Together with Adam Dunning and community groups on Facebook, the Trust is alarmed that fully functional W Class trams are being sold off or given away following the recent decommissioning of Ws on several commuter routes. To give Melbourne’s famous and iconic W Class trams a future, the Trust supports the use of Ws on dedicated tourism routes on weekends and evenings, run by an independent operator in a similar manner to the successful restaurant cars.
The CEO of Public Transport Victoria was on radio last week happy to take suggestions for disposal of the trams. We know that a number of trams have been disposed and given to new owners in the last month or so .Perfectly good trams are being removed from the fleet before any informed decision about future opportunities for reuse for tourism, community, culture and the arts use can be made. An immediate moratorium on disposal is essential.
Our objective is to ensure the remaining recently decommissioned running fleet of Ws (the “53”) be secured immediately, stored undercover, and reserved for future tourist and cultural projects operating on the streets of Melbourne, and not just given away. There is currently no policy on retention and disposals. We want a Ministerial Advisory Committee set up to provide informed advice. We are not asking for 200 working or retained trams, but a policy to ensure that sufficient defunct ones be retained in order that they can be cannabalised for spares for an operational heritage fleet.
Operating trams recently disposed:
W 846 – one of “the 53” upgraded to current specifications. Seen heading for Geelong on a truck.
W 907 – Seen being lowered into place as the new “Dermpav” acquisition at Newport.
W 881 and a second tram (852?) loaded up at Appleton Dock in July. Both of these trams probably heading to Auckland.
W 728 at Bendigo Tramways. This was the oldest W class tram in regular service and was to be withdrawn in 2010 until the Tram and Bus Union stepped in to save it. It was then publicised it would be kept running – it was withdrawn quietly and donated to Bendigo Tramways for parts.
W85, 953 and 1039 to Ballarat Tram Museum.
Our 10 point plan:
1. Ministerial W Class Steering Committee to be established immediately to determine what remaining stock is potentially operational, to be retained and reserved for future use; to develop policy and advise on proposals for the operational fleet (with priority given to tourism, arts and entertainment operational uses), the ‘sale or gifting of the non-operational trams to suitable static uses, and management and promotion of all operating Ws (including the City Circle).
2. All 30-odd operational Ws stored in the open at Newport be immediately secured from public access and stored undercover.
3. All operational W’s retained and reserved for future tourism, arts and entertainment purposes.
4. No operational Ws to be given away or sold for static purposes (exhibition, cafe, play equipment etc).
5. Inventory of all long-term stored Ws inside the Newport sheds to determine those that are suitable for ‘disposal’ for static use, and develop a policy regarding suitable uses before any further sale or giving away.
6. Essential mechanical and aesthetic spare parts removed from other non-useable Ws and stored for future spare parts to service the reserved fleet.
7. All paintwork, external appearance, and classic internal features to be retained on all Ws used, with upgrades limited to logistics to allow safe and efficient running.
8. An independent operator for the W trams be established to maintain and operate a W Class tourism service, with depot access and use of existing running sheds to maintain the fleet.
9. The Grand Circle line or similar to be developed as a dedicated tourism and arts and entertainment route for Ws.
10. The restoration of two trams in Bendigo workshops (as funded by the former government) to be completed.