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Tramway Museum, St Kilda
Logo of the Tramway Museum, St Kilda, South Australia.png
Established 1958 (1958)
Location 300–360 St Kilda Road, St Kilda, South Australia
Type Tramway museum
Collections Trams and trolleybuses made or used in South Australia
Collection size In 2019: 26 trams, 1 tram-hauled horsebox, 5 trolleybuses, 2 horse trams, 1 diesel bus
Visitors Open noon–5 pm on Sundays, public holidays, and during school holidays on Wednesdays (but see details of temporary closure below)
Owner Australian Electric Transport Museum (SA) Inc.
Public transit access No public transport
Nearest car park Ample on site; free

The Tramway Museum, St Kilda is Australia's principal museum of the 19th and 20th century trams of Adelaide, South Australia. It is situated at St Kilda, 24 km (15 mi) north of the centre of Adelaide. Most of the trams operate when rostered along a 1.6 km (1.0 mi) purpose-built track that runs between the museum and a large adventure playground.

Scope

Adelaidesfirsttram1908
Tram no. 1, Adelaide's first electric tram, is one of 26 trams at the museum

The museum is operated by the Australian Electric Transport Museum (SA) Inc., a not-for-profit volunteer organisation affiliated with the Council of Tramway Museums of Australasia. It is dedicated to the study, restoration and operation of trams and trolleybuses that were used in Adelaide or built there. It is one of very few transport museums in the world holding at least one example of every principal tram type to have been in service on a city street system.

From an initial collection of five trams stored on a vacant site at St Kilda in 1957, the museum in 2019 had twenty-six electric trams, two horse trams, a tram-hauled horsebox, four trolleybuses, and a diesel bus of the type that operated when the street tram network was closed in 1958. Museum features include an entrance gallery, bookshop, archive and interpretative displays. Maintenance and construction facilities include two workshops, a wheel lathe building, ancillary storage sheds and a "travelling workshop", a former Melbourne W2 class tram.

Staffed by volunteers, the museum relies mainly on visitor admissions to fund its work. Major projects are supported by donations from museum members and occasional grants from South Australian Government museum assistance programs and the Salisbury Council. The council crucially secured funding from a 1972 state government unemployment relief scheme to lay a 1.6 km (1.0 mi) tramway from museum site alongside St Kilda Road towards the sea, and to erect poles for overhead wiring. The tramway opened for trials in 1973 and was officially opened on 23 March 1974 to coincide with St Kilda's centenary. Workshops were built to restore trams to operating condition; in 2001 the increasing number of trams necessitated a large building to house them.

Operational status

In June 2019, regulatory approval of tram operations was withdrawn. In August 2020, the museum reported that it was continuing to upgrade the documentation of its safety management system; that process, combined with the closure required by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, meant that it was likely to be some time before tram rides could resume.

Fleet

Trams 303, 360, 1013 and 192 in winter sunshine, Tram Museum, St Kilda, 10 June 2013 (JCRadcliffe)
Visitors to the museum can experience free all-afternoon rides on trams that include Type G "Birney" no. 303, Type H ("Glenelg" or "Bay" tram) no. 360, Melbourne W7 Class no. 1013, and Type D no. 192. They will be among more than a dozen trams rostered for rides to St Kilda's large adventure playground when services resume.

The pre-electric era, from 1878 to 1917, is represented by horse tram no. 18 of the Adelaide and Suburban Tramway Company, the largest of 11 companies that operated more than 150 vehicles on a network of about 120 km (75 mi) of standard gauge lines. Displayed next to it is derelict tram no. 15 of the Adelaide, Unley and Mitcham Tramway Company, demonstrating the starting point for many restoration tasks.

The electric era, which started in 1909, was under the management of the MTT, a body established in late 1907 and governed mainly by councillors nominated by local governments. From then until 1958, when the street tram system was closed down, the trust had owned more than 300 trams and operated over a network of about 100 km (60 mi). There remained only the 10.8 km (6.7 mi) line from Glenelg to the geographic centre of Adelaide after 1958, about 85% of which occupied its own reserved corridor. It was to be another 47 years before a tramways renaissance began.

The museum owns at least one tram of each main type from the MTT era. Its collection also includes two Melbourne trams: one (W2 class 294) was built by Holden's Body Builders in Adelaide; the other (W7 class 1013) has been modified for convenient wheelchair access and offers an interesting comparison with the MTT's fast-loading Type F cars. A third fast-loader is a Sydney R1 Class tram, lent by the Sydney Tramway Museum.

Trolleybuses preserved are a 1925 Garford, a 1937 AEC 661T and a 1952 Sunbeam MF2B. A 1954 AEC Regal IV motor bus is also preserved.

Preserved Adelaide trams at the Tramway Museum, St Kilda
Type Number Notes
Horse 15, 18 Car 18 is in fully restored running condition but is not operated. Next to it, the body of car 15 is displayed in the deteriorated condition in which it was recovered to provide a contrasting example of a tram before restoration.
A 1 Operational, used on special occasions. See also: Ballarat Tramways car 21 in the following table.
A2 14, 15 (coupled) In final state of restoration; to be operated as a coupled "Bib and Bub" set when operations resume.
B 42 Operational, in regular service.
C 186 Operational, in regular service.
D 192 Formerly Prahran & Malvern Tramways Trust 24, then Hawthorn Tramways Trust 24, then Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board O-class tram 130. Operational, in regular service.
E 118 Converted back from a Type E1. Operational, in regular service.
E1 111 Operational, in regular service.
F, F1 244, 264, 282 Type F1 numbers 264 and 282 are operational, in regular service.
G 303 Operational, in regular service.
H 360, 362, 364, 365, 378 360 and 365 are operational, in regular service. 362, 364 and 378 (former restaurant tram) are operational but normally on static display indoors.
H1 381 Operational, in regular service.
Preserved trams from other states at the Tramway Museum, St Kilda
Ran in city of Class Number Notes
Ballarat 21 Operational, in regular service. Was MTT Type A car number 10 before it was sold to the State Electricity Commission of Victoria for service in Ballarat, in whose livery it has been conserved.
Ballarat 34 Originally Hawthorn Tramways Trust 31, later Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board 137. Operable; in storage indoors.
Melbourne W2 294 Operational, in regular service. Built in Adelaide by Holden's Body Builders for the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board.
Melbourne W2 354 Not for conservation: used as a works tram for maintaining track and overhead wires.
Melbourne W7 1013 Operational, in regular service.
Sydney R1 1971 Operational, in regular service. On loan from the Sydney Tramway Museum.

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