One of my “one day when I’m rich” ideas is to buy an old tram and convert it into a library.
The least likely part of this is, apparently, not me becoming rich, it’s buying an old tram. Because the old trams are heritage listed, and the internet is full of people who’d love to get their hands on one and complaining loudly that they can’t.
I can’t summarise the situation better than the user 547M did on the railpage.com.au forums:
Unused W class trams are kept at Newport Workshops.
They are under an order from the National Trust and have been gathering dust and bird guano for many years in East Block, I believe. The fleet stored there is often raided for spare parts to keep the existing fleet in operation – most of the bodies are age-damaged on frames which would probably not be allowed on any system.
They’ve been heritage-listed en masse and prevented from going outside Victoria. So no trams to Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth museums. Bylands, Bendigo and Ballarat have all the Ws they want.
It is not known if they are available for purchase; about 8 years ago the asking price was around $5600 – where Z class trams have been (or currently available for purchase) around the $8000 mark – however, these are not any reliable benchmark figures. At this point in time, basically, the W class trams are trapped for all eternity in Newport Workshops until another place to store them is found.
Australian Train Movers had the contract for disposal of the superseded Z class retired trams. See http://www.a-tm.com.au/saletram.html
A full list of stored trams (168) is available on Vicsig
There’s a Herald-Sun article about the old W-class trams being left to rot at the Newport station.
If you’re a tram fan like me, then the Melbourne Tram Museum is a much happier place and well worth a visit. I highly recommend it – it’s like entering a cross between Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and the TARDIS. Even just the smell – old leather, wood, iron – is amazing.
Here’s a fun list of libraries in unusual locations, including the Leo Tolstoy express between Moscow and Helsinki, and in a tank/bookmobile Weapon of Mass Instruction by Argentinian artist Raul Lemesoff.
Maybe I can buy a train carriage instead…