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Author Topic: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams  (Read 13080 times)

Offline SurfRail

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Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« on: April 24, 2012, 02:59:15 PM »
Somebody has taken the time to plot the old routes out in PNG format.  The only system map I can remember having seen was one from the time, so this is a fairly useful pair of images.

Spot the obvious similarities to current bus routes where trolleybuses and trams previously operated...

The route numbering was based on suffixes - short workings had increasing route numbers based on where along the route they turned back (ie the services to Mt Gravatt would have been #9 runs - 39, 49, 59 etc).



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Offline #Metro

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2012, 03:30:23 PM »
What is the link to these images? Reference? Who made them?

They look nice, and look at the Toowong tram - nice and straight, unlike the legacy route mess that the 470 is today when it does occasional trips out the back of Toowong.
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Offline Jonas Jade

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2012, 03:39:42 PM »
What was the service frequency like on the trams back in the day?

Offline SurfRail

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2012, 04:02:17 PM »
What is the link to these images? Reference? Who made them?

They look nice, and look at the Toowong tram - nice and straight, unlike the legacy route mess that the 470 is today when it does occasional trips out the back of Toowong.

The Wiki article is "Trams in Brisbane":  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trams_in_Brisbane

The images are linked from their location on Wikimedia - there will be an attribution/author name somewhere if you search through.

Isn't it fascinating how the southside one in particular matches the BUZ/HFP routes now:
100 and 120 BUZ = 71 tram
111/130/140/150 BUZ = no antecedent as these are new suburbs/corridors post-1969
180 BUZ = Cavendish Rd trolleybus (can't remember the route numbers for these)
196/199 BUZ, CityGlider = 77 and 78 tram, eastern half of 76 tram (Commercial Rd)
200/222 BUZ = 06 tram

Guess which of the depicted former southside tram routes I haven't mentioned, and whose bus replacements we have coincidentally been banging on about recently?

Virtually all the southside trolleybus network has featured in BUZing proposals from us at some point too.
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colinw

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2012, 04:08:26 PM »
Cavendish Road & Gregory Tce trolleybus routes were converted tram lines as well.

I find it amazing that this relatively modest system (compared to Melbourne or Sydney) managed to carry nearly 150 million passengers a year in the 1940s.

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2012, 04:14:44 PM »
100 and 120 BUZ = 71 tram
No cigar!

Much closer to the 124, which now runs hourly, generally.

Offline #Metro

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2012, 04:19:44 PM »
Quote
Virtually all the southside trolleybus network has featured in BUZing proposals from us at some point too.

Well I think it is much harder and costlier to make legacy routes out of trams because it is expensive and awful to do. Imagine trying to run 232 as a tram service - impossible to put all those dog legs in and expensive.

This, by default, largely restricts trams to main arterial roads as well and FORCES them to be in straight alignments. This inflexibility means that they have to, incidentally, conform to CFN principles. This suggests that the high ridership of trams, while perhaps partly due to cultural perceptions, may also simply be due to straight alignments and network simplicity.

Cars were much more unaffordable then, which would mean that traffic congestion would be less of a problem. Culturally the tram would be more acceptable too. Today, car traffic is everywhere...
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Offline SurfRail

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2012, 04:47:45 PM »
Quote
Virtually all the southside trolleybus network has featured in BUZing proposals from us at some point too.

Well I think it is much harder and costlier to make legacy routes out of trams because it is expensive and awful to do. Imagine trying to run 232 as a tram service - impossible to put all those dog legs in and expensive.

This, by default, largely restricts trams to main arterial roads as well and FORCES them to be in straight alignments. This inflexibility means that they have to, incidentally, conform to CFN principles. This suggests that the high ridership of trams, while perhaps partly due to cultural perceptions, may also simply be due to straight alignments and network simplicity.

Cars were much more unaffordable then, which would mean that traffic congestion would be less of a problem. Culturally the tram would be more acceptable too. Today, car traffic is everywhere...

Tramlines also featured (not surprisingly) the highest densities of residential development and suburban high-street type commercial areas.  Brisbane would simply not have developed in the directions it did without the trams being there to begin with.  Cheaper to run than buses at the time, a hell of a lot cleaner and much less scope for accidents (indeed many motormen were not licensed to drive and on being cascaded into bus driving jobs many came to grief not long after starting...)

Mode is not so relevant these days with clean(er) IC engines and mainline electric trains, but at the time it would have been significant - steam trains and petrol buses vs electric trolleybuses and trams.

The BUZ network and busways are basically the outgrowth of the tram system in planning terms, particularly on the southside. 

