram closure: The Bourke Street lines to Nicholson Street and Northcote were replaced by buses.

 

DEC 22     The Maribyrnong River line was extended via Raleigh Road and Cordite Avenue to West Maribyrnong, terminating at the Explosives Factory. This line was built in conjunction with the Commonwealth Government to serve the munitions factories, due to the outbreak of World War 2. It was single track throughout, with two passing loops and a storage siding at the terminus. The Maribyrnong River was crossed on a trams-only trestle bridge, and the track in the vicinity of the munitions factory, from Rosamond Road to the terminus, was constructed in open ballast on side-of-road reservation. In addition to the regular service to the City via North Melbourne, special trams were operated for factory shift workers as required.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                849  SW5 class tram built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

                                851 - 865  15 SW6 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

 

                E class 36 was scrapped.

 

 1941.

 

MAY 2      VR  The track connection to the railway line at St Kilda Station was removed.

 

JUNE 22   Portion of the West Maribyrnong line was duplicated in Raleigh Road between the two passing loops.

 

JULY 6     The Ordnance Factory branch line was opened along private right-of-way adjacent to Wests Road from Raleigh Road to Williamsons Road, Maribyrnong. It was built as open ballast double track, with a crossover at the terminus and a single track triangular junction with the West Maribyrnong line. No regular service was provided, and trams operated as required for factory shift workers.

 

JULY 20   Trams were reinstated on the Holden Street shuttle service, replacing the buses in order to conserve fuel due to wartime conditions.

 

JULY 27   All-night tram services were greatly expanded due to petrol rationing and increased shiftwork caused by wartime conditions. The new and increased services now operated on the following routes:

§  WEST MARIBYRNONG - CITY (via North Melbourne)

§  ESSENDON - GLEN IRIS (via Swanston Street)

§  ESSENDON - EAST MALVERN (via Swanston Street)

§  west coburg - city (via Elizabeth Street)

§  north coburg - carnegie (via Swanston Street and St Kilda Beach). [An additional service ran from Coburg to Elsternwick via the same route].

§  EAST COBURG - SOUTH MELBOURNE & ST KILDA BEACH

§  EAST PRESTON - SOUTH MELBOURNE BEACH

§  EAST KEW - CITY (via Flinders and Spencer Streets, terminating at Collins Street).

§  MONT ALBERT - CITY

§  wattle park - city

§  BURWOOD - CITY

§  CAMBERWELL - CITY

§  EAST BRIGHTON - CITY

                                Service frequencies were usually every 60 minutes, with 30 minute services operating to Elsternwick via St Kilda Beach, Essendon and Coburg, plus additional workings to the munitions factories as required.

                                To provide trams for these additional services, four S class cars, Nos. 159, 160, 167 and 171 were modified for driver-only operation, in a similar manner to the Q and R classes. Three more S class trams, Nos. 156, 161 and 163, were converted by January 1942. (Most of the S class had been gradually withdrawn from service and stored during the 1930s, having been replaced by new trams).

                                Some bogie trams also operated all-night services (with a crew of two), usually on the North Coburg route or munitions factory special workings.

 

AUG 3      An all-night tram service commenced on the West Preston line, operating as a shuttle to Thornbury and connecting with the East Preston tram to and from the City. (Trams from the City displayed an 'East & West Preston' destination sign).

 

AUG 10     All-night tram services commenced on the Toorak - City route.

 

AUG 24     All-night services commenced on the North Richmond - St Kilda Beach line.

 

SEP 14     The employment of conductresses by the MMTB commenced, due to staff shortages caused by the war. This was the the first instance of employing women paltform staff on an Australian tramway, and the first time women were paid the same wages as men. The VR followed suit in 1942.

 

NOV 9      On the Footscray system, a branch line to the Ammunition Factory was opened, running from Ballarat Road via Gordon Street to River Street, built as double track. No regular service was rostered, and trams ran only as required for shift workers at the munitions factories. An interim service was actually provided from September 14, using the 'down' track as far as Mitchell Street, with a temporary facing crossover in Ballarat Road at the Gordon Street corner.

                                Six S class trams, Nos. 154, 155, 157, 158, 165 and 166, were transferred to Footscray Depot to cater for the increased traffic. These trams were converted for driver-only operation, to the same pattern as the other members of the class allocated to all-night services on the main system.

 

DEC 12     Following the entry of Japan into World War 2 and the threat of possible air raids, trams were modified with dimmed interior lighting and cowls over the headlight, together with white bars painted on the apron and bumper bars to improve visibilty during blackouts.

 

  ~~~        An additional open road was constructed at Glenhuntly Depot.

 

                New trams:

                                866 - 876  Eleven SW6 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

 

                The CW5 class trams, Nos. 681 - 685 were transferred from Camberwell Depot to Malvern Depot, for use on the lightly patronised Caulfield - St Kilda Beach via Dandenong Road route.

 

                Dog Car 30 (C class) was placed in storage due to the Show Grounds being occupied by the military during the war. It was subsequently used for driver instruction duties as required.

 

 1942.

 

jan          S class trams 168 and 169 were converted for driver-only operation and transferred to Footscray. With 23 trams, the depot was now literally at crush capacity - when all the trams were squeezed in the footpath was barely cleared! No spare trams were available, as all 23 trams were required for traffic.

                                All S class trams had now been converted for driver-only operation, except No. 164, which for some obscure reason was not included in the conversion program and remained in storage.

 

APR 1       The West Maribyrnong line was duplicated from Maribyrnong River (west side) to the commencement of the double track section at the site of the former Park loop.

 

FEB 24     For security reasons, restrictions were imposed on certain tram destination displays for the duration of the war: ‘Explosives Factory’, ‘Ordnance Factory’ and ‘Ammunition Factory’ signs were not to be used. Normal services to the Explosives Factory from the City via North Melbourne were to show ‘West Maribyrnong’. Trams running additional services for shift workers were to show ‘Special’, with the letter A in the route number box for the Explosives Factory, and B for the Ordnance Factory. E was designated for trams running to the Ammunition Factory, but as Footscray trams did not have route number boxes, a sign was added to their destination rolls displaying ‘Special.E’.

 

APR 6       The single-track connecting curve at the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets was disconnected.

 

MAY 8      The crossover at Woolton Avenue in St Georges Road, Thornbury, was removed.

 

MAY 24    A new line was opened from Ascot Vale (Union Road) via Maribyrnong Road and Ascot Vale Road to Moonee Ponds Junction, built as double track. The connection to the Essendon line at Moonee Ponds was proposed as a double track junction, but was constructed as single track. A crossover was installed on the west side of Union Road, necessary for outbound City trams from the single track corner to regain the 'down' line. No regular service was provided on the new line; trams operated as required for shift workers at the munitions factories, in addition to workings to and from Essendon Depot.

 

JUNE 14   The West Maribyrnong line was duplicated from the west side of the Ordnance Factory line junction to the Explosives Factory terminus. This work involved a relocation of the terminus storage siding.

 

AUG 24     Further track work in the Maribyrnong area was undertaken: the eastern curve from Raleigh Road onto the Ordnance Factory branch was duplicated, and a facing crossover was installed in Raleigh Road on the east side of the junction.

 

SEP 22     VR  The crossover just before the Brighton Beach terminus was removed.

 

NOV 16     VR  New trams:

                                52 - 54  Three bogie, drop-centre saloon trams built by the VR at Newport Workshops. Based on the MMTB SW6 design, they were fitted with air-operated sliding doors, although somewhat narrower than the SW6. Planned in 1938, wartime conditions delayed their completion; some equipment for the trams came from proposed bogie cars 44 - 47, which were never built. Referred to as ‘luxury trams’, they entered service on the St Kilda - Brighton line.

 

  ~~~        An additional six-road shed was constructed at Essendon Depot, on the southern (or City) side of the existing sheds, replacing the two open roads. The extra capacity was required for additional trams used to service the munitions factories on the West Maribyrnong line, and for a planned extension of the Essendon line to the Aerodrome.

 

                New trams:

                                877 - 880  Four SW6 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. (New tram construction had been slowed down due to wartime conditions).

 

                VR  Elwood single-truck combination trams 3 - 7 were withdrawn from regular service, but continued in peak period use as spare trams when required, except No. 4, which was used as a Drivers Instruction Car.

 

 1943.

 

APR 22     The two northern entrances to Essendon Depot were consolidated into one. The northernmost access connection to the 'up' track was removed, and the remaining north entrance was altered to connect with the 'up' track instead of the 'down' track, the crossover being retained. In addition, a facing crossover was installed in Mount Alexander Road immediately prior to the southern entrance. These alterations allowed trams to run in and out of the depot from either direction without the need to shunt in Mount Alexander Road.

 

APRIL      E class 43 was scrapped.

 

may 16    The Essendon line was extended from Birdwood Street to Essendon Aerodrome, via Keilor Road and open ballast reserved track parallel to Matthews Avenue and Vaughan Street. It was built as double track with crossovers provided at the new terminus and at the former terminus. The Commonwealth Government requested this extension because of wartime conditions.

 

july 7     X2 class 675 was transferred from Glenhuntly Depot to Footscray Depot, to replace X1 class 459, which was sent to Preston Workshops for repair after colliding with an army tank.

 

AUG         The MMTB reviewed the operation of double-deck buses which replaced the cable trams on the Bourke Street routes. It was concluded that the buses were not successful, and that the routes should be converted to electric trams as soon as possible after the war. Local councils agreed with this finding; however, it was not until 1955-56 that the conversion finally took place.

 

SEP 2       The track on the Maribyrnong River trams-only trestle bridge was duplicated, and a crossover was installed on the east side.

 

OCT 7       At Maribyrnong, the straight track at the Raleigh Road / Ordnance Factory junction was duplicated, and the single track connecting curve on the south-west corner was disconnected.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                881 - 889  Nine SW6 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

 

 1944.

 

APRIL      U class 211 was scrapped.

 

SEPT       C class 28 was scrapped.

 

DEC 21     A new connecting line was completed from Hanna Street Depot via Hanna Street (later Kingsway), Queensbridge Street, Market Street, Flinders Lane and William Street to Collins Street. This new line was all double track, with a crossover in Queensbridge Street, and the track in Hanna Street was open ballast in a central reservation. A double track siding and crossover was also installed in William Street at Dudley Street. These facilities were constructed to provide direct access from the western end of the City to the south-eastern suburbs, in order to ease congestion in Swanston Street. However, no services were provided until 1946 due to wartime shortages. West Coburg trams continued to terminate at Collins Street on a new crossover which replaced the asymmetric terminus.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                890 - 895  Six SW6 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. These were the first of the SW6 class to have fixed bus-type seats in place of the tip-over seats, as a wartime austerity measure.

 

 1945.

 

JAN          C class 25 was scrapped.

 

MARCH    U class 209 was scrapped.

 

MAY 13    Two-person operation was restored to all Footscray trams, following a threat of industrial action by traffic staff due to the severe overcrowding caused by wartime conditions, and a lack of space at the depot for additional trams to relieve the situation.

 

JUNE        VR  The Victorian Railways Commissioners stated their intention to close the Sandringham tramway, which sparked a vigorous opposition campaign by locals, and delayed closure of the line for a further 11 years. It was intended that the bogie trams released form the Sandringham line would be transferred to Elwood, thus allowing the remaining single-truck trams to be scrapped. When approval to close the line was not forthcoming, the decision was made in mid-1947 to retain the single-truck trams in use as spare cars.

 

OCT         Four maximum-traction bogie trams were sold to the SEC for use on their provincial tramways (N class 117 and 123, and P class 132 and 138), being re-numbered as follows:

                N 117 u Ballarat 37 (transferred Oct 19)

                N 123 u Bendigo 23 (transferred Oct 16)

                P 132 u Ballarat 36 (transferred Oct 24)

                P 138 u Bendigo 24 (transferred Oct 26)

                (For further details see Appendix 3)

 

NOV 11     The disconnected curve at Flinders and Swanston Streets was removed completely.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                896 - 909  14 SW6 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

 

                Five trams were scrapped:

§  N class 125;

§  P class 131, 134 and 136;

§  U class 208, which had been 'off-register' and derelict since 1929

 

 1946.

 

FEB 3       Services commenced running on the new line from William Street to Hanna Street Depot, which had been completed in 1944. A fulltime service was provided by running West Coburg trams through to St Kilda Beach, operated by both Essendon Depot and Hanna Street Depot. Peak period services were provided from the Dudley Street terminus to various routes as follows, in addition to the normal Swanston Street services:

§  TOORAK

§  CAMBERWELL (many trips only as far as Camberwell Junction)

§  GLEN IRIS

§  EAST MALVERN (via Wattletree Road)

§  EAST BRIGHTON (via Balaclava Road)

§  CARNEGIE

                                Some of these trips ran through to West Coburg - the exact operation would vary considerably over the ensuing years, but the most common through workings were from Toorak, East Malvern and Carnegie, operated variously by Essendon, Hanna Street (South Melbourne), Malvern and Glenhuntly Depots.

 

APR 10     VR  In Elwood Depot No. 2 shed, the northernmost track was disconnected and curves to the other two roads realigned to enable bogie trams to have access. (When this work was carried out, some trams were unintentionally isolated on the disconnected track!) It was planned to eventually connect the northern track with a crossover at the rear of the shed when materials became available, but this never occurred.

 

JUNE 30   The Deepdene railway crossing on the Mont Albert line was removed following closure of the railway.

 

SEP 17     VR  To provide more room for standing passengers at peak times, ‘luxury’ tram 52 had its transverse tip-over seats altered to a longitudinal arrangement. The other two ‘luxury’ trams, Nos. 53 and 54, were similarly altered within a few days.

 

SEPT       Scrubber Car 4 (ex-K class 96) was withdrawn and stored.

 

  ~~~        Five extra roads were added to the body shop at Preston Workshops.

 

                New trams:

                                910 - 925  Sixteen SW6 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

 

                Camberwell Depot began using the Y and Y1 class cars (469, 610 - 613) on all-night services as driver-only trams.

 

 1947.

 

JAN 16     The West Coburg line was duplicated from Reynard Street to the Bell Street terminus. The terminus was constructed as double track with a crossover.

 

JAN - MAR  Five maximum-traction bogie trams (including the last three P class cars) were sold to the SEC for use on their provincial tramways, being re-numbered as follows:

                N 118 u Geelong 31 (transferred Jan 15)

                N 124 u Ballarat 35 (transferred Feb 25)

                P 133 u Bendigo 25 (transferred Feb 12)

                P 137 u Ballarat 34 (transferred Jan 22)

                P 135 u Bendigo 26 (transferred March 3)

                (For further details see Appendix 3)

 

may 8      The East Brighton line was duplicated from Eric Street to the terminus.

 

JUNE        The eight S class trams at Footscray (Nos. 154, 155, 157, 158, 165, 166, 168 and 169) were converted again for two-person operation between June and September. This conversion involved removing a panel to create a doorway immediately behind the saloon.

 

AUG 22     The Carnegie line was duplicated from Yendon Road to Truganini Road.

 

SEPT       Two N class trams, Nos. 120 and 122, were sold to the SEC for use on the Geelong tramways, being re-numbered as follows:

                N 120 u Geelong 33 (later Bendigo 4) (transferred Sept 16)

                N 122 u Geelong 32 (later Bendigo 3) (transferred Sept 9)

                (For further details see Appendix 3)

 

NOV         Spare Freight Car 206 (former U class) was withdrawn and stored, due to accident damage. Advertising Car 19 (ex U class 205), which had been out of use since 1945, was then utilised as a spare freight car as required.

 

DEC 15     N class 126 was sold to the SEC and became Geelong No. 34 (later Bendigo 2).

                (For further details see Appendix 3)

 

  ~~~        Five roads were added to the paint shop and seven roads were added to the truck and machine shop at Preston Workshops.

 

                New trams:

                                926 - 936  Eleven SW6 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

 

 1948.

 

JAN 21     The last N class tram, No. 119, was sold to the SEC and became Geelong No. 35. (This tram later became Bendigo 1, then Ballarat 37, and was the only tram to operate in all four Victorian tramway cities).

                (For further details see Appendix 3)

 

OCT 16     Saturday morning peak services from William Street to East Malvern, Glen Iris, Camberwell and Toorak were discontinued.

 

OCT         Track Cleaner 6 (ex-PMTT), Ballast Motor 11 (Ex V class 216), and Workshops Locomotive 18 were scrapped.

 

  ~~~        Two open roads were added to Essendon Depot on the northern side of the sheds (present day roads 19 & 20).

 

                New trams:

                                937 - 939  Three SW6 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

 

                Maximum-traction bogie tram C class 26 was sold to the SEC and transferred to Geelong, becoming their No. 36 (later Bendigo 5).

 

 1949.

 

JULY        New trams:

                                940 - 942  Three SW6 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. With these trams the seating arrangement in the end saloons was changed again, this time to a layout identical to that used in W5 class trams.

 

OCT         New trams:

                                943 - 949 Seven SW6 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

 

NOV 14     S class 165 was returned to the main system to relieve tram storage problems at Footscray Depot. It was subsequently re-converted for driver-only operation and used on all-night services. Scrubber Car 8 was sent to Footscray temporarily, and returned to the main system on February 13, 1950.

 

NOV         Q class Drivers Instruction tram No. 190 was repainted green and cream, this being the only tram remaining in the old chocolate and cream livery.

 

DEC         SW5 class 840 was fitted with upholstered longitudinal seats in the drop-centre, to test a seating layout proposed for PCC tram 980 under construction.

 

  ~~~        C class 27 was scrapped.

