TRAM Number 7 was likely still trundling the streets of Bendigo on the final days of the city’s commuter tram service in April 1972.
Forty-five years later, the 102-year-old J-Class tram returned to the streets of Bendigo once again filled to the brim with passengers.
The tram had sat dormant in the yard on Weeroona Avenue for decades before a $35,000 crowdfunding campaign helped to have it restored.
It was officially added to the city’s talking tram fleet on Saturday and departed from the Tramways to cheers and applause.
Bendigo Tramways manager Luke Jenkins said the crew was proud to have successfully completed another refurbishment project.
“Our crews take a lot of pride in their work. The special skills and craftsmanship needed to restore such a tram is clear when you look at the tram today,” he said.
It was no easy task.
Originally a volunteer job, the Tramways’ paid staff added their expertise to ensure the tram returned in perfect condition.
Below: The ribbon is cut on the restored tram (1:00-2:00 for surround view of tram)
A new steel chassis replaced the timber drop-ins, the motors and controllers were stripped back and reintegrated, and the braking system was converted.
Almost the entire tram was rebuilt, including the stripping and refurbishing of the truck.
Mr Jenkins said the scale of the task evolved over the 12 months.
“It was originally going to be a cosmetic job, but it ended up in a total rebuild,” he said.
The tram was built in Sydney in 1915 when it became Number 76 for the Prahran and Malvern Tramways Trust.
It was sold to the Electric Supply Company in the 1930s for use in Ballarat at Number 19.
In 1960, it became Number 7 in Bendigo where it completed its working life up until the closure of the commuter service 12 years later.
The restoration was modeled on its appearance after its 1960 restoration.
Below: Bendigo Tramways encourages the community to get on board with the crowdfunding
McKean McGregor Real Estate donated $6000 to the restoration, while the Bendigo Family History Group and Natural Learners Outside School Hours Club donated $2000 each.
The Rotary Club of Kangaroo Flat also donated $2000.
Donations above $500 received a drivers cabin plaque, including Rosemary Waddington who dedicated it to her father, Hugh McKenzie Harvey.
He was a tram driver in Bendigo for 40 years, and drove the last public transport service from Golden Square in 1972
“A very proud trammie!” the plaque reads.
Bendigo mayor Margaret O’Rourke cut the ribbon on the Number 7 tram before it embarked on its first trip out of the yard.
She said maintaining the city’s heritage was vital, and it was pleasing to see the community get behind the campaign to return one of its historic trams back to the tracks.