Melbourne's Trams To The Millennium Part 3


Go to Part One of Melbourne's Trams to the Millennium.
Go to Part Two of Melbourne's Trams to the Millennium.

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Route 99 - NightLink.

Route 99, which operated in March 1996 and November 1997 to March 1998, was an all night tram route which ran from Melbourne University to Fergie St North Fitzroy via Chapel St Prahran, St Kilda and Brunswick St Fitzroy, serving the main areas of nightlife in Melbourne.It was operated because of suggestions from Grand Prix visitors that an all night service would be beneficial to those Grand Prix patrons who wished to sample Melbourne's night life after each day's festivities at Albert Park had finished.

Trams ran from Melbourne University along Swanston St, tapping the Lygon St and City nightclubs and restaurants and turning into Batman Ave and then running via Swan St to Church St North Richmond (the section of track along Batman Ave and Swan St to Punt Rd is now closed). Route 99 then ran along Church and Chapel Sts, serving Prahran's nightclubs before turning into Carlisle St St Kilda, passing Luna Park then entering Fitzroy St's nightclub district and turning onto the St Kilda light rail line, which took trams to the City via Clarendon and Collins Sts. At the Collins and Swanston Sts corner, route 99 crossed itself, giving passengers a choice of trams if they were going to St Kilda.

Route 99 then ran via the Victoria Pde Interchange and Brunswick St Fitzroy past more nightclubs and restaurants to terminate at Fergie St North Fitzroy.

Trams ran at a 20 minute frequency. The first tram left Melbourne University at 12.19 am and the last at 4.19 am. From Fergie St, the first tram was at 12.00 am and the last at 4.40 am, the trip taking one hour and twelve minutes in each direction. Kew Depot operated the service using A class trams, and four trams ran in each direction.

The NightLink service did not operate in March 1997 due to a strike by tram crews on Grand Prix weekend or in 1999 due to union action over the lack of a meal break for the drivers.


Melbourne's suburban tram, train and bus system is split into three zones --

Before Metcard was introduced in 1996, paper and scratch tickets were issued, and zones were coloured, zone 1 being yellow, zone 2 blue and zone 3 red. Paper tickets were sold on trams and buses as well as railway stations, while scratch tickets were sold at retail outlets such as newsagents and milk bars.

After many trials and tribulations, Metcard was finally trialled on the Alamein and Glen Waverley railway lines and the East Burwood tram line. While the trials were taking place, Metcard equipment was being installed in trams and on railway stations, the North Melbourne group of lines and Essendon Depot trams being the last to receive the equipment.

The introduction of Metcard was fraught with difficulty. Ticket machines and validators refused to work, printing on the cards faded, tickets were validated incorrectly resulting in some tickets being valid until 2009! Vandals had their day, too. Some had worked out that pouring corrosive liquid down a machine's coin slot caused the machine to disgorge its coins. Until this problem was solved, security guards were employed at major railway stations to keep an eye on the machines at a cost of thousands of dollars to the taxpayer. But the real problem, one that caused reams of correspondence and an enormous amount of correspondence to both the PTC and the daily press (who have been having a field day with Metcard problems), was that daily tickets could not be purchased on a tram. The idea of this was to compel passengers to purchase their tickets at a retail outlet before boarding their tram, then all they had to do was validate their ticket. A good idea in principle, but one that didn't work in practice, due to people's unwillingness to change from something they were used to, and which worked quite well.

The new owners of the trams have indicated they would make daily tickets available on trams, but nothing has happened yet,

Ticket Types.

Melbourne's ticketing system is time based, and several options are available.

Two Hour tickets (concession and full fare)
These tickets are available in all zones and can be used for two hours up to the expiry date printed on the ticket. Tickets are validated from the next hour after the initial validation e.g.2.17 pm validated as 3.00 pm, so it is possible to get three hours from a ticket. Tickets validated after 6.00 pm are available till 2.00 am the next morning.
Daily tickets (concession and full fare)
As two hour tickets, but available till 2.00 am on the day of purchase.
Weekly and monthly tickets (concession and full fare)
Periodical tickets that give the purchaser savings over daily tickets. For example, the weekly ticket gives seven days unlimited travel for the price of just over four days, and entitles the holder to travel in all zones on weekends. When validated after 3.00 pm, an extra day is added.
60 Plus
This is a daily ticket valid over all zones that can be purchased by pensioners,Victorian Seniors Card holders and others over 60 years of age who are not in regular employment.
Short trip (concession and full fare)
This ticket is available for a single trip over two sections, the section boarded and the next one.
Rail + Two (concession and full fare)
Available on trains for a journey of one or two stations from the originating station.
Two Hour x 10 (concession and full fare)
As two hour ticket, but valid for ten trips of two hours.
Short trip x 10 (concession and full fare)
As short trip ticket, but valid for ten short trips.
Group Get - About
Available for one days travel in either Zone 1 or all three zones for two adults and up to six children.

