W Class Trams

The Trust is advocating for the retention of Melbourne’s iconic W Class trams.

The Trust is calling on the State Government to implement a moratorium on the disposal of W Class trams until a plan can be developed to inform decisions about reuse. To give Melbourne’s famous heritage trams a future, the Trust supports the retention of W Class trams to service dedicated tourism routes.  In particular, the Trust is advocating to:

  • Implement a moratorium on the disposal of W Class trams no longer in service
  • Conduct an audit of heritage trams held by Public Transport Victoria and VicTrack
  • Set up a committee to oversee the reuse of these trams with appropriate Terms of Reference

10-Point Plan

The Trust is using the following plan to guide our campaign:

  1. Establishment of a Ministerial W Class Steering Committee to determine what remaining stock is potentially operational and should be retained and reserved for future use and to develop a policy and advise on proposals for said operational fleet.
  2. All operational Ws at the Newport depot be secured from public access and stored undercover.
  3. All operational W’s retained and reserved for future tourism, arts and entertainment purposes.
  4. No operational Ws to be given away or sold for static purposes.
  5. Inventory of all long-term stored Ws inside the Newport depot to determine those that are suitable for static use, and develop a policy regarding suitable uses before any further sale or giving away.
  6. Essential mechanical and aesthetic spare parts removed from other non-useable Ws and stored for future spare parts to service the reserved fleet.
  7. All paintwork, external appearance, and classic internal features to be retained on all Ws where possible, with upgrades limited to logistics to allow safe and efficient running.
  8. An independent operator for the W trams be established to maintain and operate a W Class tourism service, with depot access and use of existing running sheds to maintain the fleet.
  9. The Grand Circle line or similar to be developed as a dedicated tourism and arts and entertainment route for Ws.
  10. The restoration of two trams in Bendigo workshops (as funded by the former government) to be completed

It is hoped that these steps will allow for the sympathetic and practical retention of this Melbourne icon.  For further information on this campaign head to the Trust Advocate blog.



The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) has been campaigning for their preservation of Melbourne’s iconic W Class trams for more than 25 years.

The Ws were first introduced to the network in 1923 with more than 750 built and progressively added to the city’s tramway system until 1956. In 1990 the entire W Class fleet was classified by the National Trust and a commitment was secured from the Kirner Labor Government to retain 110 trams. Following pressure from the National Trust, in 1993, the Kennett Liberal Government recommitted to keeping 53 Ws on the network and to refrain from selling the ‘surplus’ to overseas tourist routes (approx. 150 trams). As part of an upgrade in 2000, all of the W Class trams were taken off the tracks and refitted with an entirely new braking system to improve safety. Following further pressure from the National Trust, the Ws were returned to the network with the City Circle trams recommencing in 2002. There are currently 12 Ws operating this service. As part of our ongoing campaign, in 2004, the Trust proposed a ‘Grand Circle’ to provide a route to popular tourist destinations that would complement the City Circle. Although this vision has yet to eventuate, the campaign continues to ensure the Ws remain as an operational heritage asset for all Victorians.

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