The section of the Museum's track between Depot Junction and Carlton St, just under 300m in length, has long been identified as the section of Museum's Wendouree Parade track that needed to be replaced first. Originally laid in 1905 when the tramway was converted from horse to electric. In 1936 it was relaid again when the State Electricity Commission of Victoria refurbished the Ballarat tram system. By 2019, both the sleepers and rail were life expired, the rail suffering from brittle fractures. This section of track was the most worn with some trams running on their flanges in parts of the track.
The old worn rail compared to the new.
Funding the Project?
Over the last few years, the Museum has been discussing and lobbying the City of Ballarat for the reconstruction of this section of track. The City are the formal owners of the track and have been very supportive of the project.
In early October 2018, the Museum was successful in obtaining $200,000 funding for this project through the Victorian Government's "Pick my Project". While the actual application for the grant was relatively simple, getting the community support was the key to see us obtaining the grant. The Museum was fortunate to receive enough votes to see us receiving the grant and deliver the project. The City of Ballarat soon after announced funding as well. Shortly after, the City did the necessary tender drawings specifications with the Museum's input and called tenders for the work. We were on the way.
The Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford with Juliana Addison MP, announces the winners of the Victorian Government’s Pick my Project at the Museum’s depot on 1/10/2019.
One of our younger members thanks the Mayor of Ballarat, Cr. Samantha McIntosh, and the Member for Wendouree, Juliana Addison MP, for funding the new track at Lake Wendouree on 8/9/2019.
Delivering the Project
Fulton Hogan were the successful contractor commencing work early September. By the 5th all the old track had been removed and the foundations were being dug out. Sleepers and rails were laid and by the 13 September all the concrete work had been completed. Placing of the crushed rock and asphalting was completed by the 26th September. The local Fulton Hogan staff advised that they enjoyed the job, different to their normal work. For the tracklaying and welding, specialist staff were brought from Melbourne for a couple of days.
1 - Old track being removed 2-9-2019.
2 - digging the foundation 5-9-2019.
3 - Sleepers laid out 9-9-2019.
4-Track laying 11-9-2019.
5-Thermit welding 11-9-2019.
6-New track detail 11-9-2019.
7-Pouring the concrete 12-9-2019
8-Concrete poured 13-9-19.
9-Crushed Rock laid 20-09-2019.
11-The finished product 29-9-2019
12-waiting for commissioning 30-9-2019
Testing and Commissioning took place on Monday 30 September, with Scrubber tram No. 8 the first tram followed by a number of the Museum's other trams. The ride is very smooth with almost no noise or click clacks at the joints, a direct contrast to the previous noise when trams crunched their way along the track.
13-Scrubber 8 at work - 30-9-2019.
14-Cleaning track 30-9-2019
15-Checking out the new track - 30-9-2019.
The Official Opening - Thursday 7 November 2019
The Mayor of the City of Ballarat, Cr. Ben Taylor, the Museum President Paul Mong and the Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison MP officially opened the new track on Thursday 7 Nov. 2019. The Morning tea afterwards on Cuthberts939 was sponsored by Fulton Hogan.
Getting ready to cut the ribbon.
The ribbon is cut.
Cuthberts939 heads out on the new track.
The Museum thanks the Victorian Government for enabling funding through their Pick My Project", the Community who voted for the project and in particular the City of Ballarat for its funding and Project Management. As well, a big thank you to Fulton Hogan Ballarat for constructing the new track for the Museum and undertaking it in a professional manner.
And now for the next section.
Photos by Paul Mong, Warren Doubleday and Peter Waugh of the Museum.