 

                T class trams 177, 179 - 181 were stored, following a general easing of the heavy wartime loading. (Saloon car 178 remained in traffic at Glenhuntly Depot). In October, No. 182 was fitted with self-lapping brakes and anti-climber strips on the bumper bars to assess the potential use of T class trams in heavy City traffic. It ran from Brunswick Depot, but was stored shortly afterwards. (The T class had been in use on varying duties over the years, mainly on cross-suburban lines and peak period workings).

 

 1950.

 

FEB 23     A strike by tramway employees commenced which lasted until April 24. Due to a severe staff shortage following the strike, all-night services were not immediately reinstated; operation was gradually restored to twelve routes between May and July, 1950.

 

MARCH    Scrubber Car 4 (ex K class 96) and Freight Car 206 (ex U class) were scrapped.

 

JUNE        New trams:

                                950 - 959  Ten SW6 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

                                980  PCC class bogie, straight-sill saloon tram built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops with imported electrical equipment. The initials 'PCC' stand for Electric Railway President's Conference Committee, a body formed in the U.S.A. by various tramway companies in 1931. Its purpose was to design a modern, comfortable, high performance tram that could be mass-produced for use in American cities and compete with modern automobiles. The first tram was completed in 1936, and featured dramatically improved riding and performance qualities. Almost 5,000 PCC trams were built for tramways in the U.S.A. and Canada, with 15,000 similar trams built for foreign countries.

                                MMTB officers visited the U.S.A. in 1938 and, being quite impressed with the PCC car, attempted to have a complete tram imported. The Customs Department refused to allow a tram into Australia duty free, and the outbreak of World War 2 caused the matter to be postponed. After the war, MMTB officers again went overseas, and the decision was made to import PCC trucks and electrical equipment and fit them to a locally built body. The body design was based on the SW6 class, with a straight-sill rather than a drop-centre (to allow for extra underfloor equipment), a sloping windscreen, upholstered longitudinal drop-centre seats, and hand operated controls instead of foot controls normally used in PCC trams. 980 was significantly smoother, quieter and faster than any other Australian tram, however the higher construction cost, resistance by some conservative elements within the MMTB, and government restrictions on importing equipment caused plans for any further trams to be shelved.

                                980 entered service in July attached to Malvern Depot, operating on the cross-suburban Kew - St Kilda Beach route, in order to avoid close operation with standard trams in the City due to its superior braking characteristics.

 

                Advertising Car 19 (ex U class 205) was fully converted to a Freight Car, retaining the same number. 19 had been out of service as an Advertising Car since 1945, and from November 1947 was used as a spare freight car.

 

JULY 14   S class 169 was transferred from Footscray to the main system, again being converted for driver-only operation and used on all-night services. Rail Grinder 1 was temporarily transferred to Footscray, being returned to the main system in October, 1950.

 

AUG 18     The remaining Saturday morning peak services to William Street from Carnegie and East Brighton were discontinued.

 

SEP 3       The Holden Street shuttle service was again replaced by buses. The single track line remained in use for special workings.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                960 - 966 Seven SW6 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

 

 1951.

 

JAN 15     A new City tram line along La Trobe Street was opened, from Brunswick Street via Victoria Parade, La Trobe Street and Spencer Street to Lonsdale Street. It was built as double track throughout, with the Victoria Parade section constructed in open ballast in a central reservation. Crossovers were provided at Nicholson Street, Swanston Street, Elizabeth Street and Spencer Street. Double track connecting curves were installed at William Street, and a single track connecting curve was installed at Elizabeth Street, both on the south-east corner.

                                Services were provided by extending the Hawthorn - Spencer Street service through to Brunswick Street, operating from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, and from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. No evening, Saturday afternoon or Sunday services were provided.

 

JAN 16     Numbered tram stops were introduced on the Wattle Park and Burwood routes; they were later installed on all other lines. Also about this time, the destination ‘Wattle Park’ was superseded by ‘Wattle Park - Warrigal Road’ and ‘Wattle Park - Elgar Road’.

 

FEB 26     The service in La Trobe Street was altered to operate as a shuttle between Brunswick Street and Spencer Street, due to traffic congestion in Flinders Street severely hampering on-time running of the Hawthorn service. The shuttle service was operated mostly from Preston Depot (even though both Kew Depot and Hanna Street Depot were much closer).

 

APR 23     E class 38 was sold to the SEC and became Geelong 37 (later Ballarat 42).

 

APRIL      All-night services were gradually improved from July 1950, and were now operating on the following routes (generally at hourly intervals):

§  SOUTH MELBOURNE BEACH

§  CARNEGIE via South Melbourne & St Kilda Beach route, Esplanade and Elsternwick

§  EAST BRIGHTON

§  GLEN IRIS

§  CAMBERWELL

§  BURWOOD

§  WATTLE PARK WARRIGAL ROAD - some trips run to Elgar Road

§  MONT ALBERT

§  WEST PRESTON

§  EAST COBURG

§  NORTH COBURG

§  WEST COBURG

§  EAST KEW

§  ESSENDON (Birdwood St) - some trips run to Aerodrome

                                The East Preston line was served by extending the all-night Northcote bus.

 

MAY         Five E class trams were sold to the SEC for use on their provincial tramways, being re-numbered as follows:

                E 37 u Geelong 38

                E 41 u Ballarat 38

                E 42 u Ballarat 39

                E 44 u Bendigo 17

                E 45 u Bendigo 18

                (For further details see Appendix 3)

 

JUNE        The last three maximum-traction bogie trams of the C and E classes (not including Dog Car 30) were sold to the SEC for use on their provincial tramways, being re-numbered as follows:

                C 35 u Ballarat 40  (transferred June 13)

                E 39 u Geelong 39 (later Ballarat 41) (transferred June 5)

                E 40 u Geelong 40 (later Ballarat 43) (transferred June 19)

                (For further details see Appendix 3)

 

JULY 12   The tracks on the North Balwyn line in High Street, Kew, at Harp Road were straightened. Previously, the tram line followed the road and crossed over the former Outer Circle railway bridge at right angles; now the straightened track crossed the old railway diagonally after earth works filled in part of the railway cutting.

 

AUG 13     A crossover was installed outside the University in Swanston Street North at Faraday Street. Some City trips from the Swanston Street routes were extended to the University, mainly during peak periods.

 

AUG 26     A crossover was installed in Matthews Avenue, Niddrie, at Keilor Road. The initial destination sign ‘Essendon Matthews Avenue’ was later superseded by ‘Essendon - Niddrie’. Most Birdwood Street trams were extended to the new crossover, which was located in reserved track.

 

                The West Coburg - St Kilda Beach via William Street service was reduced to operate on Sundays, Saturday mornings and Monday - Friday peak periods only. At all other times West Coburg trams terminated at Domain Road.

 

SEP 4       All-night services resumed on the East Malvern route.

 

OCT 7       All-night services resumed on the West Maribyrnong line.

 

OCT 14     The Essendon all-night service was extended from Birdwood Street to Matthews Avenue, with some trips running to the Aerodrome.

 

NOV 19     All-night services resumed on the North Richmond - St Kilda Beach route.

 

DEC 2       The Wattle Park all-night service was altered so that every trip now operated right through to Elgar Road rather than Warrigal Road.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                967 - 969  Three SW6 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops.

                                970 - 973  Four trams built as SW6 class by the MMTB at Preston Workshops; they were later fitted with resilient wheels, sound proofing and double helical gears and reclassified as W6 class.

 

 1952.

 

FEB 22     Scrubber Car 8 was transferred to Footscray, returning to the main system in March.

 

FEB 24     The Toorak all-night service was resumed. The East Coburg all-night service was through-routed to South Melbourne & St Kilda Beach, and the North Coburg all-night service was through-routed to Carnegie via St Kilda Beach, as before the February 1950 strike.

 

MARCH    The East Kew all-night service was extended to North Balwyn.

 

                New trams:

                                974 - 977  Four SW6 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops, later reclassified as W6 class.

                                Further building of W6 class trams continued, but as they were intended for use on the Bourke Street lines then under construction, the trams were stored, either complete or incomplete, until 1955 (some at Preston Workshops, and some initially at Brunswick Depot then, from October, at Coburg Depot). Completed trams were usually 'run'-in' for a few weeks, mostly from Malvern Depot (on the cross-suburban Kew - St Kilda route) or from Brunswick Depot, before entering storage.

 

MAY         Peak period services were introduced from Mont Albert, East Preston and West Preston to the City via La Trobe Street, in addition to the normal services via Collins Street.

 

                Two open storage roads (with service pits) were installed in Preston Workshops.

 

OCT 11     As an economy measure, Coburg Depot was closed as a traffic depot, and all operations transferred to the nearby Brunswick Depot. A tenth road was added at Brunswick Depot to accommodate the extra trams from Coburg, this being an open road on the south side of the shed.

                                Brunswick Depot now operated services on the North Coburg - City, Moreland - St Kilda Beach and East Coburg - South Melbourne & St Kilda Beach routes.

                                Trams allocated to Coburg Depot were transferred to Brunswick Depot, which resulted in the use of W2 class trams on the North Coburg route (previously no W2 class trams were allocated to Brunswick Depot). Shortly afterwards, however, W2 class trams were restricted to the Lygon Street routes, leaving Sydney Road once again the province of W5 and later classes.

                                Trams that had been stored at Brunswick Depot were transferred to Coburg Depot, which continued in use as a storage facility.

 

OCT 24     The North Balwyn line was duplicated from Bulleen Road to the terminus, a crossover being provided at East Kew.

 

NOV 3      Following the North Balwyn duplication, a peak hour service commenced from North Balwyn via Victoria Street to the City via La Trobe Street, in addition to the normal service via Bridge Road and Flinders Street. This service could not be introduced at the same time as the other La Trobe Street peak services due to the limitations of the single-track section on the outer portion of the route.

 

NOV 19     The last remaining section of single track on the West Preston line was duplicated from May Street to the terminus at Regent Street.

 

NOV 21     The Balwyn crossover in Whitehorse Road on the Mont Albert line was relocated one stop further east to Iramoo Street.

 

 1953.

 

MAR 20    A connection into Kew Depot from the 'down' line in Barkers Road was installed, in addition to the existing connections to the 'up' track.

 

MARCH    S class 164, which had been stored for many years in virtually original condition, was donated to the Australian Electric Traction Association (AETA), later passing to the Tramway Museum Society of Victoria (TMSV). All other S class trams had been converted for driver-only operation, with the exception of two trams scrapped in 1937. 164 remained on the system and was stored at Malvern Depot until the 1980s, when it was moved to Hawthorn Depot.

 

APRIL      All remaining S class trams (those at Footscray and the all-nighters) were withdrawn from service and scrapped by October, except No. 157 which was retained at Footscray Depot as a spare car. The trams concerned were Nos. 154 - 156, 158 -161, 163, 165 - 169, and 171.

                                The Footscray trams were replaced by four T class trams (177, 179, 180 and 181) between June and December. These trams were taken out of storage, overhauled, and had drivers exit doors cut through the cabin bulkheads. Although the T class were of a similar age to the S class, they had not seen as much use since the 1930's, and were therefore in better condition.

 

JULY 3     The West Preston terminus was extended a short distance to the north side of Regent Street to clear the intersection.

 

SEP 13     The West Coburg - St Kilda Beach via William Street service was further reduced to operate only during peak periods. At all other times West Coburg trams ran only as far as Domain Road. Essendon Depot now operated the bulk of the service, with some assistance from Hanna Street Depot.

 

                The South Melbourne Beach and South Melbourne & St Kilda Beach services were re-routed at Park and Clarendon Streets, so that both services ran straight through the intersection instead of turning the corner. South Melbourne Beach trams now operated via Swanston Street to East Coburg, and South Melbourne & St Kilda Beach trams ran via Collins Street to East and West Preston. Hanna Street Depot continued to jointly operate both routes, whereas Brunswick Depot now operated to South Melbourne Beach and Preston Depot to South Melbourne & St Kilda Beach.

 

DEC 16     W5 class 800 was transferred to Footscray to test clearances for bogie trams, and it was found that the tram could not clear a shop verandah on a curve on the Williamstown Road line. The shop verandah was subsequently altered to allow the passage of bogie trams, although they were never utilised in regular service on the line.

 

  ~~~        The track in Epsom Road, Ascot Vale, was realigned between Racecourse Road and the Showgrounds railway bridge.

 

                W2 644 was converted to SW2 class, following severe accident damage. This design was different to the four existing SW2 trams. In addition to being fitted with air-operated sliding doors, it also received steel framed half-drop windows, transverse seating in the end saloons, longitudinal seating in the drop-centre, lined ceilings and replacement of bulkheads with semi-bulkheads.

 

 1954.

 

FEB 6       A crossover was installed in Sturt Street, South Melbourne, at Hanna Street. Previously trams running to or from South Melbourne Beach or the Clarendon Street line to Hanna Street Depot had to run ‘bang road’ around the corner at Hanna Street or proceed to the ‘YMCA’ shunt at City Road.

 

FEB          The overhead wiring in the vicinity of Essendon Aerodrome was lowered and modified so that it was energised only when a tram is on the section, remaining dead at other times. This was done to minimise the possibility of crashing planes tearing down live overhead.

 

MAY 2      A line connecting the Footscray routes with the main system was opened. Built as double track, it ran from the Ordnance Factory terminus of the main system via Williamson Road, Rosamond Road and River Street to the Ammunition Factory terminus of the Footscray lines at Gordon Street. The track in Rosamond Road and River Street was laid in open ballast on reservation by the side of the road. Four additional open roads were constructed at Essendon Depot to accommodate extra trams for the line.

                                A service was provided from Footscray Railway Station to Moonee Ponds, operated by bogie trams from Essendon Depot. Single-truck trams from Footscray Depot sometimes operated to Moonee Ponds on peak period trips and for sporting traffic; similarly, bogie trams from Essendon Depot sometimes operated extra services on the Russell Street route for football traffic.

 

may 5      T class 182 was transferred to Footscray Depot (its self-lapping brakes being re-converted to manual-lap). W5 800, which remained at Footscay after clearance testing had been completed, was returned to the main system via the new connection.

 

JUNE 6     Timetable alterations due to the new Moonee Ponds - Footscray service caused the local Footscray lines to be re-routed: Williamstown Road trams now ran to Russell Street, and Ballarat Road trams terminated at Footscray Railway Station.

 

SEP 6       The Monday - Friday daytime off-peak standard frequency was reduced from ten to twelve minutes, and correspondingly five minute headways were lengthened to six minutes. (Some of the busier lines were still provided with a more frequent service).

 

NOV 25     S class 157, retained as a spare tram at Footscray Depot, was withdrawn and stored.

 

DEC         All five CW5 class trams, Nos. 681 - 685, were transferred to Essendon Depot for use on the lightly patronised cross-suburban Footscray - Moonee Ponds route.

 

 1955.

 

FEB          Six trams were scrapped:

§  S class 157;

§  R class 172 and 175;

§  Q class 192 and 193;

§  Dog Car 30 (C class).

                                The four R and Q class trams had been used on ‘all-night’ duties; they were replaced by X1 and X2 class trams released from Footscray Depot, following the reorganisation of the Footscray local services.

                                S class 157, previously retained as a spare tram at Footscray, was scrapped because it had been made surplus by the same timetable change.

                                The Dog Car had not been required for service for several years, and its secondary role as a driver instruction tram had been steadily diminishing due to the declining number of maximum-traction trams on the system - it had lingered on because it was thought that the SEC might want to acquire it for use on one of the provincial tramways.

 

JUNE 24   East Preston Depot was officially opened, although it had been used to store trams since April. Located in Plenty Road a short distance north of Bell Street, this depot was built with a large capacity (9 shed roads, 3 open roads, plus a grinder / wash road) to replace the former Preston Depot (now known as Thornbury Depot or Old Preston Depot), and to accommodate trams required for the new Bourke Street routes under construction. A double track entrance was provided, but its benefit was limited by using the same cumbersome track arrangement as at Malvern Depot and Camberwell Depot. A crossover was installed outside the depot (in addition to the existing crossover at Bell Street).

                                Thornbury Depot was closed as a traffic depot, and shortly afterwards the rails were removed from the sheds and the pits filled in. It was then used as a store for various material, however the depot fan remained intact and was available for storing trams.

 

JUNE 25   The Saturday morning service in La Trobe Street was discontinued.

 

JUNE 26   A new line was opened from Spencer Street to Northcote, via the former cable tram route along Bourke Street, Nicholson Street, Gertrude Street, Smith Street, Queens Parade and High Street, connecting with the East Preston line at Dundas Street. Built as double track, crossovers were provided at Queen Street, Russell Street, Spring Street, Exhibition (Gertrude Street), Johnston Street, Clifton Hill, Beavers Road and Dundas Street, plus two crossovers at the dead-end City terminus at Spencer Street. Two sets of double track connecting curves were installed at Victoria Parade. The East Preston service was diverted to run over the new line to the City via Bourke Street, operated from the new East Preston Depot.

                                Trams from Collins Street that formerly ran to East Preston were truncated at the Dundas Street corner, this service now being known as 'Northcote via St Georges Road'. The peak hour service from East Preston to the City via La Trobe Street continued to operate over the old route via St Georges Road. Fulltime through running to St Kilda was discontinued, most West Preston and Northcote via St Georges Road services now terminating at Spencer Street, and most services from South Melbourne & St Kilda Beach terminating at Brunswick Street. At night, on weekends and public holidays trams from St Kilda ran through to West Preston or Northcote, as well as some trips during peak periods. East Preston Depot operated the West Preston and Northcote services, and Hanna Street Depot operated the South Melbourne & St Kilda Beach service. Through services were operated by both depots.

                                New destination signs were introduced, showing expanded details of terminating points, such as ‘Northcote - Dundas St’, 'City - Spencer St' and ‘Fitzroy Smith & Johnston Sts’. On the West Preston line, ‘Thornbury’ was altered to ‘Thornbury - Miller St', and ‘North Fitzroy’ to ‘North Fitzroy - Barkly St’. The trade-off for more destination information, however, was that the signs were harder to read from a distance.

                                New trams were built for the Bourke Street line:

                                978, 979, 981 - 1000  22 W6 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops (some had commenced construction in 1952-1954).

                                1001 - 1017  17 W7 class bogie, drop-centre saloon trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. Basically similar to the W6 class, these trams featured fully upholstered longitudinal drop-centre seats (as in SW2 644, SW5 840 and PCC 980). Together with the W6 class, these trams were fitted with carbon insert trolley shoes, sound-proofed bodies, double helical gears and resilient wheels. All these trams were allocated to the new East Preston Depot. The new Bourke Street line was worked exclusively by W6 and W7 class trams, which also saw some service on the West Preston line, particularly at night and on weekends. Some of these trams were previously 'run-in' at Malvern Depot on the Kew Cotham Road- St Kilda Beach route.

                                The policy of only the most modern trams in Bourke Street highlighted some problems with MMTB tramcar allocation. At off-peak times, new saloon trams were sitting idle at East Preston Depot while services on other lines were maintained by older trams with weather blinds, while the comparatively few sliding door trams at other depots clocked up high mileages from constant use.

 

JULY 10   Services in the south-eastern suburbs were extensively altered. East Brighton trams were diverted via Dandenong Road instead of Balaclava Road, providing a City service in Hawthorn Road and Dandenong Road between Balaclava Junction and Orrong Road. Subsequently, the lightly patronised Caulfield - St Kilda Beach via Dandenong Road route was discontinued. Balaclava Road was served by running Darling Road trams direct to the City, rather than the circuitous route via Elsternwick. This gave the Darling Road route a full time City service, eliminating the night and weekend running to Point Ormond. The Point Ormond route operated full time as a shuttle service to Elsternwick Station. The peak hour William Street to East Brighton service continued to operate via Balaclava Road.

                                Operation of the Darling Road route was transferred from Glenhuntly Depot to Malvern Depot, although some peak period trips and racecourse special workings were still provided by Glenhuntly Depot.

                                The ‘Darling Road’ destination was altered to ‘East Malvern - Darling Road’, and subsequently the ‘East Malvern’ route was renamed ‘Malvern - Burke Road’. Some other destination signs were altered: ‘Caulfield’ became ‘Caulfield - Balaclava Jnc’; ‘East Brighton’ became ‘East Brighton Via Caulfield’; ‘South Caulfield’ became ‘South Caulfield - North Rd’; and ‘South Caulfield Jun’ was augmented by ‘South Caulfield Jun via Dandenong Rd’ and ‘South Caulfield Jun via Glenhuntly Rd’.

 

JULY 11   A crossover was installed in Flinders Street at Spencer Street, to allow some peak period North Balwyn and Hawthorn trams to avoid traffic congestion in Spencer Street.

 

OCT 2       A crossover was installed at Richmond on the east side of Hawthorn Bridge in Burwood Road, and the crossover on the City side of the bridge was relocated further west to River Street. The crossover on the east side was to be used by Richmond short workings, and the crossover on the west side was for Hawthorn Depot trams running to and from North Balwyn. (Hawthorn Depot operated some peak period trips on the North Balwyn line, which was otherwise operated by Kew Depot).

 

OCT         VR  Reflective tape was fitted to the aprons of trams to improve visibility at night.

 

DEC 7       The curve at the corner of Maribyrnong and Union Roads, Ascot Vale, was duplicated following the demolition of a corner building.

 

