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 Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board service. Conversion work commenced in 1982 at 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. It was based at the Metropolitan Transit Authority's (MTA) South Melbourne depot.
The service started on 2 November 1982 (Melbourne Cup day) 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 MTA while onboard staff are Colonial Tramcar Restaurant employees.
Two 1948 SW6 class trams, 937 and 939, were later added to the fleet in October 1992 and February 1995 respectively. With the closure of South Melbourne depot in February 1997, operation was transferred to Southbank depot. In 2006 the 442 was retired and replaced with a third SW6 class tram 938. In 2011 nos 937 and 939 were withdrawn from service and replaced with 935 and 964. 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 the Clarendon Street Junction 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.
- 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
- Hoftrammm in The Hague
- "News in Brief" Trolley Wire issue 203 December 1982 page 2
- "The City of Melbourne: Dining in Style by Tram" Trolley Wire issue 214 October 1984 pages 3-11
- John Beckhaus (1989). Australian Rail Companion. Sherborne Sutherland Publishing. ISBN 1-86275-005-X.
- "Melbourne News" Trolley Wire issue 251 November 1992 page 24
- "Melbourne Trams" Trolley Wire issue 261 May 1995 page 17
- "Melbourne Notes" Trolley Wire issue 270 August 1997 page 25
- "Restaurant tram No 442" Trolley Wire issue 304 February 2006 page 11
- Dmytryshchak, Goya (2012-08-11). "Overcooked: iconic dining tram catches alight". The Age. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
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