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Heidelberg Historical Society

Trams! Or not?

Posted on Friday, 26th June 2020 by Janine Rizzetti

First tram on Plenty Rd, Preston Darebin Heritage

Look! A new tram line has opened! The ribbon has been cut by the Shire President’s wife and all the worthies are there to celebrate the coming of the tram.

But not for the Heidelberg District, unfortunately. This picture is of the opening of the Plenty Rd tramline in Preston April 1920. Despite about 30 years of lobbying, there was to be no tramline to service Ivanhoe or Heidelberg to this very day.

This was not for lack of trying. Many suburbs began agitating for tramlines in the first decade of the 1900s. Here are a few of the plans involving Ivanhoe and Heidelberg over the years – none of which came to fruition.

  1. 1910 Route from Clifton Hill to Heidelberg, along Heidelberg Rd through Fairfield, Alphington, Ivanhoe and Heidelberg to the junction of Plenty and Rosanna Roads
  2. 1912 Route along High Street Northcote to Darebin Rd, along Livingstone Street to Ivanhoe.
  3. 1915 Route from Clifton Hill to Darebin, along Upper Heidelberg Rd and down the hill to Heidelberg then returning to the city via Lower Heidelberg Rd. Cost estimated at £74,200 with an operating loss of £4000 the first year, and anticipated annual revenue of £10,800. Put aside because of World War I
  4. 1919 Route along St Kilda, Punt Rd/Hoddle Street into Heidelberg Road at Clifton Hill, along Station St Fairfield, to Darebin Road/Livingstone Street to Ivanhoe. Branch line 1- along Waterdale Rd to Bell St Branch line 2- along Lower Heidelberg Rd to Burgundy Street.

Five years of discussions followed – with nothing. Preston got its tramline along Plenty Road in 1920, but the Heidelberg plans were shelved. The last tramway link for Heidelberg was mooted in 1946 when it was suggested that a double tramway line should be built from Cotham Rd Kew to East Ivanhoe over the Burke Rd Bridge. Costs were drawn up for building the line and widening the bridge…and the project was quietly forgotten.

Image: Darebin Heritage ‘First tram on Plenty Rd’ http://heritage.darebinlibraries.vic.gov.au/archiveima…/5031

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