  ~~~        W2 275 was converted to the same SW2 class design as 644, following damage sustained in a collision with Victorian Railways tram No. 28. Both 275 and 644 were regarded as prototypes for the conversion of the entire W2 class to the SW2 design; however, lack of finance and political intervention prevented the proposal from being implemented.

 

 1956.

 

MAR 11    A crossover was installed in St Kilda Road at Commercial Road.

 

APR 8       The East Brunswick line was opened. It ran from Gertrude Street via Nicholson Street, replacing the former cable line, with an extension to Blyth Street, East Brunswick. Built as double track, it crossed the Inner Circle railway on the level, and crossovers were installed at Exhibition (Gertrude Street) and Park Street. A connecting curve was provided to the single track Holden Street line, and an equilateral 'Y' shunt was installed at the Blyth Street terminus.

                                Services ran to the City via Bourke Street, and were operated mostly by North Fitzroy Depot. Trams were housed in a small six-road depot built in a corner of the North Fitzroy bus depot, with two tracks under cover and a single track access to Nicholson Street. (The six-road depot would eventually be reduced to four roads by 1974 to make room for expanded bus operation). Because of the small size of the depot, some trips on the line were worked by East Preston Depot.

                                Like the East Preston line, the East Brunswick route was worked exclusively by W6 and W7 class trams. The trams were allocated to East Preston Depot, which supplied trams to North Fitzroy Depot. Maintenance of the trams was the responsibility of the East Preston Depot foreman, while the traffic staff came under the supervision of the North Fitzroy bus depot administration.

                                Due to political intervention, this was to be the last new tram line built in Melbourne until 1978. It is of interest to note that the Bourke Street lines were constructed at a time when many other Australian tramway systems had been or were being closed down. Brisbane was the only other city where any long-term tramway development was taking place, and even there the last major extension was made in 1951 when the Holland Park line reached Mount Gravatt.

 

APR 11     The SEC donated Bendigo No. 3 (formerly M class 114 and HTT No. 8) to the AETA for preservation, later passing to the TMSV. The MMTB allowed the tram to be stored at Malvern Depot.

 

april      External advertisements were introduced on MMTB trams. (Victorian Railways trams had supported exterior roof ads since 1922-3).

                VR  Crossbench trams 23 and 26 were scrapped. These trams had acted as spare cars at Sandringham, running whenever any of the four bogie trams were unavailable. As four trams were required for peak service, this left the line with no spares. Due to the impending closure of the line, No. 43 (the car fitted for rapid gauge conversion) was not sent down from Elwood, as was the usual practice if any tram was to be out of service for any length of time.

 

MAY         Coburg Depot, in use as a tram storage shed since 1952, was closed to trams completely and all rails were removed. The depot buildings were retained for use by the Overhead Branch.

 

JUNE        X class 'Birney' 217 was transferred to Footscray Depot, but saw little use.

 

JULY        Q class 143 was scrapped.

 

aug         Last 'W' type trams built:

                                1018 - 1040  23 W7 class trams built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops, 13 with body frames built by Ansair. Thirty further trams were planned, and construction of some was commenced but, due to political intervention, all new tram construction was halted. No. 1040 was the last new tram built until 1973.

 

                Ten W6 and W7 class trams were transferred to Kew Depot. This was to allow an evaluation of operating conditions due to a high incidence of wheel flats on the new resilient wheel trams, which was particularly noticable on the mass-concrete track adopted for the Bourke Street lines.

 

SEPT       All five CW5 class trams, Nos. 681 - 685, were converted to W5 class by September - October. This conversion involved the replacement of maximum-traction trucks with equal-wheel type, fitting of RC2 controllers and improving the seating layout. It was originally intended to convert these trams to a design similar to the W7 class, but lack of finance prevented this.

                                This conversion marked the end of regular use of maximum-traction trams in Melbourne. (In later years preserved ex-Melbourne maximum-traction trams would make occasional return visits from Ballarat or Bendigo for heritage purposes).

 

OCT 27     The Mont Albert and North Balwyn all-night trams were replaced by buses.

 

OCT         The South Melbourne & St Kilda Beach service was again extended to Luna Park on Sundays, as a trial. The extension was discontinued in April, 1957.

 

                VR  Single-truck trams 3 - 7, used as spare cars since 1942, were scrapped. The two works trams, Scrubber 1 and Breakdown Car 20, were now the only single-truck trams left at Elwood

 

NOV 5      VR  The Sandringham - Black Rock tramway was closed, No. 51 being the last tram. The depot at Sandringham continued to be used by the replacement buses.

                                There was such an extraordinary amount of community opposition to the closure that eleven years had elapsed since it was first proposed. Municipal takeover of the line was seriously considered by the Sandringham City Council, but was ultimately rejected due to the costs involved.

                                During that time the Victorian Railways also expressed their reluctance to continue operation of the St Kilda - Brighton line, and alternatives proposed included takeover of both lines by the MMTB. However, the MMTB was not keen on operating either line for a number of reasons, including the high cost of rehabilitation and standardisation with the rest of their system. Also, the VR were not keen to hand over the lines to the MMTB because of the possibility of them operating a through service from Brighton to the City, thereby depriving the St Kilda railway of revenue.

                                Of the four remaining trams at Sandringham, Nos. 48 and 49 were scrapped. Saloon trams 50 and 51 were transferred to Elwood, converted to broad gauge, repainted, had their foot-operated door valves replaced by hand valves, their manual-lap brakes replaced by self-lapping brakes, and then were not used in service at all.

 

  ~~~        W5 class 785 and 787 were converted to SW5 class, following accident damage. 785 became virtually identical to the W7 class, whereas 787 retained full bulkheads and square cornered drivers’ windows.

 

                Q class 139 and 191 and R class 174 were scrapped.

 

 1957.

 

JAN 1       VR  The first stage in the closure of the St Kilda - Brighton tramway was effected when the line was cut back to Middle Brighton (Park Street). No. 42 made the last run to Brighton Beach.

 

JAN          Moreland trams were altered to terminate at the crossover in Cameron Street at Brunswick Depot, rather than the siding in Moreland Road which was becoming subject to increasing traffic congestion.

 

FEB 16     All remaining all-night tram services were replaced by buses. Routes were rationalised and headways lengthened from hourly to 75 minutes, due to declining patronage.

                                Following the demise of the all-night services, all remaining Q and R class trams were withdrawn and stored. Q class Nos. 140 - 142, 144 - 150, 196 and 200, and R class Nos. 151 and 176 were scrapped shortly afterwards, while three Q class, Nos. 197 - 199, were retained for future conversion to works trams.

                                The two X class 'Birney' trams were also withdrawn at this time. No. 218 was scrapped and No. 217 was presented to the AETA, later passing to the TMSV. 217 remained on the system, stored at Malvern Depot until the 1980’s, when it was moved to Hawthorn Depot.

                                X2 class 676 was transferred to Camberwell Depot for use as a Drivers Instruction Car, replacing Q class 190, which was subsequently scrapped. (676 was still available for use on the Point Ormond line or at Footscray if required).

 

APRIL      The connecting curves at Camberwell terminus from Burke Road into Whitehorse Road were removed.

 

JULY 1     VR  The St Kilda - Brighton line was further cut back from Middle Brighton to Elwood Depot. No. 30 operated the last trip. The track and overhead remained in place to Harwood Street, a short distance beyond Elwood Depot. This was done to satisfy a legal requirement that a certain amount of time had to elapse between closures of the line in the City of Brighton, the municipal boundary being just south of the depot at Head Street.

 

AUG 16     The crossover at Camberwell terminus was replaced by an equilateral 'Y' shunt.

 

  ~~~        Q class 199 was converted to a Works Car. Conversion involved removal of sides and seats from the end compartments to enable transport of wheels, axles, and other equipment.

 

                VR  Bogie trams 31 and 42, and Scrubber Car 1 were scrapped.

 

 1958.

 

MAY 5      North Richmond - Prahran trams were diverted to St Kilda Beach most of the time, with operation to Prahran limited mainly to peak periods. Previously only night and weekend services operated to St Kilda Beach.

 

JUNE 30   The entrance to Camberwell Depot was replaced with a double track triangular junction, allowing trams to run in or out from either direction without shunting.

 

JULY 20   Operation of the Toorak route was transferred from Hanna Street Depot to Malvern Depot, although Hanna Street Depot continued to assist with peak period trips.

 

SEP 7       The Fawkner train service was withdrawn on Sunday evenings as an economy measure, it being considered that the North Coburg tram provided an adequate alternative service for the patronage offering. A bus service was operated from Fawkner to the North Coburg terminus, and Brunswick Depot trams had ‘Fawkner’ added to their destination rolls for use with the connecting service.

 

SEP 8       VR  The Dickens Street crossover on the St Kilda - Elwood line was placed out of use.

 

NOV         Through trams from Moreland to the City and Northcote via St Georges Road to the City were replaced by shuttle trams at night, operating to East Brunswick and Thornbury respectively, and connecting with City services to and from East Coburg or West Preston. Trams from the City displayed ‘East Coburg - Moreland’ or ‘West Preston - Northcote’ destination signs. This arrangement was shortly afterwards expanded to include Sundays and some Saturday trips. These shuttle trams became known by crews as the 'Tango' and the 'Hump car' respectively.

 

DEC         The single track junction at Lygon Street and Brunswick Road was altered to a trailing connection with the 'up' track, replacing the facing points on the 'down' track.

 

                A Rail Grinder was purchased from the Sydney tramways:

                                3  Reciprocating Rail Grinder built in the 1920's by S & E Co. for the New South Wales Government Tramways, receiving their number 2 and operating in both Sydney and Newcastle. Purchased by the MMTB and numbered 3, this vehicle differed from Rail Grinders 1 and 2 as no cabin was provided. T class 180 accompanied it as a crew car until a cabin was fitted in February 1960.

 

  ~~~        Side destination boxes were placed out of use. (Their function had been somewhat limited as many classes of tram, including all sliding door trams, were not fitted with them).

 

                Q class 197 was converted to a Blow-down Car. It was fitted with additional air compressors and used for cleaning trams in depots with compressed air.

 

                Q class 198 was converted to a Welding Car Loco. Its function was to provide motive power and act as an equipment supply and storage vehicle for a track welder. It was fitted at one end with an overhanging boom at roof level that connected to a welding trolley.

 

                VR  Bogie trams 30 and 41 were scrapped.

 

 1959.

 

FEB 28     VR  Final closure of the Victorian Railways trams. The remaining section of line from St Kilda Station to Elwood Depot was closed, No. 28 being the last tram. Elwood Depot was retained for use by the private bus operator who took over the services.

                                Saloon trams 52 - 54 were purchased by the MMTB. Nos. 52 and 53 had MMTB No. 15 trucks fitted (replacing the broad gauge Brill 77E trucks), plus route number boxes and standard destinations, and the tip-over seats were reinstated to the original transverse layout. They retained their numbers and were designated VR class, entering service in October 1959 and July 1960 respectively. No. 54 did not enter MMTB service, and remained derelict at Preston Workshops as a source of spare parts until being finally disposed of in 1967. The narrow doorways made these trams undesirable for use on heavily loaded City services, so they were allocated to Essendon Depot and used mainly on the lightly patronised cross-suburban Moonee Ponds - Footscray route.

                                All other 'railway trams' were disposed of during March and April.

 

MAY         Blow-down Car 197 (former Q class) was converted to a Scrubber Car, and re-numbered 9. Some parts were used from Scrubber Car 5, which was withdrawn and stored.

 

                The ten W6 and W7 class trams operating from Kew Depot to evaluate the incidence of wheel flats on resilient wheel trams were returned to East Preston Depot.

 

JULY 5     The north-west curves at Swan and Church Streets corner, Richmond, were removed. Trams running from Hawthorn Depot to North Richmond now had to shunt twice, first at Lennox Street and again at the crossover in Church Street.

 

AUG 12     Two Scrubber cars purchased from the Sydney tramways arrived in Melbourne:

                                10, 11  Scrubber Cars built in 1908 by Meadowbank Manufacturing Co. as K class passenger trams 763 and 797 for the New South Wales Government Tramways. They were converted at Randwick Workshops in Sydney to Scrubber trams 138s and 139s in 1952 and 1953 respectively. Due to the impending closure of the Sydney tramways, they were sold to the MMTB and became numbers 10 and 11, entering service in November 1959 and April 1960 respectively.

                                These trams were purchased following a suggestion from local gunzels, as an alternative to converting a new scrubber from Q class 198. They remained in service until 2002, making them the oldest vehicles in Australia still in routine use at the time (apart from heritage vehicles).

 

AUG 19     W2 313 was scrapped after suffering severe fire damage, being the first ‘W’ series tram to be disposed of. It was replaced by newly acquired VR class 52, causing proposals to rebuild 313 as an SW2 class to be dropped.

 

AUG 28     Work commenced on replacing the Elsternwick level crossing with grade separation. The crossover on the western side of the railway was removed.

 

SEP 24     A 'Y' shunt was installed at Burwood terminus.

 

SEPT       The crossover in Wellington Street east of St Kilda Junction was removed.

 

OCT         Freight Car 17 was fitted with all-over advertising panels.

 

NOV 13     The terminus of the South Melbourne & St Kilda Beach route was relocated from Beaconsfield Parade to Park Street. The track in Mary Street and Beaconsfield Parade was abandoned (including the connection to the Esplanade), and new track continued along Park Street, with a 'Y' terminus at Fitzroy Street. No physical connection was provided to Fitzroy Street. This relocation moved the terminus from a busy road to a quiet street, and reduced maintenance costs by eliminating curved track and point work.

 

NOV 15     Hawthorn Depot was closed on Sundays as an economy measure. Hawthorn - Spencer Street and North Richmond - St Kilda Beach services were now operated from Camberwell Depot on Sundays, while the Prahran - City service was replaced by a driver-only bus.

 

                Driver-only buses also replaced trams on Sundays on the Footscray - Moonee Ponds route, and on the Footscray local lines to Ballarat Road, Russell Street and Williamstown Road.

 

NOV 22     Temporary track on a new flyover in Flinders Street at King Street was brought into use; the permanent track was completed on June 26, 1960.

 

DEC         All T class trams were withdrawn and stored, except saloon car 178 which was still in use on the Point Ormond line. The local Footscray lines were now worked exclusively by X1 and X2 class trams.

 

 1960.

 

FEB 6       The use of buses on Sundays to replace trams on the Footscray local lines and the Moonee Ponds route was expanded to include Saturday afternoon and night.

 

                Welding Car Loco 198 (ex Q class, and intended to be converted to a Scrubber car before the acquisition of Nos. 10 and 11 from Sydney) was converted to a Sleeper Transport Car, and re-numbered 15. Conversion involved removal of the car sides and seats, and it was used for carrying sleepers and other per way material for work on open ballast track. In this role it often towed or propelled a ballast trailer.

 

                Works Car 199 (ex Q class) was re-numbered 16.

 

APRIL      The plantation in Hanna Street, South Melbourne, was narrowed to provide extra road lanes in preparation for the opening of the King Street bridge.

 

JUNE        T class 177 was converted to a Track Cleaner.

 

AUG         PCC class 980 was transferred from Malvern Depot to North Fitzroy Depot. Driver training problems inherent with a single non-standard tram based at a large depot led to little use at Malvern, which prompted the transfer to the small North Fitzroy Depot. Rosters were altered so that North Fitzroy Depot worked a run on the East Preston route, and 980 saw regular use on both Bourke Street services.

 

SEP         The trackwork at Moonee Ponds Junction was realigned to allow for new traffic arrangements, and provision of a passenger waiting area and bus terminal facilities.

 

SEP 18     The entrances to Essendon Depot were altered. Double track junctions replaced the former single track connections, and both crossovers were removed.

 

SEP 20     Hanna Street Depot was renamed South Melbourne Depot, following the renaming of Hanna Street to Kingsway. (Hanna Street Depot was originally so named to avoid confusion with the South Melbourne cable car depot). Destinations were altered to 'South Melb Depot’, however a few trams retained ‘Hanna St Depot’ signs into the 1980’s.

 

OCT 2       The Elsternwick railway level crossing was replaced by grade separation.

 

OCT 22     The Point Ormond - Elsternwick line was closed, X2 class 677 being the last tram. This was the last driver-only tram operation in Melbourne until 1990. (All Footscray single-truck trams had been two-person operated since 1945). Track and overhead remained in place until mid-1961.

                                Following the Point Ormond closure, T class 178 and X2 class 675 were withdrawn and stored, the latter due to accident damage.

 

