Cable & Horse Trams

Melbourne operated a cable car system for 55 years, from 1885 to 1940.

The first cable tram line - the Spencer St to Hawthorn Bridge along Flinders St, Wellington St and Bridge Rd - opened on November 11th, 1885, with the last line Chapel St to Barkly St along Dandenong Rd, Fitzroy St, St Kilda Esp and Acland St - opening in 17 October 1891. At the height of the system it was the fourth biggest in the world, with 46 miles (74km) of double track and 1,200 cable cars and trailers.

The system was removed from the mid 20's to the 40's, many lines were electrified, and some replaced by bus. The Bourke St lines were the last to be closed, in favour of buses, on November 26th, 1940; ironically the Bourke St routes were re-opened as electric tram lines in the mid 1950's.

Horse trams operated in Melbourne, from December 20th 1884 with the opening of the Station St horse tram, to November 5th 1923 with the closure of the Zoological Gardens tram line. The horse trams ran in the suburbs, as stand alone lines or extensions to Cable/Electric trams. Many were closed, to be reopened as electric tramlines.

Grip Cars

MTOC cable tram dummy No. 28
Single truck car
In Service: 1928
Preserved: MTM Bylands, Restored 2003

This vehicle is a standard cable tram dummy locomotive. This type of car was the leading car on all cable tram sets, and housed the grip which grasped the moving cable for traction. Over five hundred of these vehicles were imported from New York or built in Melbourne. The design remained the same from the opening of the cable tram system in 1885 until its closure in 1940.

MTOC cable tram dummy No. 436
Single truck car
In Service: Unknown
Preserved: Restored by Alf Twentyman, at MTM Bylands

This vehicle is a standard cable tram dummy. It is notable for having been purchased from the M&MTB on withdrawal in 1935 by Alf Twentyman for preservation. It was donated to the Society on his death together with the other two tramcars that make up the Twentyman Collection.

Photo: Ivana Smiljanic

MTOC cable tram dummy No. 593
Replica single truck car: fitted with small petrol engine
Built: 1980's
Service: Formally operated in Hudson Park, Kilmore.

This car is a replica of a cable tram dummy built from recovered components in the early 1980s. It is fitted with a small petrol driven internal combustion engine, and is used in conjunction with the cable tram trailer No 171. This tram along with trailer, has operated in Hudson Park Kilmore, Moomba parades and has also operated for brief periods at a number of other Australian tramway museums.

Trailer Cars

MTOC cable tram trailer No. 190
Bogie saloon car (incomplete)
In Service: Unknown
Preserved: 1998, MTM Bylands

This twelve window bogie tram trailer car was spliced together from two six window cable or horse tram trailers about the time of the First World War. It followed the success of the purpose built bogie cable car trailers and was used on Elizabeth Street to Brunswick line. They were retired in 1935, and the body of this tram was sold off to a property west of Geelong, where it was recovered in 1998.

MTOC cable tram trailer No. 192
Bogie saloon car
In Service: Unknown
Preserved: MTM Bylands

This bogie tramcar trailer was spliced together from two six-window horse or cable tram trailers at about the time of the First World War, following the success of the purpose built bogie tram trailers used on Elizabeth Street routes. It is very similar to No 190, but is much more complete and in good condition. It is intended to restore this tramcar to as built condition as a bogie tramcar trailer.

Photo: Ivana Smiljanic

MTOC cable tram trailer No. 290
Single truck saloon car
In Service: Unknown
Preserved: MTM Bylands

This is a standard eight window single truck cable tram trailer. This tram was the first preserved tram in Australia when purchased in 1930 for preservation by Alf Twentyman. The tram has not had any major work carried out on it since it was retired. This is also one of three trams that make up the Twentyman Collection.

Photo: Ivana Smiljanic

MTOC cable tram trailer No. 299
Single truck saloon car
In Service: Unknown
Preserved: MTM Bylands

This is a standard eight window single truck cable tram trailer. It underwent major restoration in the 1970s in Melbourne and Bylands and is in good condition.

MTOC cable tram trailer No. 462
Single truck saloon car
In Service: Unknown
Preserved: MTM Bylands

This is a standard eight window single truck cable tram trailer. It was obtained in the late 1970s by the Society. The tram is fair to good condition, and is currently on loan to the Victorian Government as part of the Heritage Tramcar Fleet, and is stored at Newport Workshops.

MTOC cable tram trailer No. 475
Bogie saloon trailer (incomplete)
In Service: Unknown
Preserved: MTM Bylands

This twelve window bogie tram trailer was purpose built about 1901 for the Elizabeth Street to Brunswick line. This tram was retired from service in 1935 when the Elizabeth Street group of cable lines were electrified. The body of this tramcar was acquired by the Society in 1993 in poor condition from the back yard of a residence in Sunshine.

Photo: Ivana Smiljanic

MTOC cable tram trailer No. 586
Single truck saloon car
In Service: Unknown
Preserved: MTM Bylands

This is a standard eight window single truck cable tram trailer. This tram was purchased by Alf Twentyman in 1941 from the M&MTB. It is one of the three trams of the Alf Twentyman Collection, and like the other cars in this collection is in very good condition.

Horse Trams
Photo: Ivana Smiljanic

MTOC horse tram No. 253
Single truck cross-bench car
In Service: Replica
Preserved: MTM Bylands

This is a replica of a horse tram used on the Zoological Gardens tram route between Royal Parade and the Melbourne Zoo which was closed in 1923.This car was constructed from original drawings and mounted on a standard Melbourne cable tram truck. It was used for a horse tram service at Bylands prior to the availability of electric traction at the museum.

MTOC cable tram trailer No. 256
Single truck saloon car
In Service: Unknown
Preserved: MTM Bylands

This vehicle was originally a standard eight window cable tram trailer. During the later years of the Zoological Gardens tram route, it was converted for use as a horse tram until the line closed in 1923. This is believed to be the only operation of an eight window horse tram used by the MTOC, all other horse trams were purpose built six window cars.

G'day Fergie
We are very happy that our search for a tractor has been successful and Wallan local Des Laffan has sold us a re-conditioned Grey Fergie and new slasher.


Proudly sponsored by Yarra Trams