Our Trip To Western Australia travel blog

W4 674

All Aboard

Bribe at Lunch

Riding along

Whiteman Park Terminus

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Gnome acting as Tram Conductor

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Riding along....

Weevil organised a day at Whiteman Park for us to meet , greet and eat with a group of fellow Baby Boomers from WA (Sand Gropers). Whiteman Park is the Perth equivalent of National Park in Sydney except that entry is free (including BBQ’s) and you pay for activities like the lolly shop and the Tram rides. A great crowd turned up and it was good to put faces to names and vice versa.

Before we got going Gnome spotted a group of power dressed clipboard holders wandering around the Van Park, I despatched Hyacinth to the toilets to try and get some Intel of whom they were, turns out they were from Swan Valley Tourism to whom I had complained about the state of the place. I only heard a few hushed words ‘It’s not very nice is it’….. But it pays to complain rather than just whinge about things….

After lunch, during which I accepted a bribe from the Scottish delegation in the form of a Vanilla Slice, we went for a tram ride (what else would you expect me to do) and you would not believe it’s one of only 5 W4 class Melbourne trams ever built, Of all the trams in all the world there is a W4 here. YES!!! Oh JOY Oh RAPTURE…. Anyway for the technically minded a few details;

The W4 class were the next evolution to the dropcentre design, and were the first of the ‘wide body’ trams to be constructed – the predecessors of the later sliding door variants of W series trams. They, like the W3 class trams, were also fitted with large 33-inch diameter wheels in an attempt to provide a smoother and quieter ride.

The W4 Class were somewhat unpopular with tram crews for a couple of reasons. The curved sides in the dropcentre, while stylish made it difficult for the running board to be observed clearly using the step mirrors. The truck-mounted brake cylinders also had a tendency to give slightly inconsistent braking, especially when compared to later W series trams, and so poor braking was often blamed for accidents that occurred with these trams.

The W4 class were stored in 1968 as a result of their unpopularity, not returning to service because of a defect that was found in the structural integrity of the No.9 trucks under the W3 and W4 class trams.

Builder – MMTB

Entered Service – 13 November 1935

Length – 14.02 metres (46ft, 0in)

Height – 3.15 metres (10ft, 4in)

Width – 2.74 metres (9ft, 0in)

Weight – 16.72 tonnes (16.4 tons)

Seated Passengers – 48

Trucks – MMTB No. 9, 33” tyred wheels

Traction Motors – 4 x Metropolitan Vickers MV101 AZ

Line Breaker – General Electric Type D.B. 276

Brake Valves – Westinghouse Type “W” Self Lapping

Air Compressor – Westinghouse D.H. 16

Compressor Governor – General Electric Type ML

Braking System – Compressed air and hand applied

Maximum Acceleration – 2.5 M.P.H. per second

Maximum Design Gradient – 8.5 %

Lighting Circuits – 3 circuits each with 6 x 100 volt series lamps

Trolley Bases – MMTB

This is all important stuff as questions will be asked at the end of the lecture so do pay attention.

Anyway Gnome casually mentioned to the motorman that I was a motorman years ago and guess what? PHWHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR I got to drive the tram NER NER NER!!!! Great I can tick that off my bucket list. Worth the drive from Canberra just for the experience Thanks Gnome for mentioning it….. Gnome is obviously very experienced as a tram conductor he got the pole on the wire first go even though he speaks impeccable English and is not of Indian or Pakistani nationality….

Then the highlight of the trip was taking the bona fide passengers back to the village so the aficionados could all be taken to the “Car barn” to look at the other trams in various stages of restoration, it takes a long time (20 years) using voluntary labour and funding from fares to resurrect a relic to operational condition. Some really great old trams stored here too, including No29 the last Freemantle tram and No66. Both of these were imported directly from the manufacturers GJ Brill in USA and have the unique Brill styling... There is also an example of the Stepless Trolley here but it’s in a bad state having endured 3 fires. The Kalgoorlie trams are in a very sad state but will eventually rumble through the park

Then back to the shelter shed where we said our farewells and then back to the Caravan just in time for a combined happy Hour and Afternoon Tea, Dinner, a police attendance to yet another domestic in the park and that was our day.

Freemantle tomorrow our 40th anniversary so I’ll have to find an expensive café in Freeo to celebrate the occasion. Though I’m reliably informed that expensive Cafes are hard to find there….

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