Category Archives: Tramways

Site update – Tram pictures update – A2 Class edition

I’ve updated the Melbourne A2 class page with additional photos of the Southbank assigned units.

I’ll continue to update photos as I find or take them.

Site Update – The end of a work era

Since 1982 I have worked in the Telecommunications and Information Technology industry. I’ve worked as a technician, technical officer, sales representative, Helpdesk staffer, IT Manager and for the last 10 years as a specialist and consultant service delivery manager. That all comes to a close today. I move on to a new career in the public transit industry as a tram driver. In some ways I’m very sad to leave behind the people and the skills I’ve learned and nurtured for the greatest part of my working life.

The IT life is not all that glorious though. I wont miss the constant stress and never-ending drive needed to keep up and get ahead of the game. The incredibly thankless tasks that you get to do all day, and often part of the night. Not for IT staff is overtime, shift penalties, and Rostered Days off. Just that never-ending all hands to the pump work ethic, and hopefully no heart attack.

Today is a point from which to look forward, not backward. Thus begins the next 15 years of my work life. This is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a boy after I rode the footplate of a steam locomotive, my Uncle Col Casbolt in charge, in Sydney’s western suburbs.

NSW 32 Class Locomotive 3325 has just arrived at Richmond (27 January 1968) –
Image courtesy of ARHS NSW – click image for page

My uncle had been a suburban train driver in the Sydney suburban network for a while then. He made the move from steam to the Sparks (EMUs as shown below) not long after this ride in the southern hemisphere’s spring of 1968 as best I can recall. (I was only 4, almost 5, at the time and hadn’t started school yet!)

NSW ‘Red Rattler’ sets F1 and W3 sit quietly in the old sheds at Redfern (image courtesy of Flying_Donkey@Flickr)

While this week has been a time of a lot of last moments, from this Friday forward I begin a life of firsts for the first time in a long time.

A Yarra Trams E Class Tram # 6015 on the Route 96 @ St Kilda – one of the routes I hope to be driving in 2017-18

I’m looking forward to the hard work and study required to be a fully competent tram driver on our network. And looking forward to becoming a part of the fabric of the city’s public transit network.

W8 Class No. 1010 (built 1955) and rebuilt in 2015-16 at Bendigo Tramway Museum on the City Circle route

I am sure you’ve noticed the volume of posts has dropped away over the last 4 months,  fear not. I’ve not been publishing much yet have been busy working away on a number of smaller projects and layout designs and expect to start building a small switching layout for my son in August. So I hope you can join me in the journey for that project.

While I’ll be working odd hours, studying hard and hoping to pass all of my written and driving exams with flying colours, I do expect to have a little more time to post on the HVL. And of course I expect to have a lot more pictures of trams, with views that I’ve never been able to get before. Looking forward to sharing. Thanks for reading a long and sharing the journey.


Site seeing – July 26

It’s a relatively quiet Sunday in Ballarat. After a wild night of gale force winds and driving rain, it’s been a quiet Sunday morning. Yesterday Mrs HVL and I headed into Melbourne to get away from town for the day. The Hawthorn Tramway Museum in Melbourne had an open day and we took the opportunity to ride public transport all the way to get there.

Site 1: The Melbourne Tram Museum – Hawthorn [Link Here –>]

Located at the junction of Routes 70 & 75 in Melbourne’s eastern suburb Hawthorn the Melbourne Tram Museum is a volunteer-based non-profit group composed of representatives from VicTrack, Heritage Victoria, honorary appointees with recognised expertise in tramway history and preservation, and representatives of the volunteer workers.

We visited as part of the Open House Melbourne. There are some outstanding examples of trams. Here are a selection of the photos taken on the day.

Why Z1 class tram #81 was highlighted

This tram represented the beginning of the renewal of Melbourne’s tramway system beginning in 1975, ending two decades of neglect by the Liberal State Government

It also signals the beginning of ongoing Federal intervention in the peacetime development of Australia’s urban infrastructure, which had previously been an entirely State government function. The Z class tram program was one of the enduring fruits of this fundamental shift in political responsibilities.

Number 81 was the first Z1 class tram to be built (the previous 80 trams of the Z class order were completed to a different standard, and upgraded later to the Z1 design).

In its new identity as ‘Karachi W11’, Z1 81 was used on Melbourne’s City Circle route for the duration of the Commonwealth Games, over the period 14-26 March 2006. The cultural experience for tram passengers was intensified by Bhangra and Pakistani music playing in the background. Special event conductors handed out souvenir tickets featuring the imagery and Urdu poetry displays typical of public transport tickets in Karachi.

After the end of the Games, Z1 81 was placed into storage, but was returned to limited service on the City Circle route on Friday evenings, from 3 November 2006 until 23 March 2007, as part of the City of Melbourne Living Arts program. Performances were conducted on its journey by artists, musicians and dancers during the sponsored program.

On completion of the season, Z1 81 was returned to storage, where it remained until it was placed into the collection of the Melbourne Tram Museum @ Hawthorn Depot on 19 June 2015.

You can find out more about this spectacularly beautiful tram by following the links in the resources section below.


  1. Bell Cord  – Journal of the Friends of Hawthorn Tram Depot – Issue #28 – discusses the history and transformation of Z1 Class tram #81. A really great article about this car and it’s history and a lot of political history on the Melbourne Tramways that as an import I did not know about or understand.
  2. Yarra Trams Z1 Class No 81 ‘Karachi W11’


Site Seeing – February 01

I live very close to Melbourne in Victoria – home of the worlds largest urban tramway network in the world. The entire network covers 250 kilometres of track; has 493 trams, 25 routes, and 1,763 tram stops. Melbourne’s tram network is larger than the largest networks in Europe (admittedly not by much) such as those in St. Petersburg (240 km), Berlin (190 km), Moscow (181 km) and Vienna (172 km). What does all of this have to do with today’s site seeing post? Funny you should ask that question.

Site 1: Victoria Park

The first site I wanted to mention is Victoria Street (Link here). This great tramway layout has visited several of the model shows in my region and is a well thought out and small layout. Somewhere in my large collection of digital photos I have some of the layout. When I can find them I’ll post them up.

Site 2: Proto: 87 stores

If you’ve decided to model a tramway, you can use the track and switch components found on this page (Link Here) to make all that lovely street trackage. Now this is not just for tramways, any street railway can be modelled using these components. Very nice stuff.

Overcast and cool in Ballarat today. Hope you are having a great day where you are.