Melbourne's tram system began operations in 1885, when the first cable line operated by the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company opened for business. The cable tram system grew to be very comprehensive and operated successfully for 55 years. Electric trams Australia's first electric tram line, from Box Hill Station to Doncaster, was built by a group of land developers using equipment left over from the Great Exhibition of 1888. It opened in 1889.
At this time the line must have been right out in the sticks, since Box Hill itself was many kilometres beyond the existing tram system. It had one or two problems, such as arguments with land owners who fenced over the line and pulled down the power lines, and poor reliability, since its owners knew nothing about running a tram system, and it died by 1896. The only hint now that there was ever a tram system in the Doncaster area is a road along the former route - Tram Road.
The first serious electric trams in Melbourne began in 1906 with the North Melbourne Electric Tramway and Lighting Company (NMETL) who built a line from the edge of the cable system out towards Essendon, and the Victorian Railways who built a line from St. Kilda to Brighton. The NMETL, a British concern, was interested in selling electricity to customers along the route (and the same motive led to the establishment of the Ballarat, Bendigo, and Geelong electric tram systems). The company commenced operations with single bogie saloon cars (later classified U-class) and unpopular "toast-rack" cars (later classified V-class).
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