MELBOURNE ELECTRIC TRAMWAYS

GUNZEL NOTES


Copyright 2016 Don Storey.  All rights reserved.


CLASSIC
AUSTRALIAN
TELEVISION

 


 

 

A TIME-LINE HISTORY OF THE
MELBOURNE ELECTRIC TRAMWAYS

 

 



      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. 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, in 'vanilla' form as I don't have the time to design a proper web page at this juncture. The splitting of the tramways into two separate groups on October 1, 1997 is taken as a convenient point to end this waffle.


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 noted. Information came mostly from MMTB / PTC records, but also from contemporary news reports 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

 

There are two main sections - the tram timeline and various appendices. The timeline has details of the development of the Melbourne tramway system arranged in chronological order, and the appendices cover some hard-core gunzel stuff:

 

  Appendix 1 - Route numbers

  Appendix 2 - Depot allocation of trams 
1928, 1934, 1938, 1948, 1954, 1961, 1977, 1991.

  Appendix 3 - Trams sold for operation in provincial cities 

  Appendix 4 - MMTB passenger tram numerical roster 

  Appendix 5 - TRACK maps
1907, 1911, 1914, 1917, 1920, 1923, 1925, 1926, 1928, 1931, 1939, 1948, 1956, 1967, 1980, 1996.


 

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 via Glenhuntly Road to Glenhuntly Station and via Hawthorn and Balaclava Roads 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.

 

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.

 

  ~~~        Operation of the Box Hill to Doncaster 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 [4'8"]).

                          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 ttempts 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.

 

 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 situ 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 maximum-traction bogie trams were modified by cutting an aisle through the crossbench seats in the drop-centre.

 

 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 William Street and Peel 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, Adelaide, becoming their D class Nos. 191 - 194. The O class were almost identical to the MTT’s fleet of 50 D class trams (Nos. 121 - 170). They ran in Adelaide until closure of the street system in 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 - Ex MBCTT Flusher car (later No. 5)

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

                8A - 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 - Geelong 26

                65 - Geelong 28 (later Ballarat 11)

                66 - Geelong 25 (later re-numbered 28)

                67 - Geelong 24

                68 - Geelong 30 (later Ballarat 13)

                71 - Geelong 27 (later Ballarat 12)

                75 - 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  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 - Bendigo 19 (later re-numbered 12)

                108 - Ballarat 24

                109 - Bendigo 13

                110 - Ballarat 25 (later Bendigo 6)

                111 - Ballarat 26

                112 - Bendigo 10

                113 - Ballarat 28

                114 - Bendigo 3

                115 - Bendigo 2

                116 - 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 of 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.

 

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 (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 - Bendigo 16

                B 86 - Bendigo 14

                B 89 - Ballarat 20

                B 90 - Bendigo 7

                H 63 - Ballarat 18

                J 73 - Ballarat 17

                J 76 - Ballarat 19 (later Bendigo 7)

                J 79 - Bendigo 6

                J 82 - Ballarat 16

                J 83 - Bendigo 4

                (For further details see Appendix 3)

 

                Ten single-truck trams were scrapped:

 Footscray A class 1, 5, 6 and 9;

 B class 85 and 91;

 G class 50;

 the last two remaining 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 a bus service.

 

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 - Ballarat 30

                184 - Ballarat 31

                185 - Bendigo 19

                186 - Ballarat 32

                187 - Bendigo 20

                188 - Bendigo 21

                189 - Ballarat 33

                (For further details see Appendix 3)

 

 1936.

 

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

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

                R class 152 and 153 were sold to the SEC, becoming Ballarat 22 (renumbered 29 in 1938) and Bendigo 22 respectively.

 

                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. 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 traction; the Port Melbourne line was replaced by a bus service.

 

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 route ran via City Road, Queensbridge Street and 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 referred to as 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 deemed to be 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 buse 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 commenced, due to staff shortages caused by the war.

 

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 shunt.

 

  ~~~        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 - Ballarat 37 (transferred Oct 18)

                N 123 - Bendigo 23 (transferred Oct 16)

                P 132 - Ballarat 36 (transferred Oct 31)

                P 138 - 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

  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 were sold to the SEC for use on their provincial tramways, being re-numbered as follows:

 

                N 118 - Geelong 31 (transferred Jan 15)

                N 124 - Ballarat 35 (transferred Jan 22)

                P 133 - Bendigo 25 (transferred Feb 12)

                P 137 - Ballarat 34 (transferred Feb 25)

                P 135 - 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 maximum-traction bogie trams were sold to the SEC for use on the Geelong tramways (N class 120 and 122), being re-numbered as follows:

 

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

                N 122 - 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     Maximum-traction bogie tram N class 126 was sold to the SEC and transferred to Geelong, becoming their 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     Maximum-traction bogie tram N class 119 was sold to the SEC and transferred to Geelong, becoming their 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)