I find it particularly interesting that the 77 and 78 tram route pairings on either side of town in 1961 so closely match the 196 and 199 today.  Before 2006, they were less alike, because you had the 191/193 (which was Teneriffe to Fairfield Gardens) and the 190/194 (Merthyr to New Farm), basically the opposite.
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Offline kazzac

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2012, 06:01:22 PM »
I'm not old enough to remember the trams but I wish that we still had them here in Brisbane.Balmoral 60/70 is now the 230 route ,the next route that needs to be ''BUZED''.! However I do remember when Salisbury 71 was bus routes 171 or 181  which are now 124 or 125,also 79 Mt Gravatt used to be bus routes 169/189 now 174/175.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 09:58:45 PM by kazzac »
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Online ozbob

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2012, 06:03:47 PM »
From the past --> Brisbane:  Forty years since the trams went silent
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colinw

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2012, 07:32:59 PM »
Whatever happened to this plan from 2007?

Beattie announced trams for Brisbane (reprising the abandoned 1997 BrizTram and 1998-2001 Brisbane Light Rail) projects.  Campbell Newman as mayor supported it.

Then ... nothing.

My suspicion: Anna became Premier and wasn't nearly as enthusiastic about LRT as Peter Beattie and his railfan Transport Minister Paul Lucas (who was an ARHS member, maybe still is).  Back in 1997, when Borbidge first announced the BrizTram LRT from UQ via West End to Valley & New Farm, by far the most vocal opposition came from the West End area and the Member for South Brisbane.

Offline Jonno

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2012, 08:21:21 PM »
Can you just imagine what a different Ciity Brisbane would be if we kept our trams and expansed them over time instead of destroying suburb after suburb with freeways and road expansions. 

We would have a dense vibrant city instead of one dominated by cars and their noise,  pollution and dangers.

Bus Lane the Buz's and then convert to Light Rail in dedicated ROW with traffic signal control technology.     

Offline #Metro

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2012, 08:48:48 PM »
Quote
Can you just imagine what a different Ciity Brisbane would be if we kept our trams and expansed them over time instead of destroying suburb after suburb with freeways and road expansions.

We would have a dense vibrant city instead of one dominated by cars and their noise,  pollution and dangers.

Bus Lane the Buz's and then convert to Light Rail in dedicated ROW with traffic signal control technology.     

I'm actually glad the trams are gone. They're class C ROW. Enough said.
Without them, we have an opportunity to build something faster and better in class B or A row - none of this dealing with legacy issues.
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Offline Jonno

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2012, 08:54:16 PM »
Quote
Can you just imagine what a different Ciity Brisbane would be if we kept our trams and expansed them over time instead of destroying suburb after suburb with freeways and road expansions.

We would have a dense vibrant city instead of one dominated by cars and their noise,  pollution and dangers.

Bus Lane the Buz's and then convert to Light Rail in dedicated ROW with traffic signal control technology.     

I'm actually glad the trams are gone. They're class C ROW. Enough said.
Without them, we have an opportunity to build something faster and better in class B or A row - none of this dealing with legacy issues.

Plenty of examples of trams in Class B ROW.  Leaving them in Class C ROW is a choice not a mandatory requirement.

Offline Jonno

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2012, 09:14:22 PM »







colinw

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2012, 09:26:16 PM »
Can you just imagine what a different Ciity Brisbane would be if we kept our trams and expansed them over time instead of destroying suburb after suburb with freeways and road expansions. 

No need to imagine. Just visit Melbourne.  In many ways the successful & vibrant Melbourne tramways are a child of the Brisbane tramways.

What is that, you say?

Consider two factors:

1. The now standard method of laying high quality, durable tram track, set in mass concrete, was developed by the Brisbane Tramways Trust.
2. The great defender & leader of the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board from 1949 to 1970, Major General Sir Robert Risson, was a Queenslander. Born in Grantham, educated at Gatton State High & Uni of Qld, then joined the Brisbane Tramways Trust (where that new method of laying track in mass concrete was developed). Under his control, the Melbourne tramways survived and prospered where all other systems withered & died.

Yes, I admit there is a bit of parochial conceit in the assertions above, but there was a huge Brisbane tramways influence on the development & survival of the Melbourne system. Which makes it all the sadder that our technically advanced system with its high quality track did not survive.

So, to imagine Brisbane still with trams look no further than Melbourne, but with unique Queensland factors thrown in.

Here is my "what if" fantasy.

There would still be a Freeway network, the momentum toward that would have been inevitable.

The impetus toward an electric suburban rail system would have been slowed but not halted. There would still be a 25KV AC CityTrain system. Some novel technical solutions would have been required where the 600V DC Brisbane Transport Tramways intersected the 25KV AC QR CityTrain lines.

