Colonial Tramcar Restaurant
The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant Company Limited was formed in 1981 to operate restaurant trams, with 1927 W2 class tram number 442 acquired for conversion after 55 years of MMTB service. Work commenced in 1982 at the Preston Workshops, with the drop centre floor raised to give a level floor throughout, and a single entry door provided on one side of the tram. Two saloons were provided either side of a central kitchen and washroom, one saloon seating 12 while the other seats 24 patrons.
The service started in August 1983 with the single tram, as amendments were required to the Liquor Licence Act to allow for the service of alcohol on a mobile restaurant. The driver and conductor were provided by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (then operator of the tramway network) while onboard staff are Colonial Tramcar Restaurant employees. Two 1948 SW6 class trams were later added to the fleet, and in 2006 the W2 was retired and replaced with a third SW6 class tram. All have distinctive burgundy livery, and can seat 36 passengers each.
The restaurant, which has one lunch and two dinner sittings each day, advises booking well in advance. The trams are boarded from a stop near the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre. They then run on selected standard tram routes through the city and some nearby inner suburbs, returning to their origin. The ride in the restaurant tram is generally quite steady. Food is precooked in a conventional restaurant with final heating and serving carried out on the tram. The menu provides a limited choice, as does the wine list. However, unlimited alcohol is included in the fixed, prepaid meal price.
On 11 August 2012 30 diners and 3 staff had to be evacuated from the tramcar after it caught fire in East Melbourne. It is believed the fire was caused by an electrical fault.
- Spårakoff – tram converted to a bar in Helsinki
- Fondue-Tram in Zürich
- Silver Star Cafe – dinner-parlour and observation car converted to a restaurant in Port Hedland
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