THE Victorian Government last week said it will develop the state's first comprehensive strategy for the future of Melbourne's historic W-Class trams, with Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan announcing a W-Class reference group to advise on how best to use the heritage trams.
A detailed audit of nearly 200 remaining W-Class trams – which first started running on Melbourne's streets nearly 100 years ago – will determine the condition of each of them and their potential for future refurbishment or use.
The reference group will work with and include representatives from Public Transport Victoria (PTV), VicTrack, the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, and Yarra Trams to undertake the audit.
Other stakeholders will be asked to share their knowledge and help shape their future use in the coming weeks and months.
Ms Allan said a great deal of interest has already been generated about using these W-Class trams, and a PTV survey has proved Victorians recognise and appreciate their value.
A number of potential uses have been canvassed, but the condition of the de-commissioned trams, which have been in storage for many years, won't be fully understood until the audit is complete.
Victorians and visitors continue to enjoy these iconic trams through public exhibits, along the City Circle Tram service and Bendigo Tramways, where more than three million people each year ride one of the twelve W-Class trams around the loop.
The group is expected to report back to government with their findings in the second half of next year.