Happy New Year from (Glub) Down Under

If you’ve been following the news at all, you know that Australia is in the midst of historic flooding, following torrential rains that in turn followed an extended (and devastating) period of drought. Our hearts go out to all those affected. But the rain has also replenished reservoirs, brought salvation to farmers and ranchers, and given the country a good rinse — including its historic trams in Melbourne.< Melbourne 856 in rain 120810 Howard Clark Photo.JPG
Here, from our friend Howard Clark at the Sydney Tramway Museum, is a photo he snapped recently in Melbourne, with heritage “City Circle” tram No. 856 on the relatively new Docklands line (a little like our future E-line). The vintage 1940 tram of the SW6 class, identical (except the livery) to our 1946 model No. 916, probably hasn’t seen this much concentrated rain in her lifetime!
Speaking of No. 916, it has been in San Francisco more than a year now, but due to understaffing in Muni’s shops, they are just now able to begin needed modifications to make it operable here.  (Remember, they drive on the left Down Under, so all the door controls have to be switched, above and beyond the normal modifications needed.)  Also, though the tram was supposed to arrive in operating condition, Muni found leaking door air valves requiring replacement parts. Market Street Railway is arranging for the parts; we could really use donations of any size to help get them across the pond. You can donate here. (Click the radio button for “Acquisition and Restoration Fund.”)
And if you feel like getting really wonky about Melbourne trams, here’s your dream site.

Comments: 1

  1. It’s too bad Melbourne didn’t sign a better deal with Veolia, in order to keep more of the historic trams. Melbourne has a great transit system, and the City Loop is a nice way to get around—the cars have a recorded “tour” that points out items of interest–but as with our streetcars that take side trips out into the Avenues, it’d be nice if Melbourne would have done more to keep more old cars in service.
    The arguments you hear in their papers against them sound like a repeat of the ones San Francisco used sixty years ago; “Old, slow, noisy, drafty” And now of course the aspect of disabled access. The sort of stuff the “F” line shows you can get around.

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