| ||Click picture for more information on Melbourne's trams |
Photo by Clive Mottram
History [from Dave Hoadley's tram page]
"This is Melbourne's classic tram! When the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board was formed to take over the operations of the various Municipal tramway authorities, it found itself with a unified cable system, but an absolute plethora of electric tram types, which it gave letter codes from A through to V. The board decided that it was time to introduce a standard design. The new W-class design, first introduced in 1923, was an outstanding success, and has been the mainstay of the Melbourne tram system for the bulk of this century. It is a two-bogie, drop-centre design, which has had many variants over the years. The oldest W-class tram still in active service was built in around 1938."
"The W2 design was introduced in the mid 1920s, and soon the earlier W and W1 trams were converted to this design. This tram type saw service for 60 years, an astounding record. A number of W2 trams are still in scheduled service, but not in Melbourne [most are in Memphis and Seattle]. Some trams (275, 426, 432, 436, 478, 644) were converted to the SW2 (sliding doors) variant."
My LEGO version
| || My model is 60 studs long, and mostly 8 wide. Technically speaking, the running boards make it 10-wide. It has working lights and tram poles, and room for 24 passengers seated, and up to 16 more standing. I've been planning to build one for ages, but a challenge from another LEGO builder (she shall remain nameless) spurred me into action. |
"Sixty studs long? There's no way that'll handle LEGO curves!" I hear you say. Well think again my friend :) although the total length is 60 studs, the distance between the bogies is a mere 34 studs, so it easily negotiates curves. It also traverses points, missing the lever by millimetres. The big downside is the extra clearance needed on curves. And with so much overhang at the front and rear, power supply points must be at least 2 straight track sections from a curve in either direction.
| || The tram poles are manually operated, but judicious use of rubber bands and string mean they can be changed easily - changing the position of one automatically changes the other. |
I investigated trying to do this fully automatically using the direction of the motor, but 2 things stopped me:
- I couldn't find a method that worked consistently and reasonably fast, and
- I had plans to convert it to DCC, which removes the possibility of using the motor direction for switching them
Anyway, the result is (I think) a very neat system.
The tram now has DCC! See my DCC for LEGO trains page for more details.
| || I also powered the headlamps - they're both on at once, as with all my trains. I managed to hide all the wiring under the floor, so there's plenty of room for passengers! The train weight provides a way to keep the extra wiring tidy, as well as extra stability. |
| || || || The entire roof can be removed, giving easy access to the passenger compartments. There is also a conductor - as the last of the W2s were taken out of service in the mid-80s, and driver-only trams were only introduced in 1992, they always ran with conductors! And check out the driver waving to the camera.... |
More pics here.
Oh, and our government put a moratorium on the export of W class trams several years ago, so to all you Americans who think you might like to trade your dubya for ours, I say "Too late, bud!"