Ballarat Tramway eNews
No. 41, May 2021
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The Illuminated Night Tram

Ballarat Heritage Festival

The tram is operating every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings during May as part of the Ballarat Heritage Festival. The City of Ballarat has sponsored the supply of the lighting equipment and the cost of operating the tram during May.

The Illuminated Night Tram seen here last week in Wendouree Parade in this atmospheric photo by Paul Mong. The installation of the lights caused a few headaches and late nights for the workshop crews, but the final result looks quite stunning. 

Tickets to ride the Illuminated Night Tram are FREE, but people should book on line in advance. Passenger numbers are restricted to 15, and the tram service starts at 6.00pm and the last trip leaves at


Fifty Years

This year, on Sunday 19 September, we will both remember the 50th anniversary of the closure of the Ballarat Tramway network, and celebrate the achievement of preserving Ballarat's transport history. In May 1971 small groups of enthusiasts in both Melbourne and Ballarat got together to save a small section of the historic tramway. The Ballarat Tramway Museum exists because of their enthusiasm and dedication over the last 50 years. A big day is planned featuring a range of heritage vehicles, displays and entertainment, The highlight will be a grand parade along Wendouree Parade. Keep the date free, this will a day to remember.

The New Display Building

Work has continued on our new visitor centre and display hall with the building due to completed in September. This week the foundations for the tracks have been dug. The new centre will provide facilities for our 30,000 annual visitors, and have a large inside space to display part of our collection of historic trams. It has been totally financed by several generous donations from members, however we still need more money to complete the project. The extra funds are needed to connect the tracks to the existing tram network, furnish the building, and to create new displays to tell the story of Ballarat's tramway history.

Ballarat's railway gates

In May 2020 a V/Line Velocity train collided with the railway gates at the Lydiard Street crossing. These gates were the last operating railway gates in Victoria, and were an important part of the historic railway precinct. One pair of gates, and supporting pillars and mechanisms were completely destroyed in the accident. Ironically V/Line announced during Ballarat's Heritage Festival that the gates would not be repaired, and new modern boom gates will installed at the crossing. The gates often featured in photos taken by tram enthusiasts, as demonstrated in the picture from the Ian Saxon Collection. 

The City Loop

At the bottom of Sturt Street was a layover loop where trams could be parked without blocking the service trams. This 1960s photo from the Ian Saxon Collection shows three trams waiting to be called back into service. Tram 39 is still preserved at the Ballarat Tramway Museum as a static display, and houses our museum displays and shop.

The Blackpool Illuminated Trams

The English seaside city of Blackpool has long been famous for its illuminations, which started in 1879. Over one million light bulbs are used to light up a 10km section of the Blackpool Promenade. Visitors to the Illuninations, which last for 66 days, view the lights from car, bus or tram. Several trams are also lit up as part of the event, and are often decorated with a different theme, such as boats or trains. This photo by Henry Brett was taken in 2007.
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