Trams in Ballarat
|Ballarat Tram No.26 in the Wendouree Depot|
|Locale||Ballarat, Victoria, Australia|
Trams have operated in Ballarat since 1887 and continue to operate today as a tourist attraction.
At its peak in 1937, Ballarat's tramway network was the largest operating outside of an Australian capital city.
The majority of the network was closed and replaced with buses on 19 September 1971 after which the Ballarat Tramway Museum preserved a single electrified track along Wendouree Parade at Lake Wendouree to operate a tourist service. From its depot adjacent to the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, the museum operates its historic collection of electric trams from around Australia, including some that were operated on the original Ballarat system.
- 1 1880s: Origins and the Horse Drawn Tramway
- 2 1900s: Electrified Network
- 3 1930s: The SECV Era
- 4 1970s: Closure and Preservation
- 5 Revival Proposals
- 6 Historic Extent of the Network
- 7 Surviving trams
- 8 Cycling Controversy
- 9 See also
- 10 References
1880s: Origins and the Horse Drawn Tramway
In 1886, the City of Ballarat called for tenders in 1886 to operate a tramway in the city. The successful tenderer was Mr. Thompson, of Adelaide who proposed a horse drawn system. He was granted a 30-year licence for the sum of £1575 per annum, after which the system would be handed to the council. Provision was to be made in future for the rolling stock being powered by other means.
Thompson and business partner Moore created the Ballarat Tramway Company which built and promoted the tramway. The first line was opened at a banquet in the Botanical Gardens on 26 December 1887. The six mile (9.7 km) line ran from Sturt Street to the gardens and around Lake Wendouree. The rolling stock consisted of double-decker trams built in Adelaide, each drawn by multiple horses. The company constructed and operated a maintenance facility north of the gardens.
The tramway was immediately popular and it was not long before work began on the first proposed extensions which were a long southern branch line to the town of Sebastopol via Skipton Street Redan and Albert Street, and two northern branch lines to service the city's suburbs along Drummond Street North and Soldiers Hill.
1900s: Electrified Network
In November 1900, the Ballarat City Council gave permission to the British Insulated Wire Company Limited to build an electric tram network. This building was done by the Electric Supply Company of Victoria.:13. A bluestone power station at the corner of Ripon Street and Wendouree Parade in 1901 was built to provide a primary supply. This company took over the running of the horse trams in December 1902. Work on the electric network began in November 1904 and the first electric trams went into service on 18 August 1905.:15 The whole tramway was electrified and the rolling stock was replaced by electric trams operated by the Electric Supply Company of Victoria. The last horse tram ran in August 1913 on the Sebastopol line which was officially opened as an electric tramway on 14 August 1913.:16
1930s: The SECV Era
Despite strong patronage the system posted its first significant loss in 1937, £6013. At the time, the Ballarat network was one of the largest such systems in Australia, behind that of Sydney (181 miles (291 km)), Brisbane (65 miles (105 km)), Melbourne (64 miles (103 km)), Perth (57 miles (92 km)), Adelaide (35 miles (56 km)) and Hobart (18 miles (29 km)), but larger than that of Newcastle, Launceston (11.3 miles (18.2 km)), Geelong (11 miles (18 km)) and Bendigo (8.1 miles (13.0 km)).
1970s: Closure and Preservation
In 1971 the state government announced that the tramway system would be closed and replaced by buses and in September 1971, a large contingent of the Ballarat population turned out to farewell the trams and the government systematically shut down the network.
In May 1971 the Lake Wendouree Tramway Museum Committee began negotiating with the SECV to continue to maintain a section of track.:41 The Ballarat Tramway Preservation Society was also formed in 1971 to start, and run, an authentic tramway.:44
The Ballarat Tramway Preservation Society's original plan was to keep all the tramway that ran around the shores of Lake Wendouree. However after discussions with the SEC and the City of Ballarat, only the section of track that was in the Botanical Gardens was kept.
