Premier Ted Baillieu has announced that the first W-Class tram to be restored as part of the Victorian Coalition Government's $8 million W-Class refurbishment program is expected to return to service by the end of October.
During an inspection of the newly restored W-Class tram at the Preston Workshops, Mr Baillieu said extensive work had been carried out to restore Tram 946 to its former glory and ensure it meets strict safety standards.
Mr Baillieu also announced that the refurbished tram will be reintroduced onto the hugely popular City Circle Tourist Route.
"W-Class trams are an icon of Melbourne and we want Melburnians and visitors to our city to continue to be able to enjoy their cultural and heritage significance," Mr Baillieu said.
"Restoration works on the second tram, Tram 959, have started at the Bendigo Trust and the tram is expected to be reintroduced onto the network in March 2013.
"One of the Coalition Government's election promises was to guarantee the future of the W-Class tram fleet and this is what this program is achieving," Mr Baillieu said.
Mr Baillieu said the restoration team have done an exceptional job ensuring that the restoration works don't compromise the heritage look and feel of the tram, while delivering improved operational performance, safety and maintainability into the future.
Yarra Trams Project Manager David Cigognini said leading the W-Class tram project had been a career highlight.
"The W-Class restoration project has proven to be the most interesting and challenging project I have been involved in during my 24 years working with Melbourne's trams," Mr Cigognini said.
"I expect these enhancements will once again endear these pieces of living history to the travelling public of Melbourne for generations to come."
The tram has been completely rewired which will improve reliability, the braking system has been overhauled, new seating has been installed, the drivers cabin has been reinforced to improve safety, and extensive work has been done to improve the tram's structural integrity.
The tram will undergo rigorous testing to ensure it is ready for operation once final works are complete.
Tram 946 was built at Preston Workshop in the 1940s and has been in service for more than 60 years.
Mr Baillieu said that by restoring W-Class trams and investing in 50 new low-floor trams, we are working to restore the heritage of our tram network as well as building for its future.