Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ballarat Trams

December 1887 saw the birth of the horse-drawn tramway in Ballarat, a new form of public transport that was to garner many a fan from the public throughout it's existence until 1902, owned and operated by the Ballarat Tramways Company Ltd .

The horse trams were double-decker models that could park 44 bums on seats with 150 horses to haul the favoured conveyance around the Ballarat streets.

By 1902 ownership of the tram company, like that of the Bendigo Tramway Company, passed into the hands of the Electric Supply Company of Victoria.
Again like the Bendigo steam trams, the Electric Supply Company electrified the Ballarat tram lines and extended the track network.

When the SEC took over the network it was in poor condition and many pennies were spent on upgrading a worn-out system with a minor extension of the Lydiard Street North route.

For some reason there were only 2 years of profit from the Ballarat tramways under 37 years of ownership by the SEC which, again like the sister tramway in Bendigo, petitioned several times to close the lines until the Victorian Govt voted in it's favour in 1970.

The last day had large crowds of people, a brass band and the local radio station witness the end of an era. The very last tram carried over 200 passengers to Sturt St where they exchanged their seats for tramway men who travelled, for the last time, to the depot.

The Ballarat Tramway Museum came into being shortly before the closure of the tram lines, like it's Bendigo counterpart, to preserve some of the stock and track, and to keep some of the trams working as a tourist tramway.

Map courtesy of Google and research courtesy of Andrew.


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