  ~~~        Increased use of private motor vehicles since the 1950's had led to a decrease in tram patronage, and consequently a reduction in tram services. A large number of trams therefore became surplus to requirements, a factor that influenced decisions not to place the third VR class tram, No. 54, in service, and later to scrap vehicles badly damaged in accidents. (Previously, some accident-damaged trams were heavily rebuilt and upgraded to sliding door saloon vehicles). Surplus trams were allocated to a 'workshops pool' and sent to various depots as required.

 

 1961.

 

MARCH    Rails were re-installed in the sheds of Thornbury Depot, to increase the storage space available for trams which were now surplus to requirements.

 

APR 21     Overhead wiring on the Inner Circle railway was removed at the tram crossings on Lygon Street, Nicholson Street and St Georges Road, the job being completed by May 8.

 

MAY 28    A scissors crossover was installed at Toorak terminus. This allowed trams proceeding to and from Malvern Depot to pass terminating trams, and provided flexibility for standing trams not to impede peak traffic flow.

 

JULY        The Essendon crossover at Birdwood Street was removed.

 

AUG         W2 class 325 and W5 class 803 were both scrapped after severe accident damage.

 

SEP         T class 182 was presented to the AETA, later passing to the TMSV. This tram remained on the system, stored at Malvern Depot. T class 178, 179 and 181 were all scrapped during the year, leaving No. 180 in storage as the sole remaining T class tram.

 

OCT 15     The North Richmond terminus was altered: the Church Street crossover and siding were replaced by a 'Y' shunt, and the facing crossover in Victoria Street was replaced by a trailing crossover.

 

OCT         An additional road was installed in the South Melbourne Depot per-way yard.

 

                Some changes were made to trackwork on the Essendon Aerodrome line. The Fletcher Street crossover in Pascoe Vale Road was removed, and the Thomas Street crossover was relocated to Wilson Road for Moonee Valley Racecourse traffic. The Essendon Station crossover was relocated from Fletcher Street to around the corner in Mount Alexander Road before the railway bridge.

 

                The south-east curves at the corner of Wattletree and Glenferrie Roads, Malvern were removed. The curves on the north-east corner were retained.

 

                W3 class 654 was withdrawn and stored following accident damage.

 

NOV 19     Through trams from Malvern Burke Road to the City were replaced by a shuttle tram on Sundays, connecting with East Brighton - City trams at Orrong Road. This arrangement was shortly afterwards expanded to apply on Monday to Saturday nights. The Malvern shuttle became known by crews as the 'yo-yo'.

                                The Hawthorn - City tram was replaced by a bus shuttle on Sundays, connecting with North Balwyn - City trams at Hawthorn Bridge. Buses also replaced trams on Sundays on the West Maribyrnong line and the East Malvern Darling Road line; the latter was combined with the Prahran - City bus and ran to Batman Avenue via Chapel Street.

 

DEC 21     A program to change over current collection from trolley wheels to carbon skids was completed, with the exception of the local Footscray lines, which were never converted. Carbon skids proved successful by:

§  Providing a greater contact area between the trolley pole and overhead wire;

§  Reducing maintenance, both on the trams and on the trolley wire; and

§  Providing a significant reduction in noise.

 

DEC         Track Cleaner 177 (ex-T class) was re-numbered 6.

 

 1962.

 

JAN          The only cable car track built to electric tram standards (although never used as such), in Lonsdale Streeet between Elizabeth and Swanston Streets, was removed. This was part of a program to remove all remaining cable car tracks that were now no longer needed for electric trams. (It had been a legal requirement that any cable car track that was to be converted to electric traction had to be left in place after closure, otherwise an Act of Parliament would be needed to authorise construction of an electric tramway. Until the late 1950s the MMTB had been seriously considering the possible electrification of some long-closed cable lines, in particular Port Melbourne and West Melbourne).

 

MAR 10    The three local Footscray lines were closed, the MMTB considering that their light patronage could not justify the cost of continued operation. The last trams were X1 466 from Russell Street, X1 463 from Williamstown Road, and X1 459 from Ballarat Road, 459 also being the last tram into the depot. The Footscray tram shed was incorporated into the adjacent bus depot. This was the last use of single-truck trams in regular passenger service in Melbourne (except for tourist and heritage operations).

                                At one stage, it was proposed that the Williamstown Road line might be retained and linked on to the Moonee Ponds route. To this end, in the late 1950’s several W5 class trams from Essendon Depot were test run to Williamstown Road, together with L class 101 with the view that all six members of the L class could operate on the route. Nothing came of the proposal.

                                All X1 class trams (459 - 468), and X2 class 675, 677 and 678 were scrapped during the year. X2 679 and 680 were stored, while X2 676 continued in use as a Drivers Instruction Car at Camberwell Depot and later at Hawthorn Depot.

 

MAR 25    A 'Y' shunt was installed at Mont Albert terminus.

 

JUN 26     A 'Y' shunt was installed at Malvern Burke Road terminus.

 

JUNE        The St Kilda Beach balloon loop was removed. North Richmond and Kew Cotham Road trams now terminated on the remaining side-of-road single track in the Esplanade.

 

                The Show Grounds crossover in Epsom Road was relocated further north from Sandown Road to near Union Road.

 

                Points and crossings from the junction to the closed Point Ormond line at Glenhuntly and Brighton Roads, Elsternwick, were removed.

 

AUG 31     The Ascot Vale crossover in Maribyrnong Road was relocated further west, to ease traffic congestion.

 

NOV         'Y' shunts were installed at the St Kilda Beach terminus in Acland Street on November 1; at the North Balwyn terminus on November 5; and at the East Malvern Darling Road terminus on November 19.

 

DEC         Track Cleaner 6 was stored, last being used in October. Its equipment was considered too heavy for a single-truck car, and it was decided to transfer it to a bogie tram. W2 class 361 was scrapped to provide necessary parts. Trucks, sub-frame and driver cabins from 361 were used, and the 'new' tram was completed in 1963, retaining the number 6. 'Old' No. 6 (ex-T class 177) was scrapped in April 1963.

 

  ~~~        W2 class trams 271 and 274 were scrapped.

 

 1963.

 

JULY        The MMTB proposed combining the East Malvern Darling Road - City and Prahran - City lines into one route, from East Malvern Darling Road to Batman Avenue via Chapel Street (as followed by the bus on Sundays). Work progressed as far as installing some point frogs for the necessary connecting curves at the Carlisle and Chapel Streets corner, before the project was dropped. The point frogs remained in place for over ten years.

 

SEP 15     The crossover at Bell Street on the East Preston line was removed (the crossover at the depot remaining), and a 'Y' shunt was installed at East Preston terminus.

 

NOV         W2 class 295 was converted to a Re-railing Instruction Car for breakdown crews. This involved replacing one of the No. 1 trucks with a No. 13 truck, to enable training on the two basic truck types in use.

 

  ~~~        X2 class 679 and 680 were disposed of. X2 676 survived scrapping because of an edict that came down from Head Office stating that all Footscray trams were to be scrapped. As 676 was allocated to Camberwell Depot for driver training at the time, it was ‘overlooked’ by Preston Workshops personnel sympathetic to its retention.

 

                Scrapping of surplus W2 class trams commenced in earnest, and 16 trams were disposed of: Nos. 231, 235, 236, 264, 266, 276, 285, 316, 318, 339, 400, 404, 420, 423, 430 and 494.

 

 1964.

 

FEB 4       The north-west curves at the corner of Malvern and Glenferrie Roads were removed. The curves on the south-west corner were retained.

 

APRIL      W2 class 485 was converted to a Sleeper Transport Car. Conversion involved removal of drop-centre seats and one set of side panels diagonally oppsite. This came about because existing Sleeper Transport Car No. 15 received some accident damage during trackwork in Dandenong Road, and a replacement vehicle was urgently needed. Following completion of the track work, and repairs to No. 15, 485 was placed in storage and was occasionally used as a training car for breakdown crews.

 

NOV 18     W5 class 813 was severely damaged in an accident and was stored.

 

DEC         Following accident damage, Track Cleaner 7 was rebuilt with the end frames and cabins from W2 class 356, which had been scrapped on September 22.

 

  ~~~        W2 class 419 was converted to an unpowered Flat Car Trailer and renumbered 20. Conversion involved removal of the body except for a cabin at one end, and removal of all electrical equipment. Intended to be towed or propelled by another tram (probably No. 15), it was never used as such due to union concerns about safety in traffic.

                Nine W2 class trams were disposed of: Nos. 237, 238, 265, 287, 291, 310, 317, 452 and 519.

 

 1965.

 

FEB 13     Hawthorn Depot was closed as a traffic depot. Services were rationalised by diverting Burwood trams (operated by Camberwell Depot) from Batman Avenue to the City via Bridge Road, Flinders Street and Spencer Street, incorporating the Hawthorn route and also eliminating the Sunday bus shuttle.

                                Operation of the Prahran - City route was transferred to Glenhuntly Depot, while the North Richmond - Prahran / St Kilda Beach route was jointly operated by Glenhuntly Depot and Kew Depot. On Sunday mornings and nights, North Balwyn trams operated as a shuttle service to Hawthorn Bridge, connecting with the Burwood - City service.

                                Hawthorn Depot remained in use for storing trams, as well as continuing to house the uniform department and Drivers Instruction School.

                                As Camberwell Depot now operated less trams to Batman Avenue, to avoid busy City running the Y and Y1 class trams (469, 610 - 613) were transferred to Glenhuntly Depot for use on the Chapel Street routes.

 

FEB 27     Work commenced on replacing the Maribyrnong River trams-only bridge and the adjacent road bridge with a new combined tram and road bridge. This replacement was brought about due to the deteriorating condition of the road bridge, together with the desire to replace the awkward ‘dog-leg’ road layout with a new straight alignment.

 

MAR 15    The Lennox Street crossover in Swan Street, Richmond, was removed. Since the closure of Hawthorn Depot, it was no longer required for access to the Chapel Street routes.

 

MAR 16    The final single-track portion of the North Coburg line to the terminus was duplicated, with a ‘Y’ shunt installed.

 

APRIL 2    W2 class 279 was scrapped.

 

APRIL      All five Y and Y1 class trams were withdrawn from service due to Glenhuntly Depot crews refusing to operate them without external mirrors. (Contrary to urban myth, the trams were not banned because of their potential use as driver-only vehicles, although that was a concern at the time of their construction. Over 20 years later, mirrors were finally fitted for the operation of heritage services.)

NOV         A new sign, ‘E. Brighton 64 Malv Burke Rd 5’, was added to destination rolls for use by East Brighton trams connecting with the Malvern 'yo-yo' service.

 

 1966.

 

JAN 22     The trackwork at South Caulfield Junction was altered. The double track curves on the north-west corner, and the single track curve on the south-west corner were removed; they were replaced by single track curves on both the north-east and south-east corners. A new crossover was also installed in Hawthorn Road on the south side of Glenhuntly Road. These new arrangements facilitated trams running to and from the East Brighton line and Glenhuntly Depot.

 

APRIL      The Bowen Street crossover on the Burwood line was removed.

 

JUNE 24   Accident damged W5 class 813 was scrapped.

 

JULY 7     The overhead wiring was removed from the second 'siding' track at Footscray terminus.

 

JULY 24   The crossover in Glenferrie Road south of Riversdale Road was removed.

 

NOV         Scrubber car 5 was scrapped. This tram had been stored since 1959 when its scrubbing equipment was removed for use in No. 9.

 

                New 'Ferrodo' composition brake shoes were introduced. These proved much quieter and more effective than the old cast iron type, and were gradually fitted to the entire fleet (except trams in storage).

 

                W2 class 267 was converted to a Re-railing Instruction Car, replacing No. 295, which was withdrawn and stored.

 

DEC 12     The East Coburg line was duplicated from Crozier Street to the Bell Street terminus.

 

  ~~~        12 W2 class trams were scrapped: 252, 256, 289, 290, 296, 299, 305, 309, 326, 348 and 413.

 

 1967.

 

JAN 8       The Sunday night Fawkner tram/bus connection was extended to Upfield, in line with the extension of railway electrification. Connecting trams displayed ‘North Coburg Upfield Rly Stn’ destination signs.

 

JUNE 9     Replacement of the Maribyrnong River trams-only bridge by a shared tram / road bridge was completed.

 

JUNE 25   The south-west connecting curves were removed at the corner of Brighton Road and Carlisle Street, St Kilda. The north-east curves were retained.

 

JUNE 26   W5 class 774 was featured in ‘Our World’, the first around-the-world live TV satellite telecast.

 

JUNE        Former Re-railing Instruction Car W2 295 was scrapped.

 

JULY 30   The Camberwell Junction crossover in Riversdale Road was relocated further east to Butler Street.

 

AUG 20     The crossover in Glenferrie Road at Dandenong Road was relocated around the corner to the reserved track in Dandenong Road.

 

OCT         Work commenced on the St Kilda Junction project, an elaborate roadwork engineering scheme to relieve a major traffic bottleneck.

 

                VR class 54, which had lain derelict since acquisition by the MMTB, was scrapped.

 

                W3 class 654, in storage since 1961 following accident damage, was scrapped.

 

  ~~~        20 W2 class trams were scrapped: Nos. 228, 232, 239, 240, 286, 297, 300, 306, 307, 308, 330, 343, 351, 365, 372, 379, 429, 443 and 508.

 

 1968.

 

JAN 14     The Dandenong Road and Chapel Street intersection was realigned as part of the St Kilda Junction roadwork project.

 

APR 11     A crossover was installed in Glenferrie Road at Gardiner Road, Kooyong.

 

OCT 21     New track was opened in Queensway, a new bypass road connecting Dandenong Road with Queens Road running under St Kilda Junction. The tram track was constructed in open ballast and located in a central reservation, and connected the St Kilda Road track with the Dandenong Road track, replacing the Wellington Street line, which was abandoned. The new line joined the St Kilda Road track to the north of the old junction (on temporary track pending completion of work).

 

OCT         All W4 class trams, Nos. 670 - 674, were withdrawn and stored following union opposition. This was due to their less than satisfactory braking performance, and the lack of visibility in the driver’s mirror of the recessed steps.

 

NOV 17     All-night bus services were discontinued.

 

NOV         The St Kilda Junction tram track alterations were completed. Trams from the City in St Kilda Road entered reserved track in the centre of the junction, passed through a newly installed crossover, and proceeded down a ramp to a junction with the new Queensway line, which was set at a lower level than the surrounding roadway. East Brighton and Malvern Burke Road trams turned left here, and proceeded down another ramp to reach the Queensway reserved track. Carnegie, East Malvern Darling Road and St Kilda Beach trams continued south, proceeded up a ramp and, after regaining road level, negotiated another junction. Here, St Kilda Beach trams turned right into Fitzroy Street, while the others proceeded straight ahead into High Street (later renamed St Kilda Road). The crossover in Fitzroy Street was removed.

 

  ~~~        W2 class 304, 320 and 341 were scrapped.

 

 1969.

 

JAN 20     The Haymarket crossover was relocated from the roundabout, where shunting trams fouled the roadway, to the reserved track in Peel Street.

