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Tram Café officially open

The launch of a historic new training space at William Angliss Institute's Melbourne campus serves up opportunities for students to gain new skills.

Our newest industry-simulating learning facility, the Tram Café, was officially launched on 27 November 2023 by The Hon. Gayle Tierney, Minister for Skills and TAFE and Minister for Regional Development.

Built inside a restored and refurbished W5 class tram, it's the newest – and oldest - cafe on the block, as the tram was originally built between 1935 and 1939. This was the same time as William Angliss Institute was being built, ready to open in 1940. It even travelled along route 30, up and down La Trobe Street, so it's not hard to imagine that the tram might have shuttled some of the first students to what was then the William Angliss Food Trades School.

Now, in its new home, the Tram Café is open to both students and the public, offering dine-in and takeaway services for coffee, drinks and student-made patisserie and bakery products (including sweet treats) during semester. If you happen to visit on the day of a chocolate making class, you're in luck! As well as a classroom, it doubles as a function space that will eventually be available for hire by the community for pop-up events. Patrons can even buy our special blends of coffee beans, thanks to our partnership with Veneziano Coffee Roasters.

For details about opening days and hours, visit the Tram Café page under the Dine and Conference menu above.

A space for learning

The Tram Café is the newest in a list of training facilities that simulate industry working environments, such as our Angliss Restaurant, the Bistro, and our hotel accommodation suites. The tram is the final stage of a package of $4.1 million worth of works through the TAFE Asset Maintenance Fund to support the hospitality training industry and joins our new Gelateria and Chocolateria training facilities.

As an education space it will provide practical cafe and food truck experience to Cookery and Hospitality students. Tourism and Event Management students will also benefit with the chance to develop skills in business and day-to-day cafe operations such as marketing and delivering events.

About our tram

William Angliss Institute's Tram Café is a retired W5 tram, number 764, part of the W-class tram design produced by the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board. The heritage tram came to Angliss as part of the Retired Trams Strategy led by VicTrack. It was one of only 120 W5 trams built in the late 1930s, with its distinctive green and gold design becoming an Australian icon.

The W-class trams were introduced to Melbourne in 1923, with 752 vehicles produced until 1956. Most were removed from service in the 1990s, but a handful are still used as tourist trams. Built in Melbourne, they quickly became a symbol of the city, though some variants were sent to cities such as Copenhagen, San Francisco, Savannah and Seattle. Those that remain in Melbourne, are classified by the National Trust of Australia.

In addition to the number 764, our tram boasts the number 30, signifying the La Trobe Street route 30 which was among those it travelled while in operation. From its new home in the campus courtyard at 555 La Trobe Street it will see the new trams go past and be visible from Melbourne's City Circle trams. Visitors to the Tram Café can ding the bell, which is still functioning and was rung by Minister Tierney as part of the launch festivities to signify our newest training retail outlet was officially open for business. There's even an old conductors' uniform donated by Melbourne Tram Museum.

* Tram 764 at St Kilda Junction mid-1960's, photo by Charles Craig

Inside the tram, restoration works were conducted by Bendigo's Heritage Rail Workshop over 12-18 months, before being craned into place. After its refurbishment, it now features coffee machines and a retail area at one end and seats customers (and classes) at booth-style tables at the other. Outside, a new terrace offers visitors and students a place to enjoy the campus, complete with seating, umbrellas and garden beds featuring edible flowers and herbs. Don't be surprised if you see a cookery, bakery or patisserie student picking something for a recipe or garnish.

We encourage potential students, coffee aficionados and the community to visit the Tram Café to support students in their learning journey.

Published 30 November 2023