M&MTB W2 No 646
This is an example of the classic Melbourne W2 class tram, entering service in 1930 after being constructed at the M&MTB Preston Workshops. It was part of the last W2 order, the design being supplanted by the all-steel chassis of the W3 class.
No 646 was allocated to Preston (Thornbury) Depot, and remained there until the opening of the new Preston Depot in 1955, where it stayed until withdrawal from service. Very few modifications were made to it during its life the major ones being replacement of full width anti-climber bumpers with angle iron bumpers, and the addition of marker lights in the early 1970s.
This tram was the last W2 in regular passenger service, running a City-LaTrobe Street to Bundoora service on 10 December 1988, ending over 60 years of continuous service by W2 class trams in Melbourne. It was then allocated to the Heritage Fleet. However, this tram was subsequently used on several occasions for regular passenger service during periods of rolling stock shortages, along with other Heritage Fleet cars.
Unusually, 646 re-entered normal passenger service from South Melbourne Depot between November 1990 and September 1992, when it was returned to storage.
With the redevelopment of Hawthorn Depot as a combination of condominiums and tram museum, No 646 was stored in the plate shop in Preston Workshops. It was declared surplus to Heritage Fleet requirements in September 2004, and placed on loan to the TMSV. It arrived at the TMSVs Bylands museum on 8 March 2005.
Content copyright © Russell Jones 2001-5. Reproduced with permission.