Tram 40 takes a run back to Ballarat's glory days of rail

Last run: Tram 40 lit up for a recreation of the last tram service in Ballarat. The tram is one of Ballarat's older models, having been built in 1913 for Melbourne services. Picture: Neil Para.

Last run: Tram 40 lit up for a recreation of the last tram service in Ballarat. The tram is one of Ballarat's older models, having been built in 1913 for Melbourne services. Picture: Neil Para.

A recreation of the last tram ride in Ballarat took place on Monday night, as volunteers at the Tramway Museum took Tram 40 on an evening run.

Tram 40 was the last tram to carry passengers through Ballarat’s streets on September 19, 1971, after the State Electricity Commission and the Ballarat Council decided the services were no longer viable and were to be replaced with buses.

Around 5000 people took part in the farewell ceremonies for the Ballarat service in 1971.

The mayors of Ballarat and Sebastopol drove the trams, accompanied by the Ballarat Highland Pipe Band.

More than 200 people crammed into Tram 40 in Sebastopol as drivers Lou Walker and Herb Knight took the tram back to the depot for the last time.

While the numbers weren't as great as on a chilly Monday night 45 years on, those who attended were treated to band music and an escort marching the tram out of the depot into the inky night.

According to information supplied by the museum, Tram 40 is one of Ballarat’s older trams, built by Duncan and Fraser in 1913. First operated in Melbourne by the Prahran and Malvern Tramway Trust, the tram was moved to Ballarat in 1951 where it completed over 600,000 km driving through the city streets.

The tram is a bogie drop end and open centre combination, 13.5 metres long, powered by two 65hp DC motors. While it did carry 200 people on the last night, the tram is designed to normally carry 44 passengers.

The tram has been restored and maintained by volunteers at the Ballarat Tramway Museum.