The FM class – one of a kind

Monthly news from the Brisbane Tramway Museum and the Ferny Grove Men’s Shed

In the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, the latest Brisbane trams were hailed worldwide as leaders in design. This was the FM Class—so named because for the first time, trams had Four Motors (FM) instead of the usual one at each end. The BCC started building this class in 1938 and over 150 were built over the following 3 decades . Together with their predecessors—the Drop Centres—these became the backbone of Brisbane’s growing tram fleet. They carried 110 passengers (as did the Drop Centres), 64 being seated. The design featured sharply curved ends to facilitate passing on curves, air brakes, windup/down windows and canvas doors/blinds at each entrance.

With the 4 motors in operation, these trams were quite fast and folk-lore has it that one left Chermside Terminus (where the major shopping centre is located) and arrived at Light Street Depot (in Wickham Street about 1 kilometre beyond the Valley Baths) in just 11 minutes!

The museum has the very first FM to be built—tram #400 which is still undergoing restoration and 429 which sees regular service on our normal open days. Several other trams of this model are in our storage shed.

Our Tram Simulator is up and running technically and Men’s Shed members are building the driving cabin in which it will be installed.

Soon, the Men of The Forest will re-commence the upgrading of our gardens, planting species which would have been native to our land ‘back when’ .

The museum has recently played host to the local SES group for their Chain-Saw accreditation program being well away from houses. The noise factor is no problem on our grounds.

The museum would like to have more crew members being trained. Anyone interested can contact the museum on 3351 1776. The museum is open to the public every Sunday afternoon from 12.30 (Weather permitting). Tickets are Adult $14.00, Concession $11.00, children $7.00 and family $42.00, providing unlimited rides on 6 different trams.

Visit their website for more details at

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