W3 Class 663

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W3 663 departs from 3 Road of the Carbarn.  Some preliminary work had been undertaken to protect the tram prior to its restoration commencing.

Photo courtesy Mal Rowe

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W3 663 seen in Mount Alexander Road outside Essendon Depot on 24 February 1969 on its way to Essendon Aerodrome, being pursued by Freight Car No. 17 on its way to the depot.

Photo courtesy Mal Rowe

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W3 663 on 7 Road of Brunswick Depot, prior to being moved to the outside storage tracks. 

Photo – Anthony Smith

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W3 663 sitting on Road 1 of Bendigo depot after completion of external painting. 

Photo – Anthony Smith

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The immaculately polished and varnished ceiling and bulkheads in the saloon of W3 663.

Photo – Anthony Smith

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A resplendent W3 663 sits at the Upper Terminus at Haddon after completion of its restoration.

Photo – Anthony Smith

W3 class tram 663 was one of sixteen trams numbered 654 to 669 built at the MMTB Preston Workshops. 

The W3 class were the first of the dropcentre type trams to be constructed with steel frames and exterior panels. They were also fitted with large 33-inch diameter wheels in an attempt to provide a smoother and quieter ride.

W3 663 entered service on the 27 November 1933, and was finally withdrawn from service on the 31 May 1976 having run 1,614,312 Miles.

663 was stored for a number of years in open storage by the MMTB at Brunswick Depot after a design fault on the No. 9 trucks of W3 class trams was detected.  This fault was found after a beam mount on a motor broke free from mounting point on the truck frame, allowing the motor to rotate up through the floor of sister tram 656.  Several W3 class trams were subsequently found to have cracks or fractures, and many of them never returned to service.  663 was one of a few that received testing and strengthening of its trucks to enable it to again run.

On arrival at Haddon, 663 initially had to be stored outside resulting in some additional deterioration to the tram from its exposure to the weather, especially to its roof structure. 

W3 663 is currently being restored, and it is planned that on completion of its restoration that 663 will carry the 1930's MMTB colour scheme which features a lighter green colour than displayed on the other MMTB cars in the collection.

The following are W3 663’s current technical details and specifications:

Builder – MMTB
Entered Service – 27 November 1933
Length – 14.33 metres (47ft, 0in)
Height – 3.18 metres (10ft, 5in)
Width – 2.74 metres (9ft, 0in)
Weight – 16.0 tonnes (15.7 tons)
Seated Passengers – 48
Trucks – MMTB No. 9, 33” tyred wheels
Traction Motors – 4 x Metropolitan Vickers MV101 AZ
Line Breaker – General Electric Type D.B. 276
Brake Valves – Westinghouse Type “W” Self Lapping
Air Compressor – Westinghouse D.H. 16
Compressor Governor – General Electric Type ML
Braking System – Compressed air and hand applied
Maximum Acceleration – 2.5 M.P.H. per second
Maximum Design Gradient – 8.5 %
Lighting Circuits – 3 circuits each with 6 x 100 volt series lamps
Trolley Bases – MMTB

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