 

FEB 9       The tracks in Flemington Road at Flemington Bridge were relocated in reservation due to construction of the Tullamarine Freeway.

 

APRIL      All W3 class trams, Nos. 655 - 669, were withdrawn and stored, due to defects discovered in the trucks.

 

MAY 1      The Elsternwick Station crossover was removed and replaced by a new crossover in Brighton Road, north of Glenhuntly Road.

 

                T class 180 was exchanged with T class 182 from the TMSV (which had remained on the system stored at Malvern Depot). 180 also remained on the system stored at Malvern Depot until the 1980’s, when it was moved to Hawthorn Depot.

 

MAY 18    A track junction was installed at Nolan Street in St Kilda Road, in preparation for diversion of the South Melbourne Beach route due to construction of the City Road underpass.

 

JUNE        All six L class trams, Nos. 101 - 106 (which had spent most of their lives operating from Glenhuntly Depot), were withdrawn from regular service and placed at various depots as standby trams:

                101 102 Brunswick

                103 Essendon

                104 South Melbourne

                105 Glenhuntly

                106 Malvern

                                As such 104 and 105 saw occasional peak service, the others receiving very little or no use (except for one brief period in Jan - March 1977 when all six cars were used due to a severe rolling stock shortage).

 

JULY 28   A crossover was installed in Victoria Parade at Hoddle Street, East Melbourne, on the Mont Albert line.

 

AUG 31     The crossover in Spencer Street at Bourke Street was placed out of use by replacing point blades and mates with straight rail.

 

AUG         The crossover in Glenhuntly Road west of Hawthorn Road on the Carnegie line was removed.

 

                The standard weeknight service frequency was reduced from a 15 minute headway to a 20 minute headway on most routes.

 

                The centre doorway was removed from W5 class 727. This led to the implementation of a gradual modernisation program for W5 class trams. 87 trams of the class total of 121 were so treated by 1983, when a further upgrade program to SW5 class was commenced.

 

SEP 6       A new entrance was installed at Malvern Depot. Both sheds now connected to a single track in Coldblo Road, from which turnouts were provided north and south to both up and down tracks in Glenferrie Road. Trams could now run in or out from both sheds in either direction without shunting. However, although it was a big improvement on the previous cumbersome arrangement, congestion and delays still resulted from conflicting movements due to adjacent buildings blocking visibility on the corners.

 

                The crossover in Glenferrie Road north of High Street (outside Malvern Town Hall) was removed.

 

OCT         T class 182, recently exchanged for T 180 from the TMSV, was scrapped.

 

NOV 23     W2 class 475 was placed in the 'Engine House' at the corner of Nicholson and Gertrude Streets, Fitzroy, as a Conductor Training Tram.

 

DEC         W2 class 533 was converted to a Laboratory Test Car. It was fitted with various equipment and used to carry out all manner of tests and experiments, including testing overhead, trackwork, brakes, power consumption, noise levels, etc. The tram was operated from Preston Workshops.

 

 1970.

 

JAN          The centre poles in Peel Street between Dudley Street and Victoria Street were removed.

 

FEB          W2 class 319 was scrapped. W2 class 221 was converted to a Re-railing Instruction Car, replacing W2 267, which was stored.

 

MAR 16    A new track in Nolan Street, South Melbourne, was opened, from Sturt Street to St Kilda Road. It replaced the track in Sturt Street from Nolan Street to City Road, which was abandoned due to construction of the City Road underpass. A crossover was provided in Nolan Street at St Kilda Road.

 

MAR 22    A crossover was installed in Collins Street at Russell Street.

 

MAY 5      W2 class 485, which had been converted to a Sleeper Transport Car, was scrapped.

 

JUNE        To improve visibility, SW6 class 940 was fitted with multiple head and tail lights. All trams still in regular traffic were fitted by January 1974, with the exception of the L class (101 -106) which were used infrequently as stand-by trams.

 

SEP 24     W2 class 267, in use until February as a Re-railing Instruction Car, was scrapped.

 

SEP 28     The Wattle Park line was duplicated from Warrigal Road to the Elgar Road terminus. A crossover was installed at Warrigal Road.

 

OCT 21     On the Essendon Aerodrome line, a bridge in Matthews Avenue over a new freeway was brought into use.

 

OCT         Sunday services on the West Coburg - Domain Road route were truncated to terminate in the City at Collins Street in William Street. No service was provided between Collins Street and Domain Road.

 

NOV 1      Extensive alterations were made to route numbers. (For details, see Appendix 1).

 

NOV         W7 class 1024 was fitted out as a decorated tram for advertising purposes on a permanent basis. This tram had previously been illuminated on several occasions.

 

 1971.

 

MARCH    W2 class 380 was brought out of storage and allocated to Hawthorn Depot as a driver and conductor training tram.

 

MAY 16    Sunday services on the West Coburg route were diverted to run into the City via Elizabeth Street. No Sunday service was provided via William Street to Domain Road.

 

MAY         PCC class 980 was withdrawn and stored at Preston Workshops. It was used for testing and development work for the design of a prototype car for a proposed fleet of 100 new trams.

 

JUNE 6     The Sunday evening North Coburg tram/bus connection replacing the Upfield train was expanded to operate all day Sunday.

 

AUG 27     The crossover in Spencer Street south of Bourke Street, placed out of use in August 1969, was removed completely.

 

SEP 20     The crossover outside Hawthorn Depot in Wallen Road was removed, and the entrance to the depot was reduced to single track, the western track being truncated to the depot boundary. Consequently, trams from roads 6 and 7 had to reverse into road 5 and then exit the depot via the eastern track, with the reverse procedure required upon entry. As the two roads concerned were mainly used for stored trams this presented no significant operational inconvenience.

 

SEPT 14   Five days before the final closure of the Ballarat tramways, No. 36, an ex-HTT tram, was donated to the Hawthorn City Council and transferred to Preston Workshops. From Sept 20 the tram ran for one week between Domain Road and the City via Swanston Street, operating from South Melbourne Depot, to advertise Ballarat as a tourist destination. It did not carry passengers while in this role. It was also used for an official function carrying municipal representatives between Camberwell and the City over portion of the former HTT routes. It was then returned to Preston Workshops for storage, pending a decision about its future use.

 

DEC         The crossover in Racecourse Road at Epsom Road was removed.

 

  ~~~        All three Rail Grinders, Nos. 1, 2 and 3, were withdrawn. No. 1 was scrapped on April 7, No. 3 was scrapped on September 14, and No. 2 was scrapped in November.

 

 1972.

 

MAR 14    The Ammunition Factory crossover in Gordon Street on the Footscray line was removed.

 

APRIL      Y class 469 and Y1 class 610 were allocated to Hawthorn Depot as driver training trams. The open saloon design of these trams made them ideal for driving instruction purposes compared to the relatively cramped confines of a W class cabin. W2 class 380 was now predominantly used only as a conductor training tram.

 

MAY         The centre poles in William Street were removed.

 

JUNE 4     The crossover in William Street at Collins Street was removed.

 

JULY        SW6 class 900 was fitted out as a second decorated tram to augment W7 1024. Each tram was used for advertising contracts on alternate months, one being in traffic while the other was being prepared for the next month.

 

AUG 27     The Moreland Road siding and crossover were removed.

 

NOV         PCC class 980 had its trucks and electrical equipment removed for use in construction of Protoype tram 1041. The body of 980 was placed in storage at Preston Workshops.

 

 1973.

 

FEB 1       The entrance to Preston Workshops was modified by repositioning the junction of the western boundary track and the southern track to the store from outside the gates to within the workshops yard. This was done so that trams would not block traffic in St Georges Road while changing points.

 

FEB 12     A 'Y' shunt was installed at Footscray terminus.

 

FEB          The drop-centre of VR class 53 was modified with standard width doors replacing the narrow doors, and the seating layout altered from transverse to longitudinal. Despite the fact that this modification was made so that the tram would be more suitable for use on busy City routes, it was still predominantly operated on the cross-suburban Moonee Ponds - Footscray line. Plans to convert the other VR class tram, No. 52, were dropped because the cost of converting No. 53 was considered excessive.

 

                Track Cleaner 6 was withdrawn and stored.

 

MAR 12    W2 233 was converted to a Line Marker Car, and fitted with spray painting equipment for marking clearance lines on the roadway next to the tram tracks. It was operated from South Melbourne Depot.

 

APR 19     The first new tram built since 1956, Prototype car 1041, breaks down on the way to its official launch:

                                1041  Bogie, all-electric, straight-sill saloon tram built by the MMTB at Preston Workshops. Fitted with PCC trucks and some electrical equipment from No. 980, this tram was designed as a prototype for construction of an initial 100 new trams. An all-electric vehicle operated with foot controls, its body design featured a front entrance and centre exit, with a seated conductor. It was painted orange to make it distinctive from the rest of the fleet, and classified as 'PCC'. (As No. 980, in storage minus trucks, was still classed as PCC, there were officially two PCC trams on the system but only one set of PCC equipment). This was the last new tram to be wholly built at Preston Workshops, all subsequent cars being constructed by outside contractors.

 

MAY 19    The single-track connecting curve at Elizabeth and La Trobe Streets on the south-east corner was removed. It was replaced by a new single-track connecting curve on the south-west corner, which was installed a short time earlier. This was done in preparation for the relocation of tracks in La Trobe Street due to construction of the Museum underground railway station.

 

JUNE 19   A siding was installed in Victoria Parade at Brunswick Street for terminating trams to shunt out of the way of through trams on the Mont Albert line. It was brought into use on July 3.

 

JULY 10   The Gisborne Street crossover was removed.

 

JULY        Y1 class 613 was allocated to Hawthorn Depot as a third Drivers Instruction Car, joining Y 469 and Y1 610.

 

AUG 26     Prototype PCC class 1041 entered revenue service, running demonstration trips over all routes before taking up regular running in Bourke Street to Exhibition and East Brunswick. It was operated from Preston Workshops, the only traffic car so allocated.

 

SEP 14     Ballarat 36, owned by the Hawthorn City Council and in storage at Preston Workshops for the past two years pending a decision about its future use, was acquired by the TMSV and removed to their Bylands museum.

 

OCT 24     The crossover in Hawthorn Road south of Balaclava Junction was removed.

 

NOV 27     The crossover in Power Street north of Wallen Road, Hawthorn, was removed. The tracks were realigned as part of roadworks to eliminate a sharp curve at the intersection.

 

DEC 17     The tracks in La Trobe Street between Elizabeth and Swanston Streets were deviated to allow for construction of the Museum underground railway station.

 

 1974.

 

FEB          The program to fit all trams in regular service with multiple head and tail lights was completed, W2 219 being the last tram fitted. The six L class trams, used only as stand-by cars, were not fitted, nor were stored trams of the W2, W3, W4, PCC and Y1 classes, nor trams in exclusive use as works cars or training trams.

 

MAR 18    The track in High Street, St Kilda (later renamed St Kilda Road) between St Kilda Junction and Carlisle Street was relocated in a central reservation as part of a road widening project.

 

JUNE        The Preston Workshops fibreglass shop, having outgrown its facility adjoining the paint shop, was relocated across the road to Thornbury Depot. This required shortening of roads 5 - 9 in the east shed and also removal of some overhead wire, resulting in only roads 5 - 7 being available for routine tram layovers. Roads 1 - 4 continued in use for storage of trams.

 

DEC 19     The crossover in Chapel Street north of Carlisle Street was removed.

 

DEC         W2 class 337 was converted to a Mobile Office in Preston Workshops, for use by contractors connected with the construction of new trams.

 

  ~~~~      A policy was implemented to gradually convert all SW6 class trams with tip-over or bus-type seats to the standard layout (as used in the W5, SW5, W6 and W7 classes). This was to take place as they became due for major overhaul. By 1992, all trams had been converted except Nos. 857 (tip-over seats), and 900 and 902 (bus-type seats).

 

 1975.

 

FEB 19     The crossover in High Street at Orrong Road on the Glen Iris line was removed.

 

MAR 21    W2 class 259 was scrapped. This tram had lain derelict at Preston Workshops for several years after being extensively cannibalised for repairs to other trams.

 

APR 30     The first new trams of the order for 100 cars were officially unveiled:

                                1 - 4  Four Z class bogie, all-electric, straight-sill saloon cars built by Commonwealth Engineering. Unlike Prototype 1041, they were not fitted with PCC trucks or control equipment, and consequently they had rough riding, accelerating and braking qualities. Other features of the prototype were retained: orange livery, all-electric vehicle, foot controls, front entrance and centre exit and a seated conductor (which slowed down loading considerably at busy times). The numbering recommenced from 1 rather than continuing from 1042 to signify a new era; however, the same reasoning did not apply to the letter classification. (In 1983, letter classification started over again from A for new trams).

                                Initially the cars ran demonstration trips over all routes, operating from Preston Workshops. The prototype, PCC 1041, was still operating in Bourke Street, but was withdrawn and stored shortly afterwards.

 

JUNE 30   As more new trams were delivered, and following completion of the demonstration runs on all routes, the first Z class cars entered regular service on the East Brunswick route, based at North Fitzroy Depot. This commenced a trend whereby displaced W6 and W7 class trams were re-allocated to various other depots, no longer being exclusively based at East Preston and North Fitzroy. (A new brown uniform for crews was introduced at this time, gradually replacing the traditional blue).

 

OCT 8       A union ban on women tram drivers was finally rescinded. Women had been employed as conductors since World War 2, but a previous attempt to promote women to the driving grade in the early 1950s had been vetoed by the union.

 

OCT 17     Concrete kerbing was placed alongside the eastern track in Nicholson Street, Fitzroy, to segregate motor and tram traffic. This proved successful and variations of the style, such as jiggle bars, would be installed in various locations over ensuing years.

 

NOV         VR class 52 was withdrawn and stored due to rust in the body.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                5 - 24 20 Z class trams built by Commonwealth Engineering.

 

 1976.

 

JAN 4       North Fitzroy Depot became fully operated by Z class cars. A small number of trips on the East Brunswick line were still operated by W6 and W7 class trams from East Preston Depot. (This commenced a policy of introducing new trams on a route-by-route basis, as opposed to replacing old rolling stock over the entire system. Consequently, by the mid-1980’s W2 class trams were still being used extensively on off-peak services on some routes, while modern trams sat idle in depots.)

 

JAN 19     The Holden Street connecting line was closed from Lygon Street to St Georges Road, although the section from Lygon Street to Nicholson Street remained in place until September 24, 1980. Short sections at each end (approximately two tram lengths) were retained as sidings. (This closure was not planned by the MMTB - a local council dug up the tracks during roadworks, and the MMTB did not seek to reinstate them.)

 

FEB 18     The junction of the closed Holden Street line with Nicholson Street was removed.

 

FEB 22     The first Z class cars were allocated to East Preston Depot, and entered service on the East Preston route. They were also utilised on some runs to East Brunswick.

 

APRIL      Low-numbered works trams were re-numbered with a 'W' suffix, to avoid duplication with Z class numbers. Trams affected were: 7W, 8W, 9W, 10W, 11W, 15W, 16W, 17W, and 19W. No. 6 and No. 20 were not renumbered, as both vehicles were out of service.

 

OCT 7       The last section of the Essendon Airport line, running adjacent to Vaughan Street from Matthews Avenue to the terminus, was closed. A new terminus was constructed in Matthews Avenue a short distance to the north. As many of the functions of Essendon Airport had been taken over by a new facility at Tullamarine several years prior, this short length of track now attracted little patronage. Closure of the section enabled a level crossing on a busy highway to be removed.

 

OCT 15     VR class 53 was re-numbered 700 to avoid duplication with new Z class 53.

 

DEC 8       Flat Car Trailer No. 20 was scrapped.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                25 - 62  38 Z class cars built by Commonwealth Engineering. To mark the halfway point of the initial new tram order, No. 50 operated demonstration runs on most routes.

 

                W2 class 600 was transferred to Hawthorn Depot for use as a training tram. (Actually, due to its poor general condition, 600 was one of the earliest W2 class trams to be displaced from service by the new Z class cars. It was sent to Hawthorn Depot for storage, where it was appropriated by the training school for instruction purposes - and the transfer subsequently became official. As such, one of the most run-down W2s outlasted almost all other members of the class that were in superior condition!)

 

                W2 class 394 was converted for use as a second Contractors Mobile Office in Preston Workshops.

 

                11 W3 class trams were disposed of: Nos. 655, 656, 658 - 661, 663, 664, 666, 667 and 669.

 

                All five W4 class trams (Nos. 670 - 674) were disposed of.

 

 1977.

 

JAN - MAR        All six L class trams were in extensive service due to a severe rolling stock shortage, except No. 103 at Essendon Depot, which saw only occasional use.

 

MAY 2      The Bourke Street routes to East Brunswick and East Preston were now exclusively operated by Z class trams.

 

                W2 class 546 was converted to a Pantograph Testing Car. Conversion involved replacing the trolley pole at one end with a pantograph, and fitting of a closed circuit camera to monitor same from within the tram. The overhead from Preston Workshops to West Preston was modified for extensive pantograph tests.

 

JUNE        A temporary crossover was installed in Swanston Street at Bourke Street to facilitate shunting movements during trackwork.

 

                VR class 52 was notionally renumbered 701 for administrative purposes, to avoid conflict with new Z class 52. Being in storage and unlikely to return to active duty, the tram itself was not renumbered.

 

AUG 1      The first Z class trams were attached to Camberwell Depot and commenced operation on the Burwood route. This was in preparation for an extension of the line to East Burwood, which was thought desirable by the MMTB to be operated by new trams.

 

AUG 4      W3 class 668 was disposed of.

