Iconic Melbourne trams contain asbestos flooring

7 Sep 2017 by under News
800px W6 Melbourne tram Nicholson Street 100x100 Iconic Melbourne trams contain asbestos flooring

Credit: Dysprosia

Three of Melbourne, ’s iconic W-Class trams, which regularly carry tourists along routes around the city, have failed routine inspections due to asbestos-containing flooring.

W-Class trams have been preserved through the National Trust of Australia to maintain a portion of the country’s transportation history. They were first created in 1923 and more than 750 were built to expand Melbourne’s tramway system until 1956. The remaining operational trams, a part of a historic fleet serving tourists in the city, have since been upgraded for safety and remain a cultural icon.

According to the Herald Sun, asbestos was found in flooring material that was sealed and covered. City officials were aware the trams could contain asbestos-tainted materials due to their age. “Safety is our priority and we took immediate action to ensure the wellbeing of our employees,” Spokesman Simon Murphy told the news source. “We have received expert advice that the material is considered low risk.”

A program to refurbish the trams is underway and none of the five trams refurbishment has already been completed on were found to contain asbestos. However, asbestos is appearing elsewhere in the country’s tram systems. Last February cement sheeting used in flooring for four new electrical substations contained asbestos imported from China. Something similar also happened in substations in 2015.

Asbestos, a human carcinogen linked to the development of cancers including lung cancer and mesothelioma, has been banned in Australia since 2003, but as MyMeso has previously reported, Chinese imports containing asbestos still pose a health threat as do aging buildings and forms of transportation that contain it.


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