Bendigo Tramways tasked with restoring six more W-class trams for Melbourne

A Bendigo manufacturer will today receive a boost when the state government awards it a new contract to restore more vintage trams.  

Six W-class trams bound for Melbourne’s city circle route will be brought back to life at Bendigo Tramways Depot and Workshop.

This will take to 12 the number of W-Class trams the workshop has restored to their former glory.

Each restoration, which includes the stripping down and rebuilding of the tram using rare trades, takes around 7000 hours for employees to complete.

To put a W-Class tram back on track, workers will install a new, impact-resistant driver’s cabin, remove high voltage wiring from the carriage and add electronics and wiring to meet modern performance standards. 

The tram is then painted in its iconic green and gold livery.

All restorations need to meet safety standards that did not exist when the trams were first commissioned in the early and mid-20th century. Many of the vintage coaches were withdrawn from the Melbourne network in the 1990s.  

Restoring the W-Class trams comes as the government also invests in 80 new low-floor trams, efforts by the state to not only preserve the state’s tram network heritage, but build the transport system’s future capacity, transport minister Jacinta Allan said. 

“We’re bringing these trams back to life right here in Bendigo,” Ms Allan, the Bendigo East MP, said. 

“We’re preserving the rich history of Melbourne’s trams, while we continue to support local jobs in Bendigo.”

Bendigo Tramways lays claim to the title of being the only place in the country able to bring dilapidated trams back to life.

The team’s skills have been put to use outside of Victoria, supplying parts to both small and large transport operators and museums in New Zealand, Canada, the United States and Europe.

They have also turned trams into homes and commercial kitchens. 

Chairman Wayne Gregson said last month the workshop crew “pulled out all the stops” to put trams back on track in Melbourne.