 

OCT 23     Tracks at St Kilda Beach outside Luna Park were rearranged to allow North Richmond and Kew Cotham Road trams to terminate in the centre of a new roundabout. The old side-of-road terminus was removed, and two new crossovers were installed, one in Carlisle Street and the other in the Esplanade just past the junction points. (The existing crossover in the Esplanade was retained).

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                63 - 86  24 Z class trams built by Commonwealth Engineering.

 

                W2 class 417 was transferred to Hawthorn Depot for use as a training tram.

 

                Six W2 class trams were disposed of: 294, 357, 428, 499, 505 and Conductor Instruction Car 475.

 

                Z class 5 was experimentally fitted with ‘chopper’ control equipment to evaluate possible use in any future orders for new trams.

 

 1978.

 

FEB 13     The Bourke Street pedestrian mall was opened, between Elizabeth and Swanston Streets. Trams continued to operate through the mall.

 

MAR 21    A crossover was installed in Royal Parade between Park Street and Brunswick Road on the North Coburg line.

 

MAR 28    The duties of the Freight Car were taken over by a road truck, and Nos. 17W and 19W were stored. 17W had actually been out of service since October 1977, and subsequently a decision was made to restore it to near original condition as a V class toastrack tram.

 

MARCH    Decorated tram 900 was stripped of its extra lighting and reverted to a standard SW6 class; its place as an illuminated advertising car was taken by W6 class 990.

 

APR 22     A crossover was installed in Kingsway, South Melbourne, at City Road.

 

APRIL      The crossover in Royal Parade, Parkville, at Ievers Street on the North Coburg line was removed, having been made redundant by the new crossover at Brunswick Road.

 

JUNE 11   The La Trobe Street track was reinstated to the normal straight alignment between Swanston and Elizabeth Streets.

 

JULY 12   The Burwood line was extended a short distance from Warrigal Road to Somers Street, built as double track with a crossover at the new terminus. The points at Warrigal Road were removed.

 

JULY 19   The Burwood line was extended from Somers Street via the Burwood Highway to Middleborough Road, East Burwood. Built as double track predominantly in a central reservation, this extension was operated exclusively by Z class trams, and was the first major extension of a tram line since 1956.

                                Due to space constraints in Camberwell Depot, weekday operation of the Camberwell - City route was now shared with Malvern Depot.

 

AUG 17     The first Ministry Of Arts 'Transporting Art' painted tram was launched. 15 W2 class trams were painted between 1978 and 1982, followed by 15 SW5 class trams between 1986 and 1992.

 

AUG         The two Contractors Mobile Offices, W2 class 337 and 394, had their motors and trolley poles removed, and a plastic cover placed over their deteriorating roofs. They continued to function as mobile offices but, although able to be towed around the workshops, they now remained stationary most of the time.

 

SEP 8       Z class trams were reclassified: No. 5 became ZC class (as it had been experimentally fitted with chopper control equipment); Nos. 81 - 100 became Z1 class; and Nos. 101 - 115 (still under construction) became Z2 class. Nos. 1 - 4 and 6 - 80 were gradually reclassified as Z1 class by 1980 as modifications (to the trucks and disc brakes) were made to conform them to Nos. 81 - 100.

 

NOV 13     Z and Z1 class trams commenced running on the Wattle Park line, operated from Camberwell Depot.

 

NOV         The temporary crossover in Swanston Street at Bourke Street was removed.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                87 - 100  14 Z1 class trams built by Commonwealth Engineering.

 

                W2 class 568 was transferred to Hawthorn Depot for use as a Drivers Instruction Car.

 

                22 W2 class trams were disposed of: Nos. 225, 324, 354, 386, 387, 401, 412, 414, 457, 476, 484, 512, 518, 527, 536, 537, 559, 580, 591, 599, 628 and 632.

 

 1979.

 

JAN 18     The crossover in Queensbridge Street was removed, being made redundant by the new crossover in Kingsway at City Road.

 

JAN 29     Two heritage trams were officially launched as part of a transport cavalcade. Freight Car 17 had been restored to near original condition as V class 'toastrack' 214. It was painted in MMTB chocolate and cream, and numbered with a V prefix to avoid conflict with new tram construction. X2 class 676, previously in use as a Drivers Instruction Car, received some refurbishment work and was also painted in a chocolate and cream livery.

 

FEB 4       A Sunday tourist tram service commenced operation from Batman Avenue to Hawthorn, utilising V214 with 676 available as a standby car in case of inclement weather. 676 continued to be available for driver training duties as required. Both trams operated from Camberwell Depot (although as an interim measure 676 was housed at South Melbourne Depot until August 5 due to space limitations at Camberwell). After the first year of operation, the service operated only in the warmer months, going into a winter recess each year.

 

MARCH    The crossover in St Kilda Road at Commercial Road was placed out of use by removal of the crossing frogs.

 

APRIL      The crossover in Toorak Road at Chapel Street was removed.

 

MAY         In conjunction with roadworks to flare the intersection, tracks at the corner of Victoria Parade and Hoddle Street were realigned to ease a sharp reverse curve.

 

AUG 5      Malvern Depot now operated all trams on the Camberwell - City route, with one curious exception: to avoid Malvern Depot opening or closing any earlier or later, the first and last trams ran only to Gardiner, where they connected with a Z class car from Camberwell Depot that operated to the terminus.

                                To make room at Malvern Depot, operation of the East Malvern Darling Road line was transferred to Glenhuntly Depot. Camberwell Depot now provided regular services only for the Wattle Park and East Burwood lines.

                                The Wattle Park line became fully operated by Z and Z1 class trams. W class trams ceased to operate from Camberwell Depot which was now allocated Z and Z1 class cars exclusively, except for tourist trams V214 and 676.

 

AUG         The storage track on the south side of the paint shop in Preston Workshops was removed.

 

SEP 26     New trams operated promotional trips in Bourke Street:

                                116 - 121  Six Z3 class bogie, all-electric, straight-sill saloon trams built by Commonwealth Engineering. These trams featured 'Duwag' trucks and thyristor 'chopper' control, and were a vast improvement on the previous Z class trams - the superior riding, acceleration and braking qualities virtually eliminated the rough riding characteristics of the Z class. The Z3 class still persisted with the slow and cumbersome ‘pay as you enter to the seated conductor' arrangement, but had an extra rear door fitted in an attempt to improve circulation and unloading. Another new colour scheme was introduced with these trams, deep yellow replacing the orange of the Z class.

                                The Z3 class were initially allocated to North Fitzroy Depot and East Preston Depot, and entered service on the Bourke Street routes. They were later allocated to other routes already operated by Z and Z1 class cars.

 

OCT 22     W2 class 596 became the last tram to run in routine service with spur (straight tooth) gears. A long standing policy of truck modification saw the gradual replacement of spur gears with quieter double helical gears. Some L class (''stand-by'') trams, stored trams, heritage trams and works trams still retained spur gears.

 

DEC         The two W2 Contractors Mobile Offices, 337 and 394, were stored at Preston Workshops. They were no longer required to function as offices following the erection of prefabricated buildings for that purpose.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                101 - 115  15 Z2 class bogie, all-electric, straight-sill saloon trams built by Commonwealth Engineering. These trams were basically similar to the Z1 class, with only minor differences. All Z2 class cars were allocated to East Preston Depot, but some were also attached to Camberwell Depot at various times.

                29 W2 class trams were scrapped: 229, 254, 292, 298, 302, 355, 359, 363, 373, 375, 383, 385, 390, 398, 424, 448, 477, 482, 488, 495, 498, 516, 538, 550, 562, 585, 588, 590 and 639.

 

 1980.

 

JAN 14     The first Z1 class cars were allocated to Brunswick Depot and commenced operation on the North Coburg route.

 

MAY         All six L class trams, Nos. 101 - 106, were withdrawn from their 'standby' status and stored.

 

                W2 class 337 and 394 (formerly in use as Contractors Mobile Offices) were scrapped.

 

JULY        Track Cleaner 7W was repainted in an experimental all-over safety yellow livery.

 

AUG 4      The crossover in St Kilda Road at Commercial Road, placed out of use in March 1979, was completely removed.

 

SEP         The crossover in Malvern Road at Orrong Road on the Camberwell line was removed.

 

                VR class 700 was withdrawn and stored.

 

DEC         Both VR class trams were disposed of - 700 (ex-53) on December 10, and 52 (701) on December 16.

 

                Decorated tram 1024 was stripped of its extra lighting and reverted to a standard W7 class; its place as an illuminated advertising car was taken by SW6 class 920.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                122 - 160 39 Z3 class trams built by Commonwealth Engineering.

 

                W2 class 587 was allocated for use as a Re-railing Instruction car, replacing W2 221, which was stored. Unlike its predescessors, 587 was not fitted with a No. 13 truck at one end.

 

                27 W2 class trams were scrapped: 261, 272, 281, 283, 293, 315, 331, 364, 395, 408, 416, 438, 445, 446, 447, 449, 489, 491, 492, 529, 530, 554, 573, 574, 651, 652 and 653.

 

 1981.

 

FEB 1       Brunswick Depot received its full quota of Z1 class cars, and most services on the North Coburg route were now provided by the new trams. Due to crew rostering requirements, a small number of W class trams were still operated on the line - three were used in the PM peak period, one on Friday night for late-night shopping and one on Sunday.

 

MAR 16    The first Z3 class cars were allocated to Camberwell Depot, initially running on the East Burwood route. Operation later expanded to include the Wattle Park route as more Z3 cars became available.

 

APR 13     The crossover in St Georges Road at Barkly Street, North Fitzroy, on the West Preston line was removed.

 

APR 27     The first Z1 class cars were allocated to Essendon Depot and commenced operation on the Essendon Airport and West Maribyrnong routes. Z class cars displayed new destinations ‘Airport West’, ‘Niddrie’ and ‘Essendon’, while W class trams continued to show ‘Essendon Airport’, ‘Essendon Niddrie’ and ‘Essendon Bulla Rd’ signs respectively.

 

JUNE 28   The Elizabeth Street terminus was rebuilt with two tracks and a scissors crossover. A shelter and an Inspectors cabin were installed shortly afterwards.

 

JUNE        L class 104 and 106 were both repainted chocolate and cream for use in filming for the movie ‘Squizzy Taylor’.

 

JULY        Points and a connecting curve were installed inside Preston Workshops along the western frontage to provide a turning triangle, thus obviating the need to use a traverser to turn a tram around.

 

SEP 16     The first Z3 class cars were allocated to Brunswick Depot for use on the North Coburg route.

 

OCT 5       The North Coburg tram/bus connection (as operated on Sundays) was expanded to replace the Upfield train service on Monday - Saturday nights.

 

OCT         The first Z3 class cars were allocated to Essendon Depot for use on the West Maribyrnong and Airport West routes.

 

DEC 6       The Sunday morning North Balwyn shuttle service was replaced by a through service to the City. The shuttle service continued to operate on Sunday night.

 

                L class 104 and 106, both retaining their recently applied chocolate livery, were allocated to Essendon Depot for use on a tourist service between the City and the Zoo (Royal Park) on Sundays.

 

DEC 18     W3 class 657 was scrapped.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                161 - 186  26 Z3 class trams built by Commonwealth Engineering.

 

                67 W2 class trams were disposed of: 219, 222, 227, 242, 246, 248, 258, 260, 263, 268, 269, 273, 278, 284, 303, 314, 327, 333, 338, 342, 344, 346, 347, 358, 360, 362, 376, 377, 397, 402, 405, 406, 451, 454, 455, 474, 479, 481, 500, 501, 506, 507, 511, 522, 528, 534, 541, 543, 544, 551, 557, 558, 561, 566, 569, 570, 572, 576, 583, 589, 594, 595, 598, 603, 630, 631 and 642.

 

                A policy of repainting Z1 class cars in the yellow livery as used on the Z3 class was implemented - twelve trams were so treated by 1983 when the practice was discontinued.

 

 1982.

 

FEB 2       The crossover in High Street at Chapel Street on the Glen Iris line was removed.

 

APR 28     W3 class 662 was disposed of.

 

MAR 14    Z1 and Z3 class cars from Essendon Depot commenced operation on the Sundays-only West Coburg - City via Elizabeth Street route.

 

MAY 4      The body of PCC class 980 was disposed of.

 

MAY 9      The single-track connecting curve at Moreland and Sydney Roads on the north-west corner was duplicated to allow trams from North Coburg to run into Brunswick Depot without shunting.

 

MAY         L class 103 and 105 were disposed of on May 26th and 31st respectively.

 

JULY 20   Z2 class 102 was extensively damaged by fire and stored.

 

OCT 6       A test track was installed behind the Preston Workshops, adjacent to the Epping railway line. The track passed under the 'Hump' bridge and finished near Thornbury railway station.

 

OCT         Y1 class 611 and 612 were attached to Hawthorn Depot as Drivers Instruction Cars. All members of the Y and Y1 classes (469, 610 - 613) were now being used as training trams, as well as W2 class trams 380, 417, 568 and 600. X2 class 676 was also used as required for instruction on two-motor trams.

 

NOV 2      Converted W2 class 442 entered service as a mobile restaurant tram, operating from South Melbourne Depot. 442 was extensively rebuilt to a fully enclosed saloon design, and included an oven, toilet, air conditioning and dining tables, and was painted in a burgundy livery. The tram was leased to a private company that operated the restaurant, with a crew supplied by the MMTB. Passengers were picked up and set down in Nolan Street, South Melbourne. The tram toured the city and suburbs on various routes for lunch or dinner sittings, and usually delayed many other trams in the process.

 

NOV         The East Brighton terminus was realigned as part of intersection remodelling.

 

DEC         L class trams 101 and 102 were disposed of on Dec 17th and 20th respectively. (The two remaining L class, Nos. 104 and 106, were retained as part of the heritage fleet.)

