Ballarat Tramway eNews
No. 35, September 2019
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A Busy Year

Plenty of things happening at the Tramway

It has been a big year, and there has been a long break between newsletters. Apologies from the editor, but sometimes life simply gets in the way. The latest news can always be found on our Facebook page. So we have new trams, new track, and our application for a Heritage Victoria permit to build our new display centre is making progress. We have some new events coming soon too!

NEW TRACKS - A smooth ride coming

Construction work on replacing the worn out rails on the south end of the track commenced last week, and will hopefully be completed by the end of the month. Funding for the project has come from the City of Ballarat, and from the Victorian Government's Pick My Project. 

Fulton Hogan began tearing up the old tracks last week. Very few of the wooden sleepers were intact, and the rails were badly pitted and corroded. Anyone who rode this section of track over the last few years will know what a bone shaking experience it was. Apart from causing damage to the heritage trams, it has also taken a lot of effort and manpower to keep maintain the track in a safe working condition.

The Museum was able to prove that it had community support, and were able to receive the maximum amount of money, $200,000 through Pick My Project. Thanks to everyone who took the time and made the effort to vote for the project. The City of Ballarat have also agreed to fund the project to replace the entire section of track from Carlton Street to Depot Junction, providing over $500,000. 

The tracks through the Gardens were originally laid in 1887 for the Ballaarat Tramway Company's horse trams. When the lines were electrified in 1905, by the Electric Supply Company of Victoria,  the light horse rails were replaced with heavier track. Most of this track was replaced in the 1930s when the State Electricity Commission of Victoria upgraded the tramway. This southern section of our line was not upgraded, and has been in use for 115 years.
The works are expected to take about a month. The track will be laid on concrete sleepers which will last longer in the damp conditions around the edge of the lake. The roadway will be topped with bitumen. Removed earth from the construction has been used to level the ground surface on the tracks leading to the Muesum buildings. Trams will be running on weekends and during the school holidays on the remaining section of the tramway. This upgrade to our basic infrastructure will see the trams running on the track for hundreds more years.

New trams

The Museum was given two trams, No. 836 and No. 1029, from the collection of retired W class trams stored at Newport. It is hoped that No. 1029, a W7 class, will be able to be restored and brought into the operating fleet within the next 12 months. This will replace our W3, No. 661, which was severely damaged during this year's Begonia Festival.

The Floral Tram

Tram 661, the 2019 Floral Tram, was withdrawn from service after only two days following an accident with a motor vehicle in Wendouree Parade in March. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but the car was a write off, and the tram sustained serious damage to its underframe. The insurance company has agreed to repair the tram, which will be carried out at the Bendigo Tramway Workshop, but there will be a wait of a couple of years before the tram is repaired and back in service. The Melbourne Tramcar Preservation Association have agreed to provide a tram from their collection to help us manage the crowds at Springfest and the Begonia Festival.
The Museum decided to preserve the flower panels and restore them to the tram when it returns to service in the future. Pamela and her team of flower makers, spent six weeks repairing the panels, which will be placed into storage. Maybe the Floral Tram will be back by 2022!

Night Tram Change

The Night Tram date has been changed because of the trackworks. The Night Trams will now operate on Saturday, 21 September. Trams will operate in Wendouree Parade following the Tram Showcase until 8.00pm. Visitors can then head into the city of Ballarat to take part in the spectacular White Night display.

Tram Showcase

Our annual Tram Showcase will take place on Saturday 21 September from 11.00am till 8.00pm. All the Museum's operable tramcars will be in action throughout the day, so make sure you have your camera. An added attraction will be a large collection of vintage Rolls Royce Silver Ghosts which will be in the gardens at lunchtime. At the end of the day, approx. 4.00pm, the trams will form a cavalcade and travel from St. Aidan's Drive back to the Museum. Service will continue until 8.00pm. All Day tickets $8.00, members free.
A heritage, MMTB half cab bus will be at Wendouree Railway Station connecting with the 10:52am and 11:52am train arrivals from Melbourne and taking people to the Museum. The bus will depart the museum at 4:35pm to connect with the 4:56pm train to Melbourne, then at 5:45pm to connect with the 6:06pm train to Melbourne.

At 2.00pm this bus will take passengers to the Melbourne Tramcar Preservation Association's museum at Haddon for an hour Entry to Haddon is $10, CASH ONLY upon arrival.

Pipers By The Lake have offered a complimentary glass of wine or beer for those who purchase a main meal for lunch. Upon purchasing your All Day Card from the museum or tram conductor, just ask for a special postcard to hand to restaurant staff to redeem this offer. 

Other new trams

The Museum also has two new trams in its collection. One is Geelong Tram No. 2, which has been privately restored, and will be the only operational original Geelong tram. This is currently having final work completed at the Bendigo workshops. It is hoped that it will be in Ballarat before the end of the year.

The other new tram, is W2 504, one of the original art trams, painted by Clifton Pugh in the 1970s. While we have had the tram in storage for several years, it has now been formally handed over to the Museum. We are currently working with the Pugh family and Melbourne University to develop a restoration plan for this historic tram.

Sunshine State

Work is progressing on the new narrow gauge tramway in Nambour, Queensland, with the slab laid for the tram depot.  The tram, which will run between the Coles Shopping Centre and Aldi, along Mill and Howard Streets is expected to be operational by 2021.
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