W Class Situation

 
  next_stop Beginner

Hi everyone,

I'm new to here,  great site!

I've done some searches through old topics and haven't been able to find my answer, so if this has already been asked then I apologise in advance for the repetition! I know that can be annoying.

Basically, I'm curious about the state of Melbourne's many W-class trams. I understand that most of them are in storage, but what is their physical condition, both mechanically and superficially?

What, if any, are the government's / network operator's plans for these trams?

And most importantly, is it possible to buy these trams?
Are any sold at all?
Any idea how much they sell for?
What condition are they in when,if, sold?
Are there certain W class models that are more treasured and thus more valuable?
Who actually owns them and has authority over them?

My next logical step would be to ask how much transport usually is, roughly, for transporting a W class? Most likely to a location in inner-city Melbourne with a company like Aus Train Movers.


Thanks in advance for your help!

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  574M White Guru

Location: Shepparton
Unused W class trams are kept at Newport Workshops.

They are under an order from the National Trust and have been gathering dust and bird guano for many years in East Block, I believe.  The fleet stored there is often raided for spare parts to keep the existing fleet in operation - most of the bodies are age-damaged on frames which would probably not be allowed on any system.

They've been heritage-listed en masse and prevented from going outside Victoria. So no trams to Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth museums. Bylands, Bendigo and Ballarat have all the Ws they want.

It is not known if they are available for purchase; about 8 years ago the asking price was around $5600 - where Z class trams have been  (or currently available for purchase) around the $8000 mark - however, these are not any reliable benchmark figures.  At this point in time, basically, the W class trams are trapped for all eternity in Newport Workshops until another place to store them is found.

Australian Train Movers had the contract for disposal of the superseded Z class retired trams. See http://www.a-tm.com.au/saletram.html

A full list of stored trams (168) is available on Vicsig

Our member Gwiwer may have more accurate background and information...
  scrat Assistant Commissioner

Location: Fitzroy North
What 574M said is mostly true, except for W's not being able to leave Victoria, two are heading, or have already gone to Sydney, and two have been leased by Bendigo to Auckland to run on their new heritage line.

It's is also an odd situation with what museums may do with trams when received. Any W sent to a museum still remains the property of VicTrack, but the museum may, by request dismantle the tram for parts and dispose of the waste, there are provisions that must be met before disposal, and all parts salvaged remain the property of VicTrack (I think, but I'm not totally sure). But they may not sell a tram, or any parts from the trams to either an individual or another museum, although they can give parts to other museums.

The only way to privately acquire a W is to buy an already private one of a museum that owns it (ie, not leased by VicTrack) which isn't going to happen, or buy one of a private individual. VicTrack wont sell or loan a W to an individual due to their trust listing.

Most of the trams in Newport are in a pretty average state, and are used for parts (both museums and Yarra Trams) now days, every now and then a decent tram is pulled out of Newport and put into a serviceable state if that's easier/cheaper than fixing an already in service W (but that's not very common).

May I ask why your asking? Are you interested in acquiring a W class tram?

Liam.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Our member Gwiwer may have more accurate background and information...
"574M"


My attention has been drawn to this thread.

W-class trams first entered service in Melbourne in 1923 when car 219 was delivered.  Since then and until car 1040 arrived in 1956 some 756 cars were delivered with traction and body styles varying considerably between manufacturers and as technology progressed.  The number sequence includes rebuilds, a few other classes (the X and Y classes) and a small batch which was never built so does not tally with the actual total of cars constructed.

Most of the early ones were built as or were converted to class W2; many of the later ones were built as or converted to classes W5, W6 and W7.  Some are or were prefixed S (so class SW6) meaning they had, or had been converted to, sliding doors when open sides was the class standard.  All cars remaining in service have had sliding doors for many years now.

Of those which remain in service with Yarra Trams (nominally 53 though several are withdrawn or stored and unlikely to return to service) most are from the latter two classes with just a few slightly earlier W5 types.

As newer trams were introduced staring with the Z1 class in 1975 the oldest of the W-classes (by then largely W2 types) were steadily withdrawn and at that time were simply burnt with the frames sometimes cut up for salvage, or were sold privately to museums and private buyers.  Some went on to be chook sheds, home extensions and other similar uses and some of these survive today.   One W2 was purchased by Sir Elton John and was shipped to his home in Windsor, UK, but is not available for public viewing.  

Continued delivery of newer trams along with service cuts saw great inroads being made into what Melburnians regarded as their iconic tram fleet.  Representations were duly made and all remaining W-class trams were classified by the National Trust as heritage items which could neither be disposed of nor removed from Victoria.  That classification remains in force.

This resulted in huge numbers of redundant trams being stored with no further use on the streets and no lawful way to dispose of them.  Some were placed in storage in Preston Workshops while a large number (approximately 200) were accumulated in a redundant factory premises in North Melbourne.  It is those cars which subsequently moved to Newport East Block where many remain.

