The two B1 class trams were built as prototype light rail vehicles built by Comeng in 1984 and 1985 for the St Kilda and Port Melbourne light rail conversion projects. Both B1s were fitted with air compressors and air brakes (similar to the W class). As built they were supplied with both trolley poles and a pantograph. They were also built with dual-height steps to allow for level boarding at railway platforms and street level. Both units had these features removed when low floor stops were built next to the railway platforms. Their interiors were very close to the B2 class, however, they had no air conditioning, had opening windows (as in the A1 and A2 class trams) and different sun shades which look pretty stylish in the flesh.
Tram B1 #2001 was delivered on the 7th of February 1984; entering service on 19 December of that year. Tram B1 #2002 entered service on 17 December 1985. By 2016 both B1 Class trams were meant to have been withdrawn. As of August 2016. B1 2001 remained in service while B1 2002 was in parts and in long-term storage.
On November 12, 2017 #2001 took a final run around Melbourne including many destinations where a B1 tram never went while in operation. These included Box Hill and St Kilda.
Both class members are now in long-term storage. #2001 was given an overhaul prior to the last day out. It’s future appears to be bright with conservation in the offing. However, I do not know what or where it will be going in the future.
Brendan Schonfelder (Schony747 on YouTube) has posted the following videos of the day.
- B1 tram on the move at Preston Workshops
- B1 tram the last ever car out
- B1 tram 2001 the final run home