The first trip on the museum's tramway was in December 1974, and the track was officially opened on 1 February 1975.:48 The first tram to run was Ballarat No. 40, which had been the last tram to run on the SEC network.:14
Since the 1990s proposals have been put to the City of Ballarat to reinstate sections of the network. Many of these focus on trams as a major tourist transport facility and tourist attraction. Others support a return of trams as a viable component of the Ballarat public transport system. Proposed destinations include Ballarat railway station, Sovereign Hill, Lake Wendouree loop, Bridge Mall and Sturt Street.
In 2001 there was a strong push to reinstate a tram system. By mid-2001, a vocal lobby for a tourist route through the CBD had gained the support of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australian Hotels Association and the Ballarat operations of transport manufacturer Alstom. Financial assessments completed in 2002 deemed the $20 million project viable with a projected profit of $150,000 per annum, though dependent on a grant from the state and Commonwealth. Public support for it was also high. The chosen route would have run from Ballarat Railway station at Doveton Crescent, along Lydiard Street, down Mair Street, Peel Street, through the Llanberris reserve to Sovereign Hill and the Gold Museum. Ballarat City Council voted down the proposal in 2002, stating that the idea would not be reconsidered for at least a decade.
Submissions relating to the reinstatement of trams along Sturt Street during the City of Ballarat's CBD Strategy consultation in 2009. The project had been costed at $70 million and deemed as too expensive and inflexible for the local council to maintain in the final report.
The Sturt Street route proposal was dismissed by Ballarat MP and Regional Australia Minister Catherine King in the lead up to the Australian federal election, 2013, claiming that at a cost of $90 million, the project would be too expensive, indicating instead a preference to invest in local sporting facilities. 
Historic Extent of the Network
|Size of Network by year|
|1887||6 miles (9.7 km)|
|1934||10 miles (16 km)|
|1936||15.1 miles (24.3 km)|
|1975||0.85 miles (1.37 km):56|
At its peak, the Ballarat network included seven main routes some of which shared the same sections of track:
- Victoria Street
- Mount Pleasant
- Drummond Street
- Sturt Street West
- Lydiard Street
- View Point
The operation was mostly running recycled rolling stock from both Adelaide and Melbourne with a wide variety of tram models in service.
There are a number of trams which operated on the Ballarat tramways which have survived, and some are still in service.
Ballarat Tramway Company
Operated 18 horse trams in Ballarat. After the introduction of electric trams some horse trams were used as trailers and towed behind the electric trams. Tram 1 was used by the company to transport the crew's bicycles between the depot and the main terminus. It was then sold for use as a backyard shed. It was later rediscovered and returned to the Museum where it was extensively restored.
- Horse tram No.1 (1887) – in service Ballarat Tramway Museum (BTM)
Electric Supply Company
Operated 23 trams, including some that had been converted from old Sydney cable trams.
- Number 12 (1892) – BTM being restored
- Number 22 (1913) – BTM being restored
- Number 21 (1913) – BTM in storage in very poor condition.
- Number 23 – (1913) – converted as scrubber 1934, static display TMSV
The SECV purchased a large number of old trams from Melbourne, Port Adelaide, and Adelaide, which were then used in Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat. Tram No. 37 was used in Melbourne, Geelong, and Bendigo before being moved to Ballarat in 1960. :133
- Number 11 (1915) – BTM in storage
- Number 12 (1915) – in service South Pacific Electric Railway (SPER), Sydney, New South Wales
- Number 13 (1915) – in service BTM
- Number 14 (1915) – in service BTM
- Number 17 (1915) – in service Tramway Museum Society of Victoria (TMSV), at Bylands, Victoria 
- Number 18 (1913) – in service BTM
- Number 19 (1915) – in service Bendigo Trust (BT)
- Number 21 (1909) – in service Australian Electric Transport Museum, Adelaide, South Australia (AETM)
- Number 25 (1916) – in service, BT
- Number 26 (1916) – in service BTM
- Number 27 (1916) – in service BTM
- Number 28 (1916) – in service BTM
- Number 30 (1917) – damaged in a fire, Oregon, USA.