Access to East Block is extremely restricted for good reasons.  There are structural issues with the vehicles inside and possibly the building itself making it a hazardous place.  Also stored in there are items of rolling stock involved in serious incidents which are awaiting the outcome of legal proceedings before scrapping or repair is permitted.  As such they are sub judice and may not be tampered with in any way nor may images be taken of them without specific authority.

Word from those sources granted access to East Block over the years is that around 150 trams remain; the actual number reported varies slightly from time to time as some are finally broken up (mostly for spares or restoration projects), some more are moved in (including most of those which were once stored at the workshops and in the old Thornbury shed opposite) and a very few are moved out to new homes.  

Those which are present are mostly reported to be in an advanced state of bodily decay and potentially unable to move under their own power again.  They have been stored for some 35 years during which time most of Melbourne's tramway has been modernised making it impossible to run such elderly vehicles without very extensive rebuilding.  Given that YT intends to cease operation of its remaining W-class trams other than the dozen or so required for the City Circle there is no need to rebuild cars which are up to 70 years old.

Most of those stored are from classes W5 and W6.  As noted above the earlier types (including the very small number of W3 and W4 cars built) were largely disposed of before the listing was applied.

They may not be sold, moved out of the State nor otherwise disposed of except under very strictly controlled conditions. One (965) was cosmetically restored and sent to Denmark as a wedding gift from the State of Victoria and is now owned by Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary.  That is a unique exception.

No future has been determined for the remaining cars.  The existing museums have probably more than they need.  Occasional murmurs arise of a new working museum project being set up in Melbourne but given the potential cost and lack of a suitable site such hopes are likely to never become reality.  So they continue to slowly decay for no better reason than their continued classification.  If that classification were removed it might become possible to purchase one but not until then.  

W-class trams from the earliest to latest types are quite well represented in preservation already.  Some are in working order and operate at locations such as St. Kilda (SA) museum and the Sydney museum in Loftus.  At least one runs on a demonstration line in Auckland NZ at the MoTaT museum while others as far away as the USA are still in operation though sometimes heavily modified.  Some earlier W5-7 withdrawals escaped the classification and have travelled far and wide.  In Melbourne they are in service on routes 30 and 78 (generally restricted to weekday daytimes) and route 35 City Circle and heritage cars may be seen at Hawthorn depot museum.

Even if it were possible to buy one now the chances of transporting one from Newport to another location without it simply falling apart might be a debatable consideration.  Then there is the very significant cost of restoration.  When even the museums struggle to fund the works a private individual is unlikely to do better without considerable private assets and skill.

The best source of up-to-date information on the entire class is Vicsig at http://www.vicsig.net/index.php?page=trams While many hard-copy publications also exist many are long out of date notably the standard reference work "Destination City" which has not been republished since 1993.
  themetptc Junior Train Controller

Location: Ballarat
What 574M said is mostly true, except for W's not being able to leave Victoria, two are heading, or have already gone to Sydney, and two have been leased by Bendigo to Auckland to run on their new heritage line.

Liam.
"scrat"


Bendigo have only leased 1 tram to Auckland, W2 421 which Bendigo have owned for a few decades.
Sim.
  scrat Assistant Commissioner

Location: Fitzroy North
What 574M said is mostly true, except for W's not being able to leave Victoria, two are heading, or have already gone to Sydney, and two have been leased by Bendigo to Auckland to run on their new heritage line.

Liam.
"scrat"


Bendigo have only leased 1 tram to Auckland, W2 421 which Bendigo have owned for a few decades.
Sim.
"themetptc"


Correct, I apologise for incorrectly stating that it was (they are) VicTrack('s), I was under the impression that it was, but am wrong. I know that the two trams going to to Sydney is correct though (he says trying to save face).

Liam.
  bramt Deputy Commissioner


(snip)
Those which are present are mostly reported to be in an advanced state of bodily decay and potentially unable to move under their own power again. They have been stored for some 35 years during which time most of Melbourne's tramway has been modernised making it impossible to run such elderly vehicles without very extensive rebuilding. Given that YT intends to cease operation of its remaining W-class trams other than the dozen or so required for the City Circle there is no need to rebuild cars which are up to 70 years old.
"Gwiwer"


Bendigo Trust to maintain W Class tram fleet
http://www.vicsig.net/news/3326

So Bendigo Tramways are restoring Ws for Melbourne under the election promise to keep them running. It doesn't say if this is just essentially a O1 overhaul (or is that O3?), or if they are pulling fresh (stale?) Ws out of Newport. It also doesn't say how many. $8m doesn't sound like it would be enough to do the enitre "53", nor does it seem enough to do very many at all if they are from Newport.
Sigh. Just another press release with no details at all.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
I think you will find these are the dozen or so undergoing very heavy overhaul for continued operation on the City Circle into the future.

