The Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board (M&MTB) was a vertically integrated organisation that required many specialised skills and trades to support its operations. It employed many trade apprentices at Preston Workshops, and also took accountability for training its own tram drivers and conductors. It operated its own Driver Training School at Hawthorn Depot from 1925 until the 1990s, and in 1961 stripped down W2 class tramcar no 325, installing it in the training room at Hawthorn Depot to support the training programme. This framework tramcar is therefore an excellent example of the investment that the M&MTB made in training its employees to ensure safe and efficient operation of the Melbourne tramway system.
No 325 was constructed as one of 200 trams produced to the original W class design between 1923 and 1926. It was built by Holden Body Builders of Woodville, South Australia, and entered service on 28 February 1925. The history of this tramcar was very similar to that of its sister car W 380, and during its service it was allocated to Kew, Malvern and Camberwell Depots. Like all other W class cars, it too was converted to a W2 class car between 1928 and 1933.
However, during 1960 it suffered significant damage from a fire and was not restored to operational condition. Instead, most of the body was removed from the chassis of the car. This was disassembled and then reassembled in the driver training room at Hawthorn Depot as an operating instructional frame, being used to train drivers in the basics of tramcar operation and fault diagnosis.
After the closure of the driver training school at Hawthorn Depot during the 1990s, No 325 remained in place and is still there today. It is now a most unusual exhibit in the collection of the Melbourne Tram Museum. No 325 is owned by VicTrack on behalf of the Government and people of Victoria.
|Motors:||4 x 40hp (MV 101)|
|Truck:||M&MTB No 1|
|Passengers:||52 (seated), 93 (standing)|
|Length:||48 feet 0 inches|
|Width:||7 feet 6 inches|
Cross, N., Budd, D., and Wilson, R. (1993) Destination City (Fifth Edition), Transit Australia Publishing
Cross, N., Henderson, R. and Kings, K. (1981) Destination City (Fourth Edition), Australian Electric Traction Association
Jones, R. (2008) Fares Please! An economic history of the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board, Melbourne Tram Museum