Appendix 1.

W Class trams in storage at Preston Workshops.

Some of these trams, part of the 50 strong Ready Reserve fleet, have been cannibalised for spare parts, mainly seats, destination rolls and destination boxes.

These trams are stored in rows in the former plate shop at the rear of the workshops.

Row 1.
SW5 800, SW6 851, SW6 874, SW6 901, SW5 810, SW6 947, SW6 956, SW6 919, SW6 916, W6 998, SW6 931, SW6 883, SW6 865, SW6 924, SW5 849, W7 1032, W7 1023, SW6 893.
Row 2.
SW6 921, W7 1034, SW6 906, W7 1013.
Row 3.
SW6 941, SW6 944, SW6 965, W7 1017.
Row 4 (on rails).
W7 1018, SW6 984, SW6 885, SW6 899, SW6 951.
Row 5.
SW6 895, SW6 880, SW6 949, SW6 930, SW6 908, W6 975.
Row 6.
W7 1036, SW6 939, SW6 918, SW6 891, SW6 933, SW6 861.

SW6 936 is stored in the Workshops yard as it would not fit in the Plate Shop.

A total of forty three trams. The other seven ready reserve trams are at---

Glenhuntly Depot.
SW5 785, SW5 843, SW6 968, SW6 969.
Southbank Depot.
SW6 897, SW6 963.

In addition, SW6 890, the RC2 controller training tram, is based at Southbank Depot and SW5 796, the mobile schoolroom, is stored at Essendon Depot on 4 Road.

The two ex-Sydney scrubbers, 10W and 11W, are still going strong, 10W ( K763, 138s) being based at Brunswick Depot for Swanston Trams and pantograph equipped 11W is at Southbank Depot and is still happily scrubbing Yarra Trams tracks.They both show no signs of giving in, not bad for trams over ninety years old. Will they make their century?

Track scrubber/flusher 8W and scrubber 9W, formerly stored in the Workshops yard, have been transferred to the former SEC tramways, 8W to the Ballarat Tram Museum and 9W to The Bendigo Trust. 8W needs a lot of attention to render it operable, while 9W can be used on a limited basis.

Appendix 2

Trams in off - site storage at Newport Workshops.

W2 class trams.
323. - 1 tram.
W5 class trams.
684, 685, 720, 763, 772, 783, 823, 826, 833. - 9 trams.
SW5 class trams.
681, 682, 721, 722, 723, 724, 725, 726, 727, 729, 730, 731, 732, 733, 734, 736, 737, 738, 740, 741, 742, 743, 744, 745, 746, 747, 748, 749, 750, 752, 753, 754, 755, 757, 758, 760, 764, 765, 767, 768, 769, 770, 773, 775, 776, 777, 780, 781, 784, 786, 787, 788, 789, 790, 7921, 793, 797, 802, 805, 806, 807, 809, 811, 812, 814, 815, 816, 818, 819, 824, 828, 829, 830, 834, 836, 837, 838, 841, 844, 847. - 80 trams.
SW6 class trams.
853, 857, 858, 859, 860, 863, 867, 868, 871, 872, 873, 875, 876, 877, 878, 879, 882, 886, 889, 894, 898, 903, 904, 910, 911, 912, 913, 914, 915, 917, 920, 922, 923, 926, 927, 934, 940, 942, 943, 945, 948, 950, 952, 955, 958, 959, 962, 966, 967. - 49 trams.
W6 class trams.
970, 972, 973, 974, 978, 979, 985, 986, 987, 988, 989, 990, 991, 993, 994, 995, 997, 999.- 18 trams.
W7 class trams.
1002, 1003, 1004, 1006, 1007, 1009, 1014, 1016, 1024, 1025, 1026, 1028, 1029, 1030, 1033, 1035, 1037, 1038. - 18 trams.
Z1 class trams.
18, 48, 55, 57, 60, - 5 trams. These trams have been sent to Simsmetal at Brooklyn for scrapping.
Z2 class trams.
103. - 1 tram. This tram has been sent to Simsmetal at Brooklyn for scrapping.
Victorian Railways trams.
Breakdown Van 20. - 1 tram.
Sydney R class trams.
1845. - 1 tram.
Brisbane FM class trams.
493. - 1 tram. This tram has been sent to the Bendigo Tramways for restoration.
Cable trams.
Trailer 469. - 1 tram.

Appendix 3

Trams on loan.

The Bendigo Trust.

SW5 808.
W6 976.

Tramway Museum Society of Victoria - Bylands, Vic.
SW2 644.
SW5 739.
W5 782, W5 795.
SW6 887, SW6 902.
W6 996.
W7 1001.

Appendix 4

South Melbourne Depot Final Tram Roster.