$8m over what I understand to be 12 trams would be about right.

Those may or may not include the current maroon fleet.  Those in best condition would be selected.  None would be from the Newport store as those trams are entirely non-operational.
  Polar Tiger Chief Commissioner

Location: FL390
W 957 has already been in Bendigo for many months, I heard there was some sort of dispute regarding the exact nature and cost of the work to be undertaken.
  bramt Deputy Commissioner

Yep, maroon 957 went to Bendigo early this year for restoration. Interestingly it is (or at least arrived) on yellow workshop trucks. Is this so Bendigo doesn't do any electrical work / play trams down High St with Melbourne's vehicles?
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Might be the case that Preston is dealing with the truck overhaul.  I doubt Bendigo would "play trams" and I'm not sure if they have the facilities / skills for a full electrical / truck overhaul.
  themetptc Junior Train Controller

Location: Ballarat
Might be the case that Preston is dealing with the truck overhaul.  I doubt Bendigo would "play trams" and I'm not sure if they have the facilities / skills for a full electrical / truck overhaul.
"Gwiwer"


The initial plan was to be that Bendigo would do the body, electrics, pneumatics and underfloor equipment while Newport Workshops would do the bogies.  Then the body and bogies would be sent to Preston Workshops where they would be reunited and tested.
However that was a while ago, so plans have probably changed by now.
Sim.
  TTSS Beginner

Hi all,

This is also my first post (just joined this week – Hello!).  

I would also really like to buy an old W-Class tram.  Where is the best place (website, newspaper, etc) to keep an eye out for W-Classes that come up for sale?  I don’t need one that runs, just one that is complete in appearance.  

It’s so sad there are many of them wasting away in storage when I could give one a loving home!  Very Happy

Any leads, tips, hints very much appreciated.  Thanks team!!
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Please read the posts above.  They do not come up for sale.  The only chance would be if an already-preserved one were to be sold on in which case there is no telling where it might be advertised.
  TTSS Beginner

Hi again,

Thanks for the reply, I had read the posts above, I just thought someone out there might have a website (or a tram for sale!) etc that I should particularly keep my eye on!  Shocked

I will just have to keep on looking!  If anyone does hear of a sale of a w-class please let me know!

Thanks guys.
  penov Chief Commissioner

Location: By the shore of Bass Strait.
Just a comment by an 86 year old who can still remember going to work in  the city by tram from Glen Iris every day. We originally travelled on some of the 406 W2 class which were harsh riding and very noisy.

When the W3s came out, Malvern depot had the last three - 667, 668 and 669. These had larger wheels which meant that the footboard was higher off the ground than the W2's so women wearing below- the- knees skirts had trouble climbing aboard these vehicles, but for us males they were streets above the W2s - much less noisy, and more speedy. They still had wooden seats. The five of the W4 class were really luxurious by standards of the 1930s. Numbered 670 to 674 they had upholstered seats in the non smoking saloons fore and aft of the centre smoking compartment and entrances.

By 1935, conversion of the Elizabeth st lines from cable trams brought the first of the W5 class - very similar to the W4's although in later years they became the SW5 as they were fitted with sliding doors operated by the driver.

Later still there were some W6 class in use and more came in the 1950s when the double deck buses which had replaced the last cable trams to Northcote in 1940 had fallen apart by 1950 due to running over all the cobblestones on Rucker's Hill on every trip.

These were replaced by single deck buses until the Northcote and Nicholson Street lines were converted to tram lines by 1956 with the W7  type which had the latest technology such as resilient wheels, buzzers instead of bells and full upholstered seats throughout the tram.

I hated the Z class when they arrived in the 1970s, All enclosed, they were very hot to travel in especially in the summer. Bring back the W3's, I think they were the best of the lot for riding, but give them padded seats.
  xxxxlbear Token Booking Clerk

Location: Geelong
Just a comment by an 86 year old who can still remember going to work in  the city by tram from Glen Iris every day. We originally travelled on some of the 406 W2 class which were harsh riding and very noisy.

When the W3s came out, Malvern depot had the last three - 667, 668 and 669. These had larger wheels which meant that the footboard was higher off the ground than the W2's so women wearing below- the- knees skirts had trouble climbing aboard these vehicles, but for us males they were streets above the W2s - much less noisy, and more speedy. They still had wooden seats. The five of the W4 class were really luxurious by standards of the 1930s. Numbered 670 to 674 they had upholstered seats in the non smoking saloons fore and aft of the centre smoking compartment and entrances.

By 1935, conversion of the Elizabeth st lines from cable trams brought the first of the W5 class - very similar to the W4's although in later years they became the SW5 as they were fitted with sliding doors operated by the driver.