 

  ~~~        The Wilsons Road crossover in Pascoe Vale Road on the Essendon line was removed.

 

                The ’Inner circle’ railway crossings in Lygon Street, Nicholson Street and St Georges Road were removed. (The Fitzroy freight railway was closed in August 1981).

 

                New trams:

                                187 - 208  22 Z3 class trams built by Commonwealth Engineering.

 

                The last remaining W3 class tram, No 665 was scrapped.

 

                35 W2 class trams were disposed of: 220, 224, 241, 247, 250, 280, 301, 312, 321, 322, 328, 332, 352, 378, 396, 399, 407, 409, 422, 437, 472, 480, 514, 515, 535, 571, 578, 581, 582, 584, 592, 593, 635, 645 and 649.

 

 1983.

 

FEB 21     Extensive alterations were made to the track at Caulfield on the East Malvern line due to road widening works. A short section of new track in Dandenong Road, between Derby Road and Waverley Road was placed in a central reservation, where a 'third road' siding was also installed, replacing the loop tracks between Railway Avenue and Derby Road which were removed.

 

MAY 18    The East Preston line was extended via Plenty Road to Boldrewood Parade, built as double track with a crossover at the terminus. A temporary crossover, installed some weeks prior, was provided at the former Tyler Street terminus. Peak hour services from the City via La Trobe Street and St Georges Road were also extended to the new terminus. This was the first stage of a planned extension to Bundoora. (In fact, new Z3 class trams already had 'La Trobe University' and 'Bundoora' included on their destination rolls when they were first built).

 

MAY         Z1 and Z3 class cars from Essendon Depot commenced operating on the West Coburg - Domain Road route on Mondays to Saturdays. (Z cars had been used on the Sunday West Coburg to Elizabeth Street service since March 1982). Later, Z cars would also operate on the Moonee Ponds - Footscray route. Unlike the introduction of Z cars to other depots, no single Essendon Depot route was entirely converted to Z car operation and W class trams continued to operate in significant numbers on all their lines.

 

JULY 1     The Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board and the Victorian Railways were replaced by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (to be known as 'The Met'), and the State Transport Authority ('V/Line'). 'The Met' was responsible for all suburban tram and train services and 'V/Line' was responsible for country rail operation. 'The Met' introduced a new colour scheme of green and yellow with a yellow stripe, and a logo consisting of three sets of three lines linking into a stylised circle (unkindly referred to by both railway and tramway staff as ‘the flying arsehole’). The new livery was routinely applied to new trams, as well as older trams of the SW5, SW6, W6, W7, Z1, Z2 and Z3 classes as they became due for repainting. (Eventually, one W5 class tram, 821, and Test Car W2 533 would also receive the new livery).

                                Suburban trains of the Hitachi and Comeng type were also adorned with the new colour scheme, and new green uniforms were provided for both tramway and railway staff.

 

SEP 28     W5 class 731 was fitted with air-operated sliding doors and reclassified SW5, the first tram to be treated in a modernisation program for the W5 class. After nearly fifty years in service, 83 W5 class trams were so treated by 1986, only to be withdrawn from service a few years later. All trams modified as such were painted in the new ‘Met’ livery.

 

OCT 17     The 'Fairway' system was introduced, which featured separation bars and/or painted lines to segregate tram and motor traffic, and a traffic light priority mechanism operated by transponders fitted to trams.

                                As the responsibility for painting lines for the 'Fairway' system lay with the roads authority, W2 class Line Marker 233 became redundant and was withdrawn and stored.

 

NOV 13     The fare system was revised, and multi-modal tickets based on time replaced the old section fare system.

 

NOV         ZC class 5 had its ‘chopper’ control system removed and was reclassified Z1 class.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                209 - 228 20 Z3 class trams built by Commonwealth Engineering. No. 222 was the last car to be painted in the yellow colour scheme; cars 223 - 228 were deliverd in ‘Met’ livery.

 

                15 W2 class trams were disposed of: 230, 244, 245, 288, 311, 410, 450, 458, 487, 520, 627, 633, 638, 640 and 648.

 

                Seven W5 class trams were converted to SW5 class: Nos. 725, 742, 758, 764, 769, 805 and 812 (in addition to No. 731).

 

 1984.

 

FEB          The first of two new classes of trams were built, although they did not enter service until later in the year:

                                231 - 232  Two A class bogie, all-electric, straight-sill saloon trams built by Commonwealth Engineering. These trams had the same equipment as the Z3 class, but on an improved body with three doors per side. This saw a return to operation with a roving conductor, and passenger entry and exit by any door.

                                2001  B class articulated, all-electric, straight-sill saloon car built by Commonwealth Engineering. Built as a prototype for future articulated trams, it had equipment and a body design similar to the A class. It had air-operated disc brakes, and also featured steps that could be lowered for street use or raised for platform use, but these were removed in 1987. The tram was fitted with a pantograph for normal operation as well as trolley poles for emergency use.

                                All A and B class cars were painted in the new ‘Met’ livery.

 

MAR 9      The temporary crossover at Tyler Street, East Preston was removed.

 

JUNE 12   A class trams were allocated to Kew Depot and commenced operation on the Mont Albert route.

 

DEC 19     Articulated B class 2001 was allocated to Camberwell Depot and commenced operation on the East Burwood route.

 

DEC         Most W type trams still in MMTB livery had 'Metropolitan Transit' stickers applied over the MMTB logo; Z type trams (which had never sported an MMTB logo) had smaller stickers applied.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                229 - 230  Two Z3 class trams built by Commonwealth Engineering, making a total number of 115 Z3 class cars.

                                232 - 242  Eleven A class trams built by Commonwealth Engineering.

 

                PCC class 1041 was returned to service after several years in storage, during which time it underwent some minor modifications, including repainting in the yellow Z3 livery. It was allocated to Essendon Depot for operation on the cross-suburban Moonee Ponds - Footscray route. It lasted only a few months, during which time it constantly faced union bans, and, rather than being allocated to another depot more tolerant of non-standard trams, it was once again placed in storage.

 

                Seventeen W2 class trams were disposed of: Nos. 226, 270, 334, 368, 370, 374, 392, 434, 509, 548, 555, 560, 577, 609, 637, 641 and former Re-railing Instruction Car 221.

 

                24 W5 class trams were converted to SW5 class: Nos. 681, 682, 726, 727, 738, 740, 741, 744 - 747, 749, 752, 767, 770, 773, 777, 786, 793, 796, 797, 800, 806, 807, 809, 810, 815, 818, 819, 829, 830, 836 and 838.

 

 1985.

 

JAN 10     The second stage of the Bundoora extension was opened when the East Preston line was extended from Boldrewood Parade via Plenty Road to La Trobe University. It was built as double track in reservation, with a crossover at the terminus. Peak hour services from the City via La Trobe Street and St Georges Road (operated by W class trams) were also extended to the new terminus.

 

JULY 30   A class trams commenced regular operation on the North Balwyn route. Previously they were used on the line on an intermittent basis.

 

SEPT       The East Brunswick terminus was altered from a 'Y' shunt to an asymmetric shunt.

 

OCT         W2 class 427 was disposed of, being acquired by the TMSV for use at their Bylands museum.

 

NOV         Four new open storage roads were installed in Preston Workshops.

 

                W7 1024 was once again fitted out as an illuminated advertising tram, joining SW6 920 and W6 990 in this role.

 

                To avoid a numbering conflict with new A class trams, several W2 class trams, one SW2 class tram and the Line Marker tram were renumbered by the simple expedient of adding 1000 to their existing number. The following trams had a 1 placed in front of their numbers: W2 234, 243, 251, 253, 255, 257, 277, 282 and SW2 275. Stored trams renumbered administratively without the tram itself being altered were W2 223, 249, 262 and Line Marker (ex-W2) 233.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                243 - 258, 260 - 261  18 A class trams built by Commonwealth Engineering.

                                2002  Second prototype B class articulated car built by Commonwealth Engineering. It was allocated to Camberwell Depot and joined 2001 in use on the East Burwood route.

 

                Sixteen W2 class trams were disposed of: 255, 277, 329, 349, 366, 382, 393, 421, 486, 526, 553, 563, 564, 579, 601 and 624.

 

                25 W5 class trams were converted to SW5 class: Nos. 723, 728 - 730, 733, 734, 736, 737, 743, 748, 750, 753, 755, 757, 759, 765, 768, 776, 780, 781, 784, 791, 814, 828 and 834.

 

 1986.

 

MAR         W6 995 was fitted out as an illuminated advertising tram, joining SW6 920, W6 990 and W7 1024 in this role.

 

APRIL      The double track at the West Coburg terminus was replaced by a single-track asymmetric shunt.

 

                A class trams were reclassified: Nos. 231 - 258 became A1 class; and Nos. 259 - 300 (most of which were still under construction) became A2 class. The A2 class cars had different disc brake and door operating mechanisms to the A1 class. All A2 class trams commenced service fitted with pantographs, and were initially used on the North Balwyn route pending conversion of the overhead on the Mont Albert line.

                                The two prototype B class articulated trams, Nos. 2001 and 2002, were reclassified as B1 class, in anticipation of an order for 130 articulated cars being classified as B2 class.

 

JUNE 1     Pointwork was installed in Park Street at the corner of St Kilda Road in preparation for a siding to be constructed as part of a new Domain Road interchange.

 

AUG         Pantograph test tram W2 546 had its pantograph removed and fitted to Test Car 533. 546 was subsequently disposed of.

 

SEPT       Track Cleaners 6 and 7W, and Sleeper Transport Car 15W (ex-Q class) were disposed of.

 

                Z2 class 102, in storage after being extensively damaged by fire in 1982, was scrapped.

 

OCT 2       Works Car 16W (ex-Q class) and Freight Car 19W (ex-U class) were disposed of.

 

                TMSV W2 class 427 was returned to Preston Workshops for restoration to its original W1 class configuration.

 

NOV 1      The Prahran - City (Batman Avenue) service was discontinued. (The East Malvern Sunday replacement bus service continued to operate via Chapel Street and Batman Avenue).

 

NOV 17     A siding was installed in St Kilda Road at Domain Road for terminating West Coburg trams, together with new passenger interchange facilities. Direct peak period services from William Street to the southern suburbs were discontinued, being replaced by a shuttle service between Domain Road and Dudley Street. The shuttle service was operated jointly by South Melbourne Depot, Essendon Depot and Glenhuntly Depot.

                                Consequently, through-running to West Coburg was also discontinued. (Over the years the exact operation had varied considerably, but the most common through workings had been to and/or from St Kilda Beach, Toorak, Malvern Burke Road and Carnegie.) Trams from Malvern and Glenhuntly Depots no longer operated to West Coburg, nor did Essendon Depot trams venture beyond Domain Road. South Melbourne Depot continued to provide peak period services to West Coburg with W class trams, with the full-time service operated by Essendon Depot with both W and Z class cars.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                259, 262 - 281  21 A2 class trams built by Commonwealth Engineering.

 

                57 W2 class trams were disposed of: Nos. 1223, 249, 1253, 1257, 262, 1282, 323, 335, 350, 353, 367, 369, 371, 381, 388, 389, 391, 403, 411, 415, 418, 425, 435, 440, 453, 473, 483, 490, 493, 496, 513, 517, 521, 523, 524, 531, 532, 539, 540, 542, 545, 552, 556, 575, 586, 596, 597, 602, 604, 606, 608, 625, 629, 634, 636, 643 and 647.

 

                Scrubber car 11W was heavily rebuilt to a fully enclosed form, and painted in a new yellow livery with reflective red stripes.

 

                Line Marker 233 (ex W2 class) was scrapped, its function being superseded by the 'Fairway' system.

 

                17 W5 class trams were converted to SW5 class: Nos. 721, 722, 724, 732, 739, 754, 760, 775, 788 - 790, 802, 808, 811, 816, 824 and 837. These were the last trams to be treated under the conversion program started in 1983, making a total of 83 trams converted. 38 W5 class trams remained in service, 19 with the original three-door layout, and 19 with the centre door removed. 774 was the only W5 class tram to retain square-cornered windshields at both ends.

 

                The first Z class cars were fitted with Automatic Vehicle Monitoring equipment. The AVM system monitored the location of trams and provided radio communication with the Fleet Operations Centre. All trams in service were progressively fitted with the equipment over several years.

 

 1987.

 

FEB 15     The single track connecting curve at the North Richmond terminus to the 'down' Mont Albert line was replaced by a double track connection to both tracks in Victoria Street. This allowed trams from Kew Depot to access the North Richmond line without ány 'bang-road' running from the nearby crossover, or lengthy detours via Hawthorn or Balaclava Junction.

 

FEB          W7 1014 was fitted out as an illuminated advertising tram, joining SW6 920, W6 990, W6 995 and W7 1024 in this role.

 

MAR 8      Restoration of TMSV W1 427 was completed, and the tram remained on the Melbourne system available for charters and other special purposes.

 

march    A1 class trams entered service on the North Richmond - Prahran / St Kilda Beach route, operated from Kew Depot.

 

APR 12     The tracks at the Gardiner railway crossing in Burke Road were realigned due to road widening.

 

APR 23     The third stage of the Bundoora extension was opened, from La Trobe University via Plenty Road to McLeans Road, Bundoora. The line was built as double track in a central reservation. Peak period services from the City via La Trobe Street and St Georges Road (operated by W class trams) were also extended to the new terminus. (Test runs and driver training trams had operated over the line from Feb 11th).

 

may 3      Additional double track connecting curves were installed on the south-east corner at Malvern Town Hall (Glenferrie Road and High Street) to allow Glen Iris trams to run to and from Malvern Depot without shunting.

 

MAY 11    A1 class trams were allocated to South Melbourne Depot for driver training, in preparation for the conversion of the St Kilda and Port Melbourne railway lines to 'light rail'. They were operated on the South Melbourne And St Kilda Beach, West Preston and West Coburg routes.

 

JULY 13   North Richmond services were altered: Trams ran to St Kilda Beach at night, Saturday afternoon and Sunday; at all other times trams terminated at Prahran. This made official what had been in practice since December, when tram crews took industrial action and diverted St Kilda Beach journeys to the Prahran terminus. This was in response to the MTA refusing to rectify problems of late running on the line since the withdrawal of the Prahran - City service.

 

AUG 25     Connecting curves were installed at Bourke and Spencer Streets, forming a double track triangular junction, in preparation for the conversion of the St Kilda and Port Melbourne railway lines to 'light rail'. This necessitated the removal of the last few metres of cable car track in Melbourne, which had been left in place at the former Bourke Street terminus as a reminder of bygone days.

 

SEP 6       Double track connecting curves were installed at Bourke and William Streets, for access to South Melbourne Depot from the proposed St Kilda and Port Melbourne 'light rail'.

 

SEP 7       All Z class cars at North Fitzroy Depot were replaced by A2 class trams for service on the East Brunswick route, in preparation for the opening of the St Kilda 'light rail'. The displaced Z class cars were transferred to Essendon Depot to replace their remaining W class trams, making Essendon an all-Z class depot (with the exception of tourist tram L 106). Essendon Depot routes were now served exclusively by Z class trams except for the West Coburg line, which still had W class trams rostered from South Melbourne Depot during peak periods, and the Sunday tourist tram to the zoo using L class 106.

 

SEP 20     A double track junction was installed in Clarendon Street at Whiteman Street in readiness for the new ‘light rail’ lines to St Kilda and Port Melbourne.

 

SEPT       W7 class 1002 and 1011 were both fitted with extra lighting and joined the fleet of illuminated advertising trams in September and November respectively.

 

OCT 1       A seven-day tourist tram service commenced running between St Kilda Beach and the City, via Swanton Street and St Kilda Road, operating from South Melbourne Depot. This service attracted very little patronage due to the exorbitant fare and little, if any, marketing.

                                The tourist tram service was primarily operated by TMSV W1 427, with L 104 and Y1 613 being used as relief trams, both of which had been refurbished. Initially 104 and 613 were operated from Malvern Depot on Tuesdays - when 427 was being serviced - pending completion of renovations at South Melbourne Depot for the forthcoming St Kilda and Port Melbourne ‘light rail’service. Upon completion of the works a few weeks later, 104 and 613 were transferred to South Melbourne as part of the heritage fleet, and all St Kilda tourist tram services operated from South Melbourne Depot. (L class 106 remained at Essendon Depot for the Sunday Zoo service, and V214 and X2 676 were still operating from Camberwell Depot on the Sunday tourist service to Hawthorn.)

 

OCT 29     All remaining W2 and SW2 class trams were withdrawn and stored, except those forming part of the heritage fleet, which continued to operate from South Melbourne Depot. For the previous year or so W2 and SW2 class trams had operated from only four depots: East Preston, Malvern, Glenhuntly and South Melbourne. At the time of their withdrawal operation was down to only two depots, East Preston (one tram) and South Melbourne (four trams).

                                In addition to heritage trams from South Melbourne Depot, on a number of occasions stored W2 class trams (including 441, 471, and 600) were pressed back into service for various periods of time due to rolling stock shortages. (A ceremonial ‘last run’ of a W2 class utilising 646, on 10th December 1987, was somewhat premature, as W2 class trams would continue to be used in service until 1992.)

 

OCT         A crossover was installed on the east side of the single track 'Hump' bridge, in preparation for duplication.

 

                Two W5 class trams, 801 and 835, were stored, the first members of this class to be routinely withdrawn (other than 803 and 813 which were scrapped many years previously due to severe accident damage).

 

NOV 1      A crossover was installed in Bourke Street at William Street, primarily for trams running to and from South Melbourne Depot.

 

NOV 12     Test Car 533 (ex-W2) became the first tram to operate over the St Kilda ‘light rail’ line, for testing purposes. Crew familiarisation of the route took place in following days prior to opening of the line for service.

 

NOV 20     The St Kilda Beach 'light rail' route was opened. Commencing from the existing Acland Street terminus, trams operated along the Esplanade and Fitzroy Street, thence via new double track on the former St Kilda railway reservation as far as Clarendon Street, where they again joined existing tracks reaching the City via Spencer Street and Bourke Street. The service was through-routed to East Brunswick.

                                The line was operated by both North Fitzroy Depot and South Melbourne Depot. This service was promoted as 'Australia's first light rail', conveniently ignoring the Glenelg line in Adelaide ('light rail' since 1929). (Surprisingly, W class trams operating from St Kilda Beach via St Kilda Road actually provided a faster journey time to the centre of the City).

                                It was intended that new articulated trams (euphemistically referred to as 'light rail vehicles') would work the 'light rail' line. As none of the production order of new trams had been delivered, the line was worked by A2 class cars as an interim measure, together with the two prototype B1 class articulated trams, 2001 and 2002. At the same time, the A1 class cars operating on other South Melbourne Depot routes were returned to Kew Depot.

                                W class trams from South Melbourne Depot could not be used on the new service as the overhead along the former railway reserve was catenary style, suitable only for pantograph operation. Similarly, A2 class cars could not be utilised elsewhere as no other South Melbourne Depot operated routes had yet been converted to pantograph compatible overhead.

                                Maintenance of the trams at North Fitzroy Depot, previously the responsibility of the East Preston Depot foreman, now became the responsibility of the South Melbourne Depot foreman. Trams were allocated to South Melbourne Depot and provided to North Fitzroy Depot as required. Traffic staff at North Fitzroy remained under the supervision of the bus depot administration.

 

DEC 11     A1 class 258 was fitted with a pantograph, which commenced a program to convert all A1 class cars to pantograph operation. Nos. 231 - 236 were excluded from the program temporarily so as to retain trolley poles for use on the Chapel Street route, pending conversion of the overhead.

 

DEC 13     The single-track connecting curve from Batman Avenue into Swanston Street was duplicated, although it was not available for use until January 15, 1988. Also at this time, three new crossovers were installed for extra services to the new Tennis Centre. One crossover was near the Princes Bridge terminus in Batman Avenue, one was near the corner of Swan Street in Batman Avenue, and the other was in Swan Street at Punt Road.

 

DEC 17     SW2 class 644 was made available on 'permanent loan' to the TMSV and transported to their museum at Bylands.

 

DEC 18     The Port Melbourne 'light rail' line was opened. It branched off the St Kilda 'light rail' at Whiteman Street, and was double track using the reservation of the former Port Melbourne railway to the terminus at Port Melbourne Station. Services ran to the City via Bourke Street to Exhibition (Nicholson and Gertrude Streets Corner).

                                The Port Melbourne line was operated using A2 class cars running from South Melbourne Depot.

 

  ~~~        Expansion works commenced at Preston Workshops to incorporate larger facilities for articulated trams. The new facilities were progressively installed and comprised extensions to the body shop plus new outside storage roads, and were completed in 1989.

 

                New trams:

                                282 - 300  19 A2 class cars built by Commonwealth Engineering.

                                2003  B2 class car built by Commonwealth Engineering. This was the first of an order for 130 articulated trams, and differed from the two prototypes with the provision of air conditioning, cloth seating and dot matrix destination indicators.

 

                15 W2 class trams were disposed of: 1234, 1243, 1251, 336, 340, 345, 384, 439, 444, 497, 502, 503, 525, 567 and 607. With the exception of No. 1251, they were all Ministry of Arts painted trams. (No. 504 was the only Transporting Art W2 class retained on the system).

 

                W5 class 835 replaced W2 class 587 as a Re-railing Instruction Car. No. 587 was withdrawn and stored.

 

 1988.

