Trams of Australia

Bendigo's tram system

Bendigo is one of two principal regional cities in Victoria which were built on the gold rush. The other is Ballarat. Both had tram systems in the past.

In 1890 Bendigo experimented with Battery trams, but it is no surprise that the experiment failed and sent the operator bankrupt. So, from 1892, the town was served by a Steam tram system, which lasted until 1902. In 1903, the Electricity Supply Company of Victoria (a British company) introduced electric trams, partly as a way of selling electricity to customers along the routes. I do not as yet have much information about the trams running during this time, but among them were two single-truck toastrack trams (also called Summer Cars) which were built for the Bendigo tramways in 1913. One of these is preserved at the Bendigo Tramways.

[Link to picture of two Bendigo trams] Trams 24 & 26. Picture at David Bromage's Railpage Australia
In 1934, the State Electricity Commission of Victoria took over the operations of the Electric Supply Company, including its three tramway systems (Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong). Various trams from other systems were brought to operate in Bendigo over the years, including six Birney cars from Geelong, four of which had originally served in Port Adelaide (see: Geelong's Birney cars, Adelaide's Birney cars). Here is a map of the system prior to closure in 1972 (thanks to Chris Brownbill) [Map of former Bendigo tram system]

The Bendigo Trust purchased all 23 electric trams upon the system's closure in 1972, and it has acquired additional trams for preservation and restoration. The Bendigo Tramways and museum now run as a tourist operation, and here is a map of their current services (also thanks to Chris Brownbill) [Map of current Bendigo (talking
tram) system] The system operates out of the original 1903 tram depot, which makes it the oldest operating tram depot in the country. The most famous feature of this operation is the Bendigo "Talking Tram", which gives a recorded commentary about the places that are being passed.

Thanks to Chris Brownbill,, for the maps.