Later still there were some W6 class in use and more came in the 1950s when the double deck buses which had replaced the last cable trams to Northcote in 1940 had fallen apart by 1950 due to running over all the cobblestones on Rucker's Hill on every trip.

These were replaced by single deck buses until the Northcote and Nicholson Street lines were converted to tram lines by 1956 with the W7  type which had the latest technology such as resilient wheels, buzzers instead of bells and full upholstered seats throughout the tram.

I hated the Z class when they arrived in the 1970s, All enclosed, they were very hot to travel in especially in the summer. Bring back the W3's, I think they were the best of the lot for riding, but give them padded seats.
"penov"
Totally off topic, but the vinyl seats on those new fangled Z class trams were lovely on a hot Melbourne day, and if one boarded already hot and sweaty.....
  Bing2 Beginner

Hi there, I,m a new member and just read this thread

I have a w class tram originaly from Ballarat I believe, it is in good condition partly restored and would be interested in selling it.
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
The National Trust is a community organisation. Its listings have no legal power whatsoever. If somebody thinks there is some legal hold on the cars they need to look at the Victorian state heritage legislation. Last I knew, movable heritage was not subject to listing by the State Heritage body in Victoria (but that may have changed?). The only effect complementary Commonwealth legislation might have is to control (but not necessarily prevent) the export of the cars outside Australia but does not control their movement within Australia - and only if they are listed under state or federal heritage legislation.

Edit: I did a bit of looking up in the Victorian (state) heritage register and the only tram listed there is electric tram no. 13. The W class are only listed by the National Trust. The state heritage register does now include movable heritage - but not the W class.
  Quambatook Junior Train Controller

Hi there, I,m a new member and just read this thread

I have a w class tram originaly from Ballarat I believe, it is in good condition partly restored and would be interested in selling it.
"Bing2"



Are you able to supply some pictures ? 

To other enthusiasts out there, remember the costs to be added include a crane to lift around  20 tonnes (presuming it comes with bogies) at its site and your location and a suitable low-slung over-dimensional truck!!!
  Bing2 Beginner

Hi there, I,m a new member and just read this thread

I have a w class tram originaly from Ballarat I believe, it is in good condition partly restored and would be interested in selling it.
"Bing2"



Are you able to supply some pictures ? 

To other enthusiasts out there, remember the costs to be added include a crane to lift around  20 tonnes (presuming it comes with bogies) at its site and your location and a suitable low-slung over-dimensional truck!!!
"Quambatook"



Hi, no bogies just chassis but still heavy but I imagine it could be placed or winched up on a suitable sized/tilt tray truck and off you go, also its on a farm so easier access.

try to get some pics soon
  Quambatook Junior Train Controller

Hi there, I,m a new member and just read this thread

I have a w class tram originaly from Ballarat I believe, it is in good condition partly restored and would be interested in selling it.
"Bing2"



Are you able to supply some pictures ? 

To other enthusiasts out there, remember the costs to be added include a crane to lift around  20 tonnes (presuming it comes with bogies) at its site and your location and a suitable low-slung over-dimensional truck!!!
"Quambatook"



Hi, no bogies just chassis but still heavy but I imagine it could be placed or winched up on a suitable sized/tilt tray truck and off you go, also its on a farm so easier access.

try to get some pics soon
"Bing2"


Thanks Bing2.
Check your PM.
  Adele13 Beginner

Hi there, I,m a new member and just read this thread

I have a w class tram originaly from Ballarat I believe, it is in good condition partly restored and would be interested in selling it.
"Bing2"


Hello Bing2, I am very interested in your Tram for sale, please check your PM messages for contact details. Thanks heaps, really look forward to your reply - Del Smile
  7006 Locomotive Driver

Unused W class trams are kept at Newport Workshops. They are under an order from the National Trust and have been gathering dust and bird guano for many years in East Block, I believe. The fleet stored there is often raided for spare parts to keep the existing fleet in operation - most of the bodies are age-damaged on frames which would probably not be allowed on any system. They've been heritage-listed en masse and prevented from going outside Victoria. So no trams to Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth museums. Bylands, Bendigo and Ballarat have all the Ws they want. It is not known if they are available for purchase; about 8 years ago the asking price was around $5600 - where Z class trams have been (or currently available for purchase) around the $8000 mark - however, these are not any reliable benchmark figures. At this point in time, basically, the W class trams are trapped for all eternity in Newport Workshops until another place to store them is found. Australian Train Movers had the contract for disposal of the superseded Z class retired trams. See http://www.a-tm.com.au/saletram.html A full list of stored trams (168) is available on Vicsig Our member Gwiwer may have more accurate background and information...
"574M"



The ones at Glenreagh if not removed I hear are to be scrapped. The scrap company has already provide a quote?  
  LamontCranston Chief Commissioner

Whats happened to the six that ran on the Seattle Waterfront Streetcar since it got closed down?

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