The final six unrestored W-Class trams are being removed from Melbourne’s City Circle so they can be stripped back and rebuilt for re-entry into service by 2020.
Acting Public Transport Victoria chief executive Alan Fedda said City Circle trams will operate every 30 minutes from October 15, before being progressively returned to the current 12-minute frequency as restored trams come back into service.
Six of the iconic W-Class trams have been restored since PTV’s restoration program began in 2012.
Work is currently underway on another three, and three more will soon be removed from operations for restoration.
Fedda said the trams are being stripped back to bare metal, before a major rebuild takes place to improve safety and reliability.
“These upgrades will bring the entire W-Class tram fleet up to modern safety standards and ensure they continue to be a Melbourne icon for years to come,” he said.
“When these historic trams were first introduced on the network, Melburnians paid for things with pounds and shillings and King George was Australia’s monarch.
“So, given their age, the engineers at the Bendigo Workshops are carefully bringing them into the modern age, while retaining their distinctive, historic character.”
Along with improving the safety of the fleet, the W-Class restoration program includes a reinforced driver’s cabin, new electronics and wiring, and restoring the iconic green and gold livery.
The safety upgrade program will include the trams operated by the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant.
PTV said it and Yarra Trams have been in discussions with the company that operates the restaurant trams to identify options for their continued operations.
Additional services will be added to Yarra Trams’ Route 30 along La Trobe Street on the weekend, to ensure passengers in the north of the CBD have regular tram services despite reduced frequency on the City Circle route.
PTV says a permanent boost to weekend and weekday evening services on Route 30 will be implemented in 2019.