M&MTB Q No 15W
This tram was built as a Q class No 198 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.
They 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, including No 198, 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.
One of the features of this conversion is that only the right hand rail has sanding equipment, as the sandboxes for the left hand side of the car were removed when the doorways were cut through the driver's bulkheads.
During its service as a passenger car, it was allocated to South Melbourne (Hanna Street) and Glenhuntly Depots.
After withdrawal of all night services in 1957, No 198 was stored until the following year, when it was converted for use as a locomotive for hauling track welding equipment. In 1959 it was further modified to the form of an open side freight car, primarily for the transport of sleepers and other equipment, being renumbered as No 15. It was also used as the locomotive for hauling Ballast Trailer No 24, and in 1966-7 to transport palletised loads of brake shoes to and from depots during the changeover from cast iron to Ferodo brake shoes. In 1975 it was fitted with a light capacity job crane for moving machinery and other equipment into areas of depots inaccessible to other forms of transport, and renumbered as No 15W.
It was withdrawn from service in 1986 and purchased by the TMSV. It is intended to retain this tramcar in its final condition, as it is primarily used at Bylands for the purpose of track maintenance and construction.
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.