Holden Street, North Fitzroy

“This photo is of a W2 class 535 as it rounds the curve into Pilkington Street from Holden Street, North Fitzroy on a tram enthusiast charter trip (20 July 1969). The incorrect destination and route number were a request of participants. Note the distinctive track curve to negotiate the narrow street. Between 1926 and 1939, a second track lay between this and the brick wall of the tramway substation. The disused overhead trolley wire can still be seen. Note also the sign on the pole at the right of the photograph which reads ‘Warning: Beware of buses crossing’. This dates from 1939.” (Bellcord Newsletter #50 produced by the Melbourne Tram Museum and reproduced in the FHS Newsletter August 2021).

“Until 1976 a seldom-used single tram track ran along parts of Holden Street, North Fitzroy and Brunswick Road, Brunswick. It did not appear on most transport maps and there were no tram stops where passengers could board. More puzzling than this, the line ran along one side of the roadway which meant that trams in one direction travelled toward the oncoming motor vehicle traffic.” (FHS Newsletter August 2021)

“The story of the Holden Street/Brunswick Road line begins in the first years of Melbourne’s electric trams with the formation of the Fitzroy, Northcote and Preston Tramways Trust (FNPTT) in August 1915. Councillors and residents proposed an electric tramway that would link their municipalities. But no direct access to the city would be possible as the cable tram network monopolised most of the thoroughfares.
Unfortunately the FNPTT’s financial viability was at best marginal. Low population densities and construction challenges were major factors and just a month after FNPTT’s formation the neighbouring Melbourne, Brunswick and Coburg Tramways Trust suggested that the two adjacent systems be built and operated under one central management. A schedule of potential cost savings was prepared and the proposed connecting track was to be built using Barkly Street. Discussions continued into 1916 when the proposal was shelved.” (FHS Newsletter August 2021)

“Construction of the stand-alone FNPTT lines eventually began in 1918, but history overtook the Trust before it commenced operations when in 1920 the newly established Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board assumed control. The next 3-4 years saw further consolidation of the tramways and debate on the route. In September 1922 the Holden Street/Brunswick Road line was approved at a projected cost of £19,500 and construction began in 1923 and was completed in March 1925. Full duplication of the
track was completed in October 1926. By 1930, the use of the tram diminished and the
trams were replaced with buses in 1939.

This article was produced courtesy of the Melbourne Tram Museum. For the full
article (Edition 50) and many other about our trams, visit: trammuseum.org.au

Trams returned to the lines in the 40’s, but the line was never really supported and was eventually removed in 1976. W5 class 800 in Holden Street being transferred to Preston Workshops for repair, following collision damage to its dash panel (15 Jan 1976). This may have been the last tram to traverse the Holden Street line.” (FHS Newsletter August 2021)

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