Driving a W-Class tram differs from driving a motor vehicle because the controls are hand-operated rather than foot-pedalled. Aug 07, Last Visited: He knew Exhibition Street and Russell Street. We shall miss him greatly and may never see his like again. He still wore a trammie’s cap, perched firmly on his head, in a period when most trammies went hatless. As much an icon of Melbourne’s tramways as the W2 class and with almost as much service to his name as well. Lenny was recently presented with a new cap and it was placed on his coffin during his funeral service.

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In those days, we didn’t go into Port Melbourne where he would have The passenger announcements were clear, concise and accurate.

Reminiscences of Cable Trams in Melbourne. He was the trammie’s trammie; he was the one btes was renowned for guiding his vehicle safely and slowly, much as he talked.

Lenny Bates – 16 August 1930 – 27 December 2011

Lenny was still driving his beloved trams until a few weeks before his death. When invited to reflect upon his long career in interview, the normally slow rhythm of Bates’ voice sped up as he recalled favourite moments.

Story objects Previous Next. A guard of honour was formed outside the chapel to farewell Len on his final journey.


His favourite tram was the W-Class. In a recent interview he recalled that, “I thought these W-Class trams would still be here for the rest of my life”. Stats for nerds Gen time: When he was there I let him go, but he enjoyed it. He was a ripper. Recollections and images of the Preston Workshop. He’s used to travel with me in Collins Street, so– so I had no microphone then, so I just let him call out with his voice.

He enjoyed doing that.

Fairfax Photos – Lenny Bates at Kew Tram

Inspectors on an early electric tram. Bates smiled to himself as the blind boy called the streets correctly, relying on the movement of the tram to indicate the crossings. The following tribute by historian Robert Pascoe recently appeared in newspapers. A traditional trammie who took trsm job professionally and seriously yet could be relied upon for a quiet joke and good companionship.

He knew where he was. His colleagues spoke of the great affection that the travelling public had for Lenny. Introduction to Melbourne Trams: In fact, trammie mythology asserts that the furtherest Bates ever ventured from Richmond was Geelong.

Lenny was recently presented with a new cap and it was placed on his coffin during his funeral service. Ormond tram after an accident, Sorry to bump this thread up again but I was just playing around on google maps whilst bored at work and if you look on the corner of High St and Barkers Road in Kew you can see Lenny standing there infront of the Caltex waiting for his tram.


Loitering in darkest Somewhere. It leaves a great hole in our industry when we lose people like Lenny”. Waves of migration in the Trammie workforce. I don’t see him around very much these days. Bates was born, raised and lived in Richmond, a suburb whose residents traditionally did not own a car.

The only difficulty for women was the hand brake on the W-Class tram, “back in the old days”. Bates walked or trammed to work at the nearby Kew Depot and rarely travelled far from his home turf.

Lenny Bates was still driving trams until a few weeks before he died, of pancreatic cancer, on 27 December, at the bbates of Lenny receives a final hram of applause from colleagues and admirers after the memorial service.