SW5 class - 1 tram
SW6 class - 16 trams
855, 862, 881, 885, 892, 896, 905, 907, 924, 928, 930, 932, 933, 946, 954, 964.
W6 class - 3 trams
981, 983, 992.
W7 class - 10 trams
1005, 1012, 1013, 1015, 1019, 1021, 1022, 1027, 1032, 1039.
SW5 class - City Circle - 2 trams
728, 842.
SW6 class - City Circle - 6 trams
856, 866, 888, 909, 925, 957.
W6 class - City Circle - 1 tram
W7 class - City Circle - 1 tram
B1 class - 2 trams
2001, 2002
B2 class - 22 trams
2008, 2012, 2017, 2020, 2021, 2023, 2027, 2028, 2032, 2036, 2043, 2047, 2052, 2058, 2059, 2067, 2068, 2069, 2076, 2101, 2117, 2119.
W2 class - restaurant - 1 tram
SW6 class - restaurant - 2 trams.
937, 939.

A total of 67 trams. Underlined W class trams are part of the ready reserve fleet.

Appendix 5

Decorated W Class Trams.

Before the advent of ticket machines, one person operation and B2 class trams, several W class trams were in operation as both Transporting Art cars, painted by famous Melbourne artists, and illuminated advertising cars. None of them made it into the fleet of 53 trams kept for route services and only four survived, SW6 947 and SW6 965 into the ready reserve fleet, W6 976 was presented to the Bendigo Trust who converted it to a cafe car and W7 1011, kept for commemmorative purposes and confined to the City Circle on the rare occasions it gets out of the depot, and has now joined the City Circle fleet. The rest are slowly expiring at Newport Workshops.

These trams, who painted them and where they are, are listed below.

SW5 class

SW6 class

W6 class.

W7 class.

Appendix 6.

Internet Sites Featuring Melbourne Trams. - Melbourne's Trams to the Millennium.
The online version of this book. It is in three parts (melbtram, melbtram2 and melbtram3) and has some different photos featured. - Dave's Melbourne Tram Pages.
This web page by the author is mainly concerned with Melbourne's current tram fleet. Each tram class has a separate page featuring photos and the current status of each tram. - Melbourne's W Class Trams.
This page is concerned about Melbourne's W class tram fleet from W2 219 to W7 1040, and what has happened to them. - Melbourne's Decorated Trams.
This site lists the Melbourne trams that are decorated in advertising or theme colour schemes. There is also a brief history of decorated trams and details of the final colour schemes of the W class trams that were decorated and are now in storage. Melbourne's Heritage Tram Fleet.
The online version of the Heritage Fleet chapter in this book, with some different photos. - Melbourne's Preserved Trams.
A page, still under construction, about the Melbourne trams that have been saved from the wreckers. - Victorian Railways Trams.
The St Kilda to Brighton Beach and Sandringham to Black Rock tramways operated by the Victorian Railways can be found on these web pages. Featured is a small history of each line and articles about the history of the VR trams from Tram Tracks, Railways in Australia and Electric Traction, the journals of the Australian Electric Traction Association. - Clive Mottram's tram photos.
Clive MotTRAM has been photographing trams for many years and has placed his best photos on the web for a world wide audience to appreciate. - Trams of Australia.
David Hoadley has put up a comprehensive web site featuring not only Melbourne but every Australian town that has ever had an electric tram on its streets. From Bendigo battery trams to the Sydney Light Rail, it's all here folks!
Victrip - the official Victorian Government pages about Melbourne's public transport services.
Swanston Trams, owned by National Express, one of Melbourne's two tram companies.
Yarra Trams, owned by MetroLink Victoria, the other Melbourne tram company.


Destination Valley - edited by Jack Richardson.
Traction Publications, Canberra ACT - 1964.
Destination Circular Quay - edited by Jack Richardson.
Traction Publications, Canberra ACT - 1967.
Mind The Curve - A History Of The Cable Trams by John Keating.
Melbourne University Press - 1970.
New South Wales Tramcar Handbook 1861 - 1961 Part One - K. McCarthy & N.Chinn.
South Pacific Electric Railway - 1975.
Melbourne Tramways - David Keenan.
Transit Press - 1984.
100 Years Of Melbourne's Trams - Metropolitan Transit Authority.
Gardiner Press - 1985.
Destination City (Fifth Edition) - Norm Cross, Dale Budd and Randall Wilson.
Transit Australia Publishing - 1993.
Watch For Trams - Colin Jones.
Kangaroo Press - 1994.
Melbourne's Marvellous Trams - Dale Budd and Randall Wilson.
University of New South Wales Press - 1998.
Electric Traction and Transit Australia - journal of the Australian Electric Traction Association.
Various issues to date.
Herald - Sun and The Age - Melbourne daily newspapers.
Various articles of varying authenticity.