Content copyright © Tramway Museum Society of Victoria Inc. Reproduced with permission.
The TMSV was founded in 1962 when a group of members of the Victorian Division of the Australian Electric Traction Association decided to concentrate on the preservation of Victoria’s rich tramway heritage for future generations of Victorians. The main driver behind this event was to establish a tramway museum with a complete operating tramway run on heritage lines.
The major requirement to achieve this aim was to acquire a site that was large enough to build such a museum with the ability to establish a reasonable length of operating tramline, suitable power supply and room for expansion, not too distant from Melbourne.
In 1970 the former Bylands station on the closed Heathcote rail line was selected as suitable and leased, this being converted into outright purchase in the mid 1980s. In addition, in 1991 a twenty year lease was taken on the rail reserve from the end of the museum site to the outskirts of Kilmore.
During the early 1970s the development of tramway groups in Ballarat and Bendigo focused towards preservation of tramways related to those specific provincial cities saw an adjustment of the TMSV’s direction towards an emphasis on preserving the tramways heritage of Melbourne and Geelong, with only representative examples of tramcars from Ballarat and Bendigo. Cordial relationships are maintained with both of these two groups.
The TMSV’s focus has also broadened slightly to take in the collection of a representative number of motor buses operated by the former Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board (M&MTB).
Since the early 1980s the Public Transport Corporation (PTC) became more conscious of the heritage aspects of Melbourne tramways, which resulted in the restoration of many significant tramcars and the building up of the Heritage Fleet. This culminated some years ago in the loan to the PTC of several tramcars (both electric and cable) and a loan of several electric cars to the TMSV from the PTC.