M&MTB Q No 199
This tram was built as Q class No 199 in 1923 by the M&MTB Holden Street Workshops. The design was a single truck straight sill closed combination car, totalling a number of 24 tramcars, although there has been discussion amongst enthusiasts for many years whether one of these tramcars was classified as a Q class or as a very similar R class. The history of this car was very similar to that of its sister car No 198, up until its withdrawal in 1957.
These cars were built as quickly and cheaply as possible in order to increase the number of electric tramcars in service. Displaced from regular service by the increasing number of W class tramcars, 20 of these cars were modified in 1936-7 for use as all night cars. This was achieved by fixing the weather blinds and barriers in a closed position, and cutting a passageway through the drivers bulkhead and cross bench seats on the end platforms.
During its life it was allocated to South Melbourne (Hanna Street), Camberwell and Essendon Depots.
In 1959 No 199 was converted for use as a special duty freight car which involved removal of sides and seats from the end compartments, later being renumbered as No 16, and later to 16W in line with all remaining works cars during 1976.
This car ran as a decorated Father Christmas tram for the Myer Emporium between 1959 and 1963 during the pre-Christmas period. It was notable for being the last M&MTB car in service to retain manual lap brakes, and for that reason was used for driver training of Ballarat Tramway Preservation Society (BTPS) volunteers In St Georges Road, Northcote. From time to time it was also used as a breakdown car.
In 1986 it was withdrawn and purchased by the TMSV. This tramcar is currently stored at North Fitzroy Depot after partial restoration by a State Government CJP scheme. It will be returned to Bylands in late 2004 and restoration will be completed in-house.
It is being taken back to its condition as an all-night tramcar between 1937 and 1939, wearing the original M&MTB chocolate livery with off-white rocker panels. Material recovered from the body of Q class car No 200 in 1967, including body panels and saloon seats, is being used in this project.
The preservation of this tramcar was due to the foresight of P.A. Hall and N. Maddock, who tirelessly lobbied the government of the day against considerable opposition to ensure its survival. Their efforts are officially commemorated in the Hall/Maddock Collection of the TMSV, of which this tramcar is a member.
Content copyright © Russell Jones 2001-5. Reproduced with permission.