 

FEB          A restoration program of three W2 class trams, 380, 431 and 510, to join the heritage fleet was nearing completion. W2 class 510 was restored to 1930’s condition and allocated to South Melbourne Depot in February. W2 431 was restored to original condition as a W1 class tram, and allocated to South Melbourne Depot at the beginning of March. W2 380 was being restored to original W class condition, and upon completion was allocated to South Melbourne Depot a few months later.

                                It was intended that these trams, together with L 104 and Y1 613, would replace TMSV W1 427 on the St Kilda tourist service. 427 remained at South Melbourne for a short period (which saw both W1 class trams used in regular service together) before it was removed to Preston Workshops for storage.

 

MAR 20    A crossover was installed in Fitzroy Street at St Kilda Station. Prior to this there were no shunting facilities on the St Kilda 'light rail' line between the Fish Market and Luna Park. (It was originally intended to install a crossover at Albert Park Station, but this did not eventuate. When the line opened a tram from North Fitzroy Depot was actually rostered to shunt at the non-existent crossover!)

 

MAY 21    The Hawthorn - Batman Avenue and St Kilda - City tourist tram services were discontinued.

                                Following the discontinuation of the tourist service, L 104, W1 431, W2 510 and Y1 613, joined later by W class 380 upon completion of its restoration, continued to operate from South Melbourne Depot in regular service.

                                V class 214 and X2 class 676, which were used on the Hawthorn tourist service, were placed in storage. L class 106 at Essendon Depot continued to operate the Zoo tourist service on Sundays.

 

JUNE        Scrubber car 10W was repainted in a new yellow livery with reflective red stripes to commemorate 80 years of service.

 

JULY 14   The single track on the 'Hump' bridge was duplicated.

 

JULY 29   W1 class 427 was returned to the TMSV museum at Bylands.

 

AUG         An additional track was installed in the South Melbourne Depot yard for a new automatic tram wash machine.

 

                W5 class 821 was repainted in ‘Met’ livery, the only tram of that class so treated.

 

SEP 1       New B2 class articulated cars entered service on the East Brunswick - St Kilda Beach route, operated from South Melbourne Depot. In November, B2 class trams also commenced running from North Fitzroy Depot.

 

OCT         On some public holidays, West Coburg trams were diverted to Elizabeth Street (as was the practice on Sundays), in lieu of running via William Street to Domain Road.

 

NOV 20     A new entrance was installed at North Fitzroy Depot, forming a triangular junction with a double track connection turning north towards East Brunswick and a single track turning south towards the City. The overhead wiring was suitable only for pantograph operation and consequently peak period operation of Z class trams from the City to East Brunswick by East Preston Depot was discontinued.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                2004 - 2016 13 B2 class trams built by Commonwealth Engineering.

 

                W2 class 646 joined the heritage fleet, to be retained in its final form.

 

                Nine W2 class trams were disposed of: 433, 441, 456, 470, 471, 605, 626, 650 and former Re-railing Instruction Car 587. 650 was sold for private preservation and remained stored on the system.

 

                The remaining five SW2 class trams were disposed of: 1275, 426, 432, 436 and 478.

 

                Three W5 class trams were disposed of: 762, 801 and 820. 801 was the first W5 to be scrapped other than for accident damage.

 

                The number of illuminated advertising trams grew to ten with the fitting out of SW6 965, W6 976 and W7 1018 in August, September and June respectively. When there was only one and later two decorated trams they were used on specifically rostered runs covering all routes. When the number of decorated trams increased they were attached to various depots and used at random, no longer being rostered on specific runs. (The ten trams fitted out for illuminated advertising were: SW6 class 920 and 965, W6 class 976, 990 and 995, and W7 class 1002, 1011, 1014, 1018 and 1024.) In addition to the illuminated advertising trams and the Transporting Art cars, various trams of the A, B, W and Z classes were utilised for advertising, promotions or as theme cars with all-over decorations.

 

                A new logo proclaiming 'The Met' in big letters replaced the 'Metropolitan Transit' wording on trams being repainted or delivered new. The 'flying arsehole' symbol was retained.

 

 1989.

 

APRIL 5    The Ballarat Tramway Preservation Society's W3 class 661 was returned to Melbourne for fifteen months for use on gunzel charters. It was returned to Ballarat on July 2, 1990.

 

APRIL      B class articulated trams from South Melbourne Depot entered regular service on the Port Melbourne route.

 

                Heritage trams L 104, W 380, W1 431, W2 510 and Y1 613 were withdrawn from service at South Melbourne Depot and stored at Hawthorn Depot. W1 431 returned to South Melbourne Depot later in the year. There was still routine W2 class operation however, as around this time W2 600 ran in regular service from Kew Depot.

 

MAY 1      The last remaining single track section in Melbourne was duplicated, from the corner of Glenhuntly and Truganini Roads to the Carnegie terminus at Koornang Road.

 

JUNE 26   Roster changes at East Preston Depot resulted in some service alterations: Peak period services from West Preston and Bundoora to the City via La Trobe Street were discontinued. The Northcote - City service was altered to operate as a shuttle from Thornbury at all times (with the exception of trams running in and out of East Preston Depot).

 

JUNE        Scrubber car 11W was fitted with a pantograph (in addition to its trolley pole).

 

JULY 1     The Metropolitan Transit Authority was replaced by the Public Transport Corporation. The corporate trading name ‘The Met’ was retained.

 

JULY 2     A crossover was installed in Moreland Road west of Holmes Street, East Brunswick.

 

DEC 25     W2 class Test Car 533 was badly damaged by a fire started by vandals at Thornbury Depot, and was withdrawn and stored.

 

DEC 30     A crossover was installed in Elizabeth Street south of Lonsdale Street. This was in anticipation of B2 class operation, as there was insufficient room for an articulated tram to shunt at the exisiting crossover on the north side of Lonsdale Street.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                2017 - 2029  13 B2 class trams built by Commonwealth Engineering.

 

                Nine trams were disposed of: W2 class 417 and 565; and W5 class 761, 794, 798, 799, 804, 817, and 832.

 

                W5 class 833 replaced W5 class 835 as a Re-railing Instruction Car. No. 835 was withdrawn and stored.

 

                SW6 class 891 was fitted with a pantograph, the first tram of what was intended to be the conversion of all the W class to be retained in service. However, the installation was deemed unsuccessful and the pantograph was removed shortly afterwards.

 

 1990.

 

JAN 1       In one of the most bizarre events in the history of Melbourne's tramways, no services operated for five weeks while hundreds of trams blockaded City streets during a lock-out, as part of an industrial dispute over 'scratch' tickets and driver-only tram operation.

                                There had been considerable community backlash against the government proposals to change the ticketing system and introduce driver-only tram operations. Mounting industrial action had been occuring during the month of December, but events came to a head on New Year's Day. Conductors were told to sign a contract agreeing to the new changes before they started work; the conductors refused to sign, so they were not issued with tickets, effectively preventing them from working; the union decided to run the tram service anyway, even though it meant they would not be paid; management then decided that the power would be turned off to prevent the union from running the tram service the next day; the union retaliated by parking trams in city streets believing this would prevent management turning the power off, and therefore ensure the service could continue to run; but management turned the power off anyway.

                                And so trams blockaded city streets for the next five weeks until the dispute was settled. Most trams were parked in Elizabeth and Bourke Streets, but many were also parked in William Street, Collins Street and Swanston Street, and a few were parked in suburban locations.

 

FEB          A new head shunt at the end of the test tracks was installed inside Preston Workshops.

 

                Following resolution of the dispute that resulted in the City tram blockade, driver-only operation of Z class cars was implemented at Camberwell Depot on the East Burwood and Wattle Park routes. During March and April some W class trams were in operation from Camberwell Depot - this was to provide work for a limited number of conductors that was part of the agreement reached for the implementation of driver-only operation. However, the W trams were then removed from Camberwell Depot, and from June 14th driver-only operation was restricted to the Wattle Park line at certain times only. No further driver-only operation was implemented until 1993.

 

MAY         The last Z class car was repainted in the green 'Met' livery. All Z, A and B class cars were now green except for those in special advertising, promotional or theme liveries. A number of W class trams were also in the new 'Met' livery, however many others were still in MMTB green and cream. But as the new 'Met' livery was similar to the MMTB colour scheme, the entire fleet was now effectively green.

 

JUNE 24   Additional connecting curves were installed at Moreland Road and Nicholson Street, East Brunswick, to allow trams to proceed between Brunswick Depot and East Coburg without shunting. The crossover in Holmes Street south of Moreland Road was removed, being made redundant by the new crossover around the corner in Moreland Road.

 

AUG 26     A crossover was installed in Elizabeth Street north of Flinders Lane. Tracks at the terminus were also lengthened to accommodate articulated B class trams.

 

AUG         The roadway in William Street in the vicinity of the Dudley Street siding was closed due to construction of a roundabout slightly further east in Peel Street. Tram tracks remained where they were, the siding area now being in reservation.

 

SEP 16     The Camberwell terminus was cut back aproximately 50 metres to allow for installation of a right turn lane for vehicular traffic.

 

OCT 1       W2 class 646 was returned to regular service, operating from South Melbourne Depot.

 

                The National Trust classified all remaining W class trams. The intention was to ensure most, if not all, W class trams remained in service, and any withdrawal of cars would be of the Z1 and Z2 class. However, the actual outcome was that virtually no further trams would be disposed of and most surplus W class trams were put into storage.

 

OCT         Articulated B2 class trams were allocated to Brunswick Depot and commenced operation on the North Coburg route on the 9th October. Shortly afterwards, on the 16th October, B2 class cars were attached to East Preston Depot and began operation on the Bundoora route. This followed a period of several months where new B2 class trams were temporarily placed in storage, as they could not be used on routes other than the St Kilda and Port Melbourne 'light rail' lines until upgrades to the power supply had been completed.

 

                All but two W5 class trams were withdrawn from service and stored, the exceptions being No. 685 at South Melbourne Depot and No. 821 at East Preston Depot. (No. 821 was the only W5 class tram to be painted in 'Met' colours). Together with W2 646, these were the last three trams with weather blinds still in regular service.

 

NOV 18     A vintage tram service commenced, running every Sunday on the St Kilda Beach - City via Swanston Street route, operated from South Melbourne Depot.

                                The vintage tram service used L 104, W 380, W1 431, W2 510 and Y1 613. Unlike previous practice, these trams were not available for use in regular service, although they could be used for ‘extra’ runs, such as charters, Batman Avenue tennis specials or summer supplementary services to South Melbourne Beach. W2 646, although in use as a regular service tram and not considered as part of the ‘vintage’ fleet, would occasionally fill in if one of the vintage trams was not available. (L 106 continued to operate the Sunday Zoo service from Essendon Depot).

 

NOV         SW6 class 890 was converted to a Drivers Instruction Car, which involved the removal of the driver’s cabin bulkheads to provide an open space for trainees and instructors to communicate. This tram was converted as a replacement for the Y1 class trams, most of which were now being used for heritage purposes, and also because it was equipped with the now more common RC2 controllers (the Y1 class trams had K35 controllers, very few of which were still in use).

 

                W2 class trams 547 and 568 were sold for private preservation. Together with W2 650 (sold in 1988), they remained on the system in storage.

 

DEC 22     The East Brunswick - St Kilda Beach and Port Melbourne 'light rail' routes were now exclusively operated by B1 and B2 class cars, all A2 class trams in use at South Melbourne and North Fitzroy Depots having been transferred to Kew Depot.

 

DEC 27     The disused Clarendon Street railway bridge (for the former St Kilda and Port Melbourne railway lines) was removed.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                2030 - 2064  35 B2 class trams built by Commonwealth Engineering.

 

                Eleven W5 class trams were disposed of: Nos. 683, 735, 766, 771, 778, 779, 792, 822, 825, 831 and Re-railing Instruction Car 835.

 

 1991.

 

JAN 22     With the Port Melbourne and St Kilda Beach - East Brunswick routes exclusively worked by B class cars, peak period headways were reduced due to the larger carrying capacity of the articulated cars. Rosters were therefore re-arranged, and operation of the Port Melbourne route was now shared between South Melbourne Depot and North Fitzroy Depot.

 

JAN          W5 class 763 was returned to service at South Melbourne Depot, making a total of four trams with weather blinds still in regular service. (The others were W2 646 and W5 685 at South Melbourne Depot, and W5 821 at East Preston Depot).

 

FEB 4       W2 class Test Car 533 and W5 trams 751, 756 and 839 were disposed of.

 

MAR 8      W5 class 782 was made available on loan to the TMSV and moved to their museum at Bylands.

 

APR 15     All Swanston Street trams previously using the Victoria Street terminus were altered to shunt at Queensberry Street, with some trips continuing to the University. This followed a fatal accident at the signal box tram stop, and caused considerable delays to East Coburg and Moreland trams.

 

JUNE        W5 class 795, SW6 class 902 and W7 class 1001 were loaned to the TMSV and sent to their museum at Bylands. In exchange, TMSV S class 164, T class 180 and X class 'Birney' 217, all of which had remained stored on the system, became part of the Melbourne heritage fleet.

 

                A1 class 237 was re-fitted with trolley poles, painted in an all-over black advertising livery for radio station FOX-FM, fitted with external flourescent lights, and had a radio and speakers fitted constantly playing FOX-FM. Known as 'Black Thunder', the tram operated for one year from all depots over all routes except Port Melbourne and St Kilda Beach - East Brunswick (which were pantograph-only routes).

 

JULY 31   SW5 class 808 was loaned to Bendigo in exchange for their P class 138 (ex-SEC 24), which joined the heritage fleet.

 

AUG         SW5 class 796 was converted to a Drivers Instruction Car for Clyde (EE or MMTB Q2CK1) controllers, by removal of the driver’s cabin bulkheads in the same manner as SW6 890 was altered the previous year.

 

                A1 class 231 was painted chocolate to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Kew Depot.

 

SEP 2       A relocated 'up' track was brought into use in St Georges Road, in conjunction with extensive roadwork. Previously, a wide central median strip separated road but not tram traffic, and both ‘up’ and ‘down’ tracks were located on the western carriageway - this was due to the presence of a large water pipeline situated under the central plantation. At Miller Street, the new track crosses on a ground level ‘bridge’ across the pipeline to the eastern side of the plantation, which it then follows as far as Arthurton Road, where it crosses another ‘bridge’ and regains the western side, which it follows to the Merri Creek. The new track is laid in reservation for its entire length.

 

SEP 30     The first Z1 class cars were allocated to Glenhuntly Depot and commenced operating on the cross-suburban North Richmond - Prahran / St Kilda Beach route.

 

OCT 31     Boom gates were re-installed on the Port Melbourne line following a fatal accident at a level crossing. (The original railway boom gates were removed when the line was converted to 'light rail').

 

OCT         Scrubber 8, which had been out of use and derelict in the South Melbourne Depot per-way yard for some years, was moved to Mavern Depot for storage.

 

NOV 20     The first Z1 class cars were allocated to Malvern Depot, operating on the cross-suburban Kew Cotham Road - St Kilda Beach route.

 

NOV 22     W2 class 547, privately owned since November 1990 but remaining on the system in storage, was removed by its owner. The two other privately owned W2 class trams, 568 and 650, remained on the system.

 

DEC 16     The new 'down' track was brought into use in St Georges Road. This track was relocated to a reservation within the central plantation. Both the ‘up’ and ‘down’ tracks were on the western side of the reservation from the Merri Creek to Arthurton Road, and from Arthurton Road to Miller Street one track is located on each side of the wide central median strip.

 

  ~~~        New trams:

                                2065 - 2085  21 B2 class trams built by Commonwealth Engineering.

 

 1992.

 

FEB 7       A new access track to Preston Workshops was installed, which turned in the direction of the 'Hump' bridge, rather than into the junction at Thornbury. A crossover was also provided in Miller Street.

 

FEB 23     Z1 class cars allocated to Glenhuntly Depot commenced operating to the City via Swanston Street on the Carnegie, East Brighton and East Malvern routes.

 

FEB          Refurbished Y class 469 joined the heritage fleet at South Melbourne Depot in service on the St Kilda Beach route on Sundays.

 

                W7 class 1040 was repainted in the former MMTB green and cream livery.

 

MAR 28    Swanston Street was closed to vehicular traffic, becoming known as Swanston Walk. Trams continued to operate as per usual.

 

MAR         Heritage trams were withdrawn from Sunday service on the St Kilda Beach route, mainly due to asbestos being discovered in the controllers, but also because of the undesirability of operating trams with open doors during upcoming construction work in Swanston Walk. The trams concerned, L 104, W 380, W1 431, Y 469, W2 510 and Y1 613, joined the other heritage trams in reserve status at either Hawthorn Depot or Preston Workshops. W2 646 continued to operate in regular service from South Melbourne Depot although, along with W5 class 685 and 763, was soon restricted from operating along Swanston Walk. (L 106 was still in use from Essendon Depot on the Sunday Zoo service).

 

APR 1       A new junction was installed at Thornbury, which included a direct connection for trams running between West Preston and East Preston Depot. The entrance to Thornbury Depot was altered to connect to the 'down' track rather than the 'up' track, and the overhead wiring was removed from roads 1 - 5 in the eastern shed.

 

APR 14     W6 class 996 was loaned to the TMSV museum at Bylands, in exchange for HTT No. 8, which joined the heritage fleet.

 

APR 15     Z1 class cars allocated to Malvern Depot began operating to the City on the Toorak, Camberwell, Glen Iris and Malvern routes.

 

MAY         A1 class 238 and 239 reverted from pantograph operation to trolley pole operation. This was due to a shortage of trolley-pole equipped cars to run on the North Richmond - Prahran / St Kilda Beach route.

 

JUNE 9     A special unveiling took place for ‘The Melbourne Tram’, a proposed new up-market tourist excursion on a circular route charging a premium fare.