A collision between a car and a tram on Sunday afternoon has left Ballarat Tramway Museum members feeling dejected.
A heritage 1939 Melbourne tram decorated with hundreds of hand-made recycled plastic flowers for the Ballarat Begonia Festival was out of action on Monday after the collision which extensively damaged its undercarriage.
The damage is devastating to hundreds of volunteers that worked to create thousands of flowers to decorate the tram and tramway museum volunteers who fear it may be un-repairable.
Ballarat Tramway Museum marketing manager Peter Waugh said experts would assess the damage to the tram.
"The frame is twisted and buckled," he said.
"We are getting expert opinions at the moment having engineers look underneath to see what can be fixed and if it can be fixed."
Mr Waugh said the flower tram had attracted community interest, with original hopes it would run for another three months - but now it is likely the flower tram may never run again.
"The sort of repair that is going to have to be done will mean the flowers will have to come off and we will never get them back on," he said.
"A repair could cost anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000. We don’t have the capacity for that.
"Is not like an item you can go and buy another one off the shelf. We do have other trams in storage but all of them are in need of restoration. This one was in good condition.
"It will mean we are down a tram for a long period of time."
Ballarat resident Carolyn Priddle made hundreds of flowers for the tram, a project which had a special connection to her family history.
Her mother was involved in decorating the original flower tram in 1939.
"I have photos at home of my mum on the tram. Mum’s birthday would have been yesterday so it has been really significant for me," she said.
"It is an amazing project. But it is sad seeing it couldn’t go out today. I feel as if an old friend has died."
For Ms Priddle, the flower tram was a symbol of diverse members of the community coming together to work on a special historical project.
Mr Waugh said Sunday's incident was the first 'substantial accident' in the museum's history.
"We will be talking to insurance companies. Police are involved and Transport Safety Victoria are involved in investigating the incident," he said.
The special floral tram at the Begonia Festival was hit by a car on Sunday afternoon, taking it out of action for the Begonia Parade on Monday.
A car was allegedly attempting to turn around on Wendouree Parade when the collision occurred, with the car becoming wedged between the tram and a power pole.
The tram's undercarriage was extensively damaged.
Passengers were thrown from their seats, and some required medical attention at the scene. Nobody in the car was injured.
Dozens of volunteers helped to create thousands of flowers to decorate the 1930s-era tram, a tribute to the Lucas Girls' floral trams in 1938 and '39.
It was hoped the tram would run across the entire long weekend, and potentially afterwards.
It will be put on static display for photo opportunities on Monday, but people will not be able to get on.
The Ballarat Tramway Museum's Peter Waugh said it was disappointing for the volunteers who had hoped to see the result of their work in action.
"There's a sense of bereavement," he said.
"It's beyond our resources here to repair, so it will need to go elsewhere to get fixed."
Mr Waugh added this was the most significant tram accident since the museum began in 1974.
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