Victorian Railways Bogie Tram No. 41

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41 sits proudly in front of the Carbarn on 20 September 2008. 

Photo courtesy Robert Wilson

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41 under construction at Newport Workshops receiving its final signwriting and external varnishing, either in late 1922 or early 1923. This picture is a portion of a much larger official VR picture of a locomotive, however 41 was easily seen through the open doorway off to one side of the locomotive.  

Photo – Lloyd Rogers collection

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41 in its original livery awaits the return journey to St Kilda from Brighton Beach, seen here at the terminus on the Esplanade. 

Photo – MTPA Archives

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41 glows in the night lights of St Kilda Station. 

Photo – Anthony Smith collection

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41 as found at New Street, Brighton. 

Photo – Anthony Smith

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41 during reconstruction of its roof structure, at Bendigo Tramways depot. 

Photo – Anthony Smith

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41 in the workshop at Bendigo Tramways with work continuing on its reassembly and wiring. 

Photo – Anthony Smith

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41 moves under its own power for the first time in 46 years, 1845hrs 27 September 2004. 

Photo – Kym Smith

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41 on completion of its restoration, sitting in front of the Bendigo Tramways depot. 

Photo – Kym Smith

Victorian Railways 44ft bogie dropcentre tram No. 41 was constructed at Newport Workshops and entered service on 3 February 1923, being one of 20 such cars built between 1917 and 1923 – 16 cars for the broad gauge St Kilda to Brighton Beach line and 4 cars built for the standard gauge Sandringham to Black Rock/Beaumaris line.

VR 41 spent its entire operating life on the St Kilda to Brighton Beach line and was disposed of on 31 December 1958, 2 months before the final closure of the line.  After being stripped of trucks and equipment, the body of VR 41 spent the next 19 years in the backyard of a house in New Street, Brighton as a tool shed.

The Association made the decision to acquire the body of VR 41 during 1977, with the move to Haddon taking place on the 26 October 1977. 
 
Sister cars VR 28 and 37 yielded many valuable body fittings including a complete driver’s bulkhead.  3 broad gauge Brill 77E trucks complete with motors were found in a scrap yard at Corowa, NSW and although initially purchased for VR 41 were later sold to the Tramway Historical Society in Christchurch, NZ for conversion and  use under their standard gauge Brill car No. 178.

In 1982, MMTB L class 105 was acquired to provide parts for VR 41.  L 105 was fitted with the same imported version of the K35 controllers as fitted to the railway trams, and its Brill 77E trucks were already standard gauge.

After arriving at Haddon in 1977, for the next 24 years VR 41 was stored awaiting its turn for restoration.  In 2001 it was decided to send the car to Bendigo to have the roof rebuilt and the missing bulkhead installed.  VR 41 was transported by road to Bendigo on 5 October 2001 with work commencing in early 2002.

It soon became apparent that subject to funding it would be possible to complete the restoration whilst the car was in Bendigo.  A work schedule was formulated and costed that would see maximum participation by MTPA members in the restoration work and would result in VR 41 fully restored and operating within an acceptable budget.

As work on the body was being undertaken in Bendigo, parallel projects at Haddon saw the controllers, compressor, line breaker, and other mechanical and electrical equipment overhauled in preparation for installation in VR 41.  Many of the body components were also prepared at Haddon for finishing and installation.

The major significant event in the restoration occurred on 27 September 2004 when VR 41 finally moved under its own power for the first time in 46 years.

Work progressed steadily over the three years until February 2005 when VR 41 was completed and ready for operation.  On 13 March 2005, VR 41 was recommissioned with appropriate ceremony at the Bendigo Tramways depot.  A number of trips were operated in Bendigo over three weekends to raise funds for VR 41’s return to Haddon on 1 April 2005.

In total, over $130,000.00 was spent on the acquisition and restoration of VR 41, with funding coming through donations, the sale of tram parts and other tramway components, and donations from Connex Trains, DMS Glass and Huber + Suhner that provided the signwriting and linework, safety glass and electrical cabling respectively.

The restoration and return to service of VR 41 is significant in that it was the first electric tramcar body to be returned from a derelict ‘scrapped’ condition to operating condition by a Victorian museum group for preservation in Victoria.  It is also the first former Victorian Railways tram to be returned to operating condition.

The restoration work undertaken on VR 41 was recognised by our peers, with COTMA awarding VR 41 its Excellence and Recognition (EAR) Award at its Melbourne Conference in 2006, and received a high commendation from ATHRA after being nominated for the ATHRA Passenger Vehicle Restoration Award.

The following are VR 41’s current technical details and specifications:

Builder – Victorian Railways, Newport Workshops
Entered Service – 3 February 1923
Length – 13.51 metres (44ft, 4in)
Height – 3.21 metres (10ft, 6 ½in)
Width – 2.68 metres (8ft, 9 ½in)
Weight – 17 tonnes (16.73 tons)
Seated Passengers – 48
Trucks – Brill pattern 77E, 28” solid disc wheels
Traction Motors – 4 x 30 kW (40HP) General Electric 247AX2
Controllers – General Electric K35AA2
Line Breaker – General Electric Type D.B. 276
Brake Valves – Westinghouse Type “W” Self Lapping
Air Compressor – General Electric Type CP27
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, 1 circuit of 6 x 110 volt series lamps and 2 circuits of 5 x 110 volt series lamps.
Trolley Bases – US13 pattern

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