Re: Re: Bendigo 18 [Was:: Bendigo Trams]
  "Mick Duncan"

Gday Len

It must be interesting driving a 2 motor 22E car with RC2 control

Cheers, Mick

----- Original Message -----
From: 'Len Millar'len.millar@... [TramsDownUnder]
Sent: Monday, July 14, 2014 7:17 PM
Subject: [TramsDownUnder] Re: Bendigo 18 [Was:: Bendigo Trams]

Hi, folks!

Dear old 18 – about to get a new lease of life at Bendigo! After its return from Ballarat in the early 2000s, it fell from favour - “Always de-railing” being the usual complaint, and has languished at the Gasworks Depot and off-site under tarps for a decade. It was converted under Tim Borcher’s management, not so much be a “faux” Birney but to keep the passengers on the Talking Tram Tour away from the Winter chill AND to be able to operate one-person (in the era before Rail Safety Accreditation). Personally, I quite liked driving it. A bit “clunky”, but quite responsive to demands of keeping to the time-table.

One charter brings a smile to my dial. A large charter group of grey nomads from the Griffiths (NSW) area clambered on board at the Central Deborah gold mine terminus, intent on having a good time! Despite the commentary tape rattling away the Italian group of senior citizens chatted up a storm. Gawd, they could talk – and loudly! Just as we pulled back into the mine, there was a thunderous round of applause. Huh! Some-body’s birthday? I asked. “No, young man. For you!” Aw, shucks!

In 2001, Ballarat Tramway Museum negotiated the loan of 18 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the discovery of gold in Ballarat, as ex-Adelaide single trucker 23 did in 1951 for the centenary. Flash gold paint and appropriate signage inside and out were provided, but I think the good part of the tram’s Ballarat service in Wendouree Parade was that the sub-Antarctic winter winds off the lake could be kept at bay. Much appreciated by passengers and crew! It was used for the next Begonia Festival, if I remember correctly, but only once or twice! The doorways were too narrow for modern-day prams!

I was intrigued by the photo of 18 at Charing Cross taken in 1972. It must have been taken from the tower of the City View Hotel, and the car is turning onto the single track on the Melbourne side of the Alexandra fountain – before the double track was cut back to the Depot side of the Charing Cross stop. And, 18 is still in its original Bendigo Tramways red and white livery and in its SECV-era one-man operation format, with only two drop-centre doors on either side – like Ballarat’s 38 and 41. Adaptable cars, some of the maximum traction cars, eh?


Len Millar