Nostalgia trip

The peaceful town of Wallan… newsagency… Internet… butcher…

I always wanted to be a tram driver…

Today I went on a nostalgia trip to somewhere I’d never been before. The
tramway museum at Bylands
. When I was a kid, we never had a car, and I used to travel by tram a lot. These days tram travel isn’t half as cool – the trams are for wimps, with heating, doors, and no chance of enjoying a ride on the running board and getting yourself killed by falling off it like in days of yore. Ah well.

It’s far enough out of Melbourne that the speed limit reaches 110 for a while, which is fun. And further on I was rather amused to drive through Wallan, which just near the only set of traffic lights, between the old style country newsagency and the butchers, is an Internet shop. Hmmm.

Anyway I almost missed the turn-off for the museum, but eventually found it and paid my $5 for entry plus a ride on an old tram, and a quick tour of the sheds. The ride was interesting, with the driver having to slow to down and ring the bell to get the sheep off the line. That’s something that rarely happens on St Kilda Road.

Then I pottered around for a little while, reminiscing, climbing into cabs, turning destination rolls, dinging bells, pulling the cord twice – a forbidden activity you could never do in a real tram if you weren’t the conductor. Although one conductor only a few years ago on route 75 instead of pulling the cord twice just used to shout to the driver "ding ding!"

After that I had to head back into Melbourne to pick up the kids from their mum, so I scraped just a little of the mud off my shoes and got back in the car, zooming off back down the Northern Highway, now apparently better known by its far less friendly name, the B75.

That was something I noticed during the drive – a lot of signs only tell you the number of the road, not the name. We’d be in real trouble if VicRoads took the road names off the signs in Melbourne, since nobody navigates by the numbers.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.