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Australians will have the chance to own one of Melbourne's historic W-class trams, as the Victorian government looks to find new homes for dozens of the city icons.
Victorian Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said 134 of the historic trams will be made available to the public.
"It is really a once in a lifetime opportunity to think about how these retired trams, that played such a significant role in the history of our public transport service in the city of Melbourne, can be put to a new purpose, a new lease of life", she said.
First built in 1923, Melbourne's historic W-Class trams could soon be owned by some lucky Australians. Picture: 9NEWS.
The trams will be free for schools and community groups, while private collectors and businesses will be charged $1000 plus transport costs.
Mal Rowe from the Council of Tramway Museums of Australasia said some of the trams had been collecting dust since the 1990s, when officials started progressively withdrawing them from the network.
"They've been here a long time, and with the best of intentions, no one's been able to work out what to do with them", he said.
The Victorian government will soon sell off the iconic tram carriages to members of the public, schools and community groups. Picture: 9NEWS.Twenty-five trams, deemed to be in the best condition, will be retained by the government for possible future restoration or return to service on the City Circle tourist route.
James O'Brien from VicTrack said a further 20 specially painted "art trams" would be set aside for use in galleries or public display.
"With the arts trams, there's been lots and lots of interest in those, because they are treasures", he said
Specially painted 'art trams' will also be set aside for use in galleries or for public display. Picture: 9NEWS."We'll be working with the families of the artists, the artists themselves and public institutions and galleries, to ensure we can get them out in public view."
Built from 1923 onwards, the W-class trams were the workhorse of Melbourne's tram network for more than 60 years.
The state government has recently completed an audit of the remaining trams, to determine how many could be salvaged or repurposed, and how many could be broken up for parts.
The W-Class trams were the workhorse of Melbourne's tram network for more than 60 years. Picture: 9NEWS.Ms Allan said an expression of interest process would open on May 28.
"The assessments that will be made by an independent panel will be based on those that really look at how the best public use, the best external use, can be used for these retired trams", she said.
VicTrack hopes to start delivering the trams to their new homes by Spring.
Since the 1990s however, some of the trams have been out of use after officials began to withdraw them from the network. Picture: 9NEWS.Mr O'Brien said new owners would need to meet some minimum requirements.
"People need to be aware that these are large vehicles, they do weigh a lot, they'll need to have appropriate space, they'll need to be aware of their local government planning requirements", he said.
Access more information on the sale via the VicTrack website.
This article first appeared on www.9news.com.au
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