Trams would have undergone an evolution toward larger and more capable vehicles during the 1970s, but probably still retaining the distinctive pointed nose and single headlamp.  The 1970s would have seen a major build of larger & more modern trams, but still with a high floor. The new trams would have been pantograph equipped, and toward the end of the decade a retrofit program would have equipped the remaining older trams with pantographs (to the disgust of purists).

Through the 1980s there would have been minor system closures and extensions, but over all the system would have marked time, at the same time as there was a major expansion of suburban rail and outer suburban bus routes.  The Mt Gravatt line would have extended to Garden City, and perhaps an extension of the Stafford line might have occurred. Minor lines like Rainworth may have closed. There would have been occasional calls for closure or major trimming of the system, but with patronage creeping upward from a low point around 1975 these calls would have been ignored.

By the 1990s, modern low floor European trams would have arrived, along with major changes to the system image. Imagine the familiar blue, white & yellow Brisbane Transport livery, but on a low floor European made tram (or local copy thereof).

By 2000 there would have been concerted moves toward high quality right of way, including a LIGHT RAIL line shadowing the South East Freeway. The Trams & LRT would be carrying TransLink livery, and have onboard Go Card readers.

Rail Back on Track would be hosting vigorous debates about improving the tram ROW quality, traffic light priority, etc.  There would be vigorously fought debates about whether the South East Light Rail should have been built as Heavy Rail instead, and what to do with it when it extends to Springwood & Loganholme as it is too long a line to be LRT.

Someone would post a thread asking "what would have happened if Clem Jones had proceeded with his bold plan to close the tramways"?
« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 10:43:40 PM by colinw »

Offline #Metro

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2012, 09:30:40 PM »
Trams are Legacy. I'm glad they're gone. The Melbourne system has massive problems with disability access and speed issues because you can't overtake. The stop spacing is terrible but nostalgia and "save the legacy routing" pressure means that it is extremely difficult to cut stops.

We have a clean slate to start from. Light Rail (not a tram) with proper electrification in Class B or Class A ROW, rather than running on the street. We can also have new track technologies such as LR55 track.

By the way, St. Clair Avenue in Toronto is not light rail. It is rapid streetcar - the stop spacing is not that of LRT, so it is still very slow and therefore does not quality as Rapid Transit.
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Offline SurfRail

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2012, 09:34:24 PM »
I'm actually glad the trams are gone. They're class C ROW. Enough said.
Without them, we have an opportunity to build something faster and better in class B or A row - none of this dealing with legacy issues.

There was plenty of reserve running, and every effort could have been made to increase the proportion on runs like Gympie Rd, Old Cleveland Rd, Ipswich Rd etc.

Certainly would not have worked everywhere, but then again the roads where traffic congestion is really bad (ie those 3 for instance) are the roads where you would have had reserve running and other routes like the West End services would not have suffered the same problems. 

We would not have had the problem Melbourne has where so many routes run on basically 2-lane suburban streets like Sydney Rd which carry huge traffic volumes, despite the "Melbourne has wide streets everywhere" myth.  Most of the southside routes ran on nice wide roads, and the lines up to Chermside and Enoggera were the same.  The inner city runs would not have required Class B except on busier stretches like Ann Street.

I think there is a role for them to play in future in the inner city, but I think virtually everybody is agreed that there is no point converting the busways to line haul LRT.
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Offline Jonno

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2012, 09:43:44 PM »
Agree the SE freeway would still have been built but we might now be considering removing it as the car oriented south would have developed differently.

Offline kazzac

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2012, 10:00:53 PM »
100 and 120 BUZ = 71 tram
No cigar!

Much closer to the 124, which now runs hourly, generally.
124, closest route to my workplace but too infrequent so I dont use it
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Offline Jonno

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2012, 10:04:19 PM »
Light metro for Busways and other freeway conversions. Light rail for main roads.

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2012, 10:49:19 PM »
There was plenty of reserve running, and every effort could have been made to increase the proportion on runs like Gympie Rd, Old Cleveland Rd, Ipswich Rd etc.

Chermside, Mt Gravatt, Belmont and Salisbury lines all had significant stretches of reserve running with minimal traffic conflicts. The Salisbury line even had railway style ballasted track at the outer end.  Compared to Melbourne there was a lot less running in shared traffic lanes.

Chermside line:


Mt Gravatt line:


Belmont line:


Victoria bridge:


Offline O_128

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2012, 12:27:15 AM »
The thing I like most about the melbourne tram system is that it activates the areas out of th CBD, had we still had trams I imagine carina, chermside would be totally different.
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Offline kazzac

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2012, 06:51:41 AM »
In OC Road ,Carina the tram tracks are still there in the main shopping strip, in the Belmont Line photo.
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somebody

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2012, 08:29:45 PM »
Every picture of Brisbane's trams I have ever seen shows a single car.

Offline