Perhaps it has something to do with the withdrawal of the Route 35 City Circle W-Class trams for upgrading to W8, which seemed rather sudden. The City Circle service is being run by the 6 W8 trams (normally 12 trams) and has been reduced from a 12-min headway to a 30-min headway until the upgrades are completed. The article that the following RP thread is based on states:
‘ The safety upgrade program will include the trams operated by the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant.’
I'm absolutely certain that this is the same decision.
The later W class cars are steel framed but the cabs have wooden framing.
This was replaced by steel framing in the W8 cars.
Clearly someone in authority has decided that the wooden cabs put the driver at risk, hence the withdrawal of the dark red City Circle trams and the dark red restaurant trams.
Note that all the passengers sit in the quite strong steel body that is retained on the W8 and must threrefore be safe by definition.
I would be interested in the relative collision strengths of the wood framed W class cab against the largely glass and fibreglass cab of say a C1. In the short term it might be possible to move the driver back into the steel structure, say by one side window space leaving the wood framed, steel skinned cab as a crumple zone.
But is the Bendigo Tramway Museum really the only place that could do this work.
Is there no capability for fairly straight forward modifications at Preston Workshops?
Could Bombardier in Dandenong not weld up a light steel structure like that on a W8 (always remembering that the cab floor has to be raised to that of the saloon for added strength in a collision)
Given a set of drawings, I'm sure Puffing Billy at Belgrave could do this, or EDI at Cardiff NSW (not that much harder to get to than Bendigo).
So in truth it is not "the condition of the wooden structure" but the fact that it is a wooden structure, now that all the other cars with wood cab framing have been taken out of service.
What was said is correct. It was safe one day and dangerous the next, with no actual change in the structure.
SW5 and SW6 trams with this cab structure have been running for eighty years.
How many drivers have been injured in collisions in those 80 years due to failure of the cab structure?
Japanese built vans like the Toyota Hi Ace are dangerous in collisions compared to vehicles with forward engines but they haven't been banned from Victorian roads and I'd bet the casualty count from collisions of such vans is far greater than that for the wide W class tramcars.
This was not a slowly developing problem, it was a problem caused by a bureaucratic decision.
Now that all trams carry passengers for free within the city, the loss of half the City Circle trams isn't great as long as tourists get the message....
I am appalled (and I mean it, not like say Bingley Hall's comments on many Victorian matters).