Ballarat Tramway eNews
No. 38, July 2020
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Reopening delayed

New COVID-19 restrictions affect the BTM

Plans to reopen the Museum in July have been delayed following the new restrictions caused by the COVID-19 virus. The Museum closed to the public in March 2020. During the closure, work has been done, and plans put in place, to make sure that our volunteers will be as safe as possible when the Museum eventually reopens to the public.

Planned changes to our normal services include limiting the number of days that the Museum will be open and limiting the number of people able to ride on the trams.
Trams will be limited in capacity to allow for the social distancing requirements to be met safely. Tram services will begin and end at the Museum; there will be no street pick ups or drop offs. Tickets will need to be purchased at the Museum, which will only be open to people wanting to ride the trams. The trams will be cleaned and sanitised between trips to ensure everyone's safety.

All our tramway volunteers will have completed COVID-19 Safety at Work training.
A date for reopening will be decided when the restrictions are eased and the immediate threat of COVID-19 has gone. Our main priority at this time is the health and safety of the volunteers who operate the Tramway Museum. They are our most valuable asset. We will reopen when it is safe to do so.

We will announce the reopening in a special edition of the eNews, as well as notifications on our website, Facebook, and Instagram pages. In the meantime, stay safe, and enjoy our online displays, stories, and information.

Tram 12

Work on Tram 12 is due to restart soon as the workshop reopened in July. The tram body is nearing completion, and planning for a new four wheel truck has begun. Engineering drawings have been completed, and these will allow patterns to be made. Restoring trams is an expensive business and it has only been possible because of generous bequests made by members, including the late Bill Kingsley. 
The Museum had long known that Tram 12, a former Electric Supply Company of Victoria tram, was built into a house in Nerrina.  The cottage was on a planned reservation for the Ballarat bypass. During 1990 the property was formally acquired by VicRoads and we arranged to acquire the tram body at no cost to us.  On 3 November 1990, a work crew quickly demolished enough of the house for the body to be lifted out the following day.  
BTM Treasurer, Carolyn Cleak who was there for the 1990 move and took the two photos, commented that "You had to be careful at the house as the doorway heights were for short people. I even had to duck! The wallpaper on the lounge wall was newspaper cuttings from the paper stating that war had been declared in Sept 1939. Interesting reading at the time."

Trams in Sturt Street

The Sturt St West track was on the south side of the highway between Pleasant St and Hamilton Ave. It had two D loops in the west bound lane of the road to Adelaide. Imagine if you were a young car driver on your first trip to Adelaide, driving through Ballarat at night and suddenly there was a tram lurching out straight in front of you.

This photo from Tony Smith in 1971, shows Tram 13 in the loop with a car turning out to avoid the tram.
An unusual sight...former Melbourne tram 661 and now part of the Ballarat fleet, being towed by a tractor along the Midland Highway to the Bendigo Tramway for repairs. This was the former Floral Tram damaged during the 2019 Begonia Festival. Photo: Alastair Reither


During the Queen’s visit in 1954 some of the trams were decorated with a “Welcome to our Queen”  message. In this photo by Noel Reed you can see the tram crews in their white “Foreign Legion” caps chatting with an Inspector (in the black cap). These modern FM trams had smooth fast acceleration, deeply padded seats, double helical gears, resilient wheels and roller bearings, they were truly lovely cars.
Text: Greg King. From the Ian Saxon Collection
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