- Number 31 (1917) – in service Perth Electric Tramway Museum at Whiteman Park, Western Australia. (PETS)
- Number 32 (1917) – BTM in storage
- Number 33 (1917) – in service BTM
- Number 34 (1917) – in service AETM
- Number 35 (1916) – BTM, used for spare parts.
- Number 36 (1917) – in service TMSV
- Number 37 (1916) – in service SPER.
- Number 38 (1914) – in service BTM
- Number 39 (1914) – BTM, body used as static display area.
- Number 40 (1913) – in service BTM
- Number 41 (1914) – static, used as a restaurant, Horsham, Victoria.
- Number 42 (1914) – static display TMSV
- Number 43 (1914) – static display TMSV
Ballarat Tramway Museum
As well as its collection of original Ballarat trams, the Ballarat Tramway Museum also has several old Melbourne W class trams.
- No. 661 W3 class (c.1932) – in service BTM
- No. 864 SW6 class (1940) – in service BTM
- No. 924 SW6 class (1946) – BTM in storage
- No. 998 W6 class (1944) – BTM in storage
A section of track at Wendouree Parade has caused controversy since 2011 due to a notorious blackspot for cyclists—a curved track intersection branching from the Tramway Museum depot. Several local cyclists injured due to bicycle wheels slipping on the track have called for a solution. Over $15000 was been spent by the City of Ballarat in 2011 investigating solutions with limited success.
- pg. 7. Examiner. Tuesday 10 August 1937
- Margaret Burin (2011-09-06). "End of the line: 40 years since No.40's last tram route". ABC Ballarat. Retrieved 2012-08-09.
- pg. 4. Camperdown Chronicle. Saturday 22 May 1886
- pg. 9. The Argus. Thursday 22 December 1887
- Scott, William F. (2008). Last tram at 11: Tramways of Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong. Clunes, Victoria: Full Parallel Productions. ISBN 9780646489353.
- Balderstone, Julia (1993-02-20). "SEC offers historic lake property for sale". The Courier.
- Horse Trams of Ballarat Jack, W. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, May, 1942 pp57-59
- Ballarat and District Tramways Problem. The Argus. Tuesday 20 February 1934 p 3
- pg 5. "Ballarat and District: Tramway Extension". The Argus. Friday 3 July 1936
- Moving Crowds: Part that tram plays. Western Mail. Thursday 2 December 1937 p 17
- Scott, William F. (1993). Ballarat's heritage tramway: The Story of the Ballarat Tramways and the Ballarat Tramway Preservation Society. Ballarat, Victoria: Ballarat Tramways Preservation Society Ltd. ISBN 0 9591918 1 X.
- Fiamengo, Mariza (2001-05-01). "Tram plans on track". The Courier. Retrieved 2013-11-22.
- Danaher, Carla (2001-05-02). "Chamber of Commerce backs tram plan". The Courier. Retrieved 2013-11-22.
- Barlow, Leonie (2002-06-25). "Ballarat's hotels support push to bring back trams". The Courier. Retrieved 2013-11-22.
- Easton, Alex (2002), Project viable, report finds, retrieved 2013-11-22
- Best, Catherine (2002), Support for Tram Plan, retrieved 2013-11-22
- Molloy, Andrew (2002), No trams for at least a decade, retrieved 2013-11-22
- pg. 147. Ballarat CBD Strategy 2012 – Appendix A – Other Ideas Considered.
- Cowie, Tom (2013), Ballarat tram return could cost $90 million, retrieved 2013-09-15
- BALLARAT AND DISTRICT Tramways Problem. pg 3. Tuesday 20 February 1934 p 3
- pg. 8. The Argus Friday 7 August 1936 Supplement
- Bradley, Alan (2005). The Golden City and its Tramways: Ballarat's tramway era. Ballarat, Victoria: Ballarat Tramway Museum Inc. ISBN 0959191828.
- "VICSIG – Trams, Ballarat 17". vicsig.net. 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- "VICSIG – Trams, Ballarat 41". vicsig.net. 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- Ballarat tram tracks: council to trial solutions. The Courier. 23 Mar 2011