Non-standard Melbourne trams
Melbourne has had history of non-standard tramcar construction and operation. The reasons for such tramcars were varied - experimental designs such as PCC 980, tramcars built for special purposes such as the X2 single truck cars for service on local lines such as in Footscray, or the L class trams built by predecessors to the former Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board. The VR class trams were purchased from the Victorian Railways after the closure of the St Kilda to Brghtontramway in 1959
During the late 1960's and early 1970's, there was an effort to standardise the types of trams in service to economise on maintenance costs, simplify drivers tasks, and ensure standardisation for passengers. The reasons for such cars surviving after withdrawal from regular passenger service are also varied - for example, the X2 and Y1 class trams were used for driver training out of the former Hawthorn Depot. A number of pictures show the trams as preserved.
Images of non-standard Melbourne Trams
X class tramcar 217 was photographed in St Kilda Road while taking part in the Moomba Tramway procession in March 2002. 217 was one of two Birney Trams purchased by the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board in the early 1920's. 217 mostly saw service on lightly trafficked lines such as Elsternwick to Point Ormond. 217 has now been preserved by the Tramway Museum Society of Victoria (Inc) and is shown here in its original colour scheme.
X1 class tramcar 467 was photographed at the Tramway Museum at Bylands in November 2000. 467 was one of 10 single truck tramcars constructed by the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board in the late 1920's for use on lightly trafficked lines such as Elsternwick to Point Ormond and the Footscray tramways. It may be seen to represent a locally constructed version of the imported "X" class Birney trams. 467 has been preserved by the Tramway Museum Society of Victoria (Inc).
X2 class tramcar 676 was photographed in Maribyrnong Road, Ascot Vale, on a Tramway Museum Society of Victoria special tour in the early 1980's. It is painted in the historic chocolate and cream colour scheme, although this tram was not previously painted in this colour scheme.
The X2 class trams were utilised on small isolated lines such as those which formerly operated in the Footscray area. They had some similar characteristics to the Y1 class trams, and represented in some respects an improvement on the X class "Birney" trams, imported from the United States of America some years previously. They were withdrawn from service in 1962 on the closure of the Footscray lines, but 676 survived, being based for many years at the Hawthorn Depot driver training school. 676 is now in the Melbourne historical tramcar fleet.
PCC class tramcar 980 was photographed in Nicholson Street, North Fitzroy, outside the North Fitzroy Depot in early 1966. 980 was bound for City-Spencer Street from East Brunswick on route 96. This photo, which was taken for me by my father, was probably the first tram photo taken for me. PCC 980 was built in 1950 and fitted with imported Clark B3 trucks of the President's Conference Committee design. This car was built with a locally designed body that was very different to that in vogue in the United States and Canada. 980 was withdrawn from regular service in the late 1960s or early 1970's. In 1973, the trucks were used in the construction of tramcar 1041, the prototype of Melbourne's Z class trams. The body of 980 has been preserved by the Tramway Museum Society of Victoria Limited.
Acknowledgements: Special thanks to David Wilson for scanning some of the black and white images from the original negatives. Special thanks also to my father, Ken Mottram, for taking the picture of 980.
|Last update: 27/12/2003|