Sunday, November 10, 2013
Recently I took some vistors to our lovely city on a tour of the Talking Trams.
The system is a quaint memory of the bygone era when trams were part of the public transport system of Bendigo and covered quite an extensive area of the city and surrounding suburbs.
Started in the early 1903, this form of transport became very popular with the locals who up until this point had been reliant on horse drawn vehicles or had had to walk everywhere as cars were only available to the very wealthy.
The system survived until the growth of the car during the '60's and finally closed in 1972. A public outcry forced the local council to take on the running of the tramway system and since then reopened and has become a tourist attraction run by a team of volunteers and tram enthusiasts.
As you travel the pre recording tells you about some of the towns history through pointing out sites and buildings of interest and tells anecdotal tales of what travel on the trams was like back in the day.
Most of the trams are restored to their original condition and the tour stops at the tram depot where you can see them being stored and their resotration in progress in the workshop.
An apprenticeship programme has been running for some years now teaching the skills of restoration and maintainance and the workshop has become noted nationaly and internationally.
Lets take a wander shall we?
The main thoroughfare of Bendigo "Charring Cross/ Pall Mall" intersection... does not look too dissimilar even today... though the tramway has been reduced to one line and the line that crosses behind the fountain has been removed completely. The General Post office and "Shamrock" Hotel can be seen in the distance and many of buildings on the right hand side of the street remain today along with the fountain.
Today many of the old routes have been pulled up and paved over to make way for the road system. The remaining tramway is truly a relic of a nostalgic and bygone era and I must say a delightful way to spend an hour or two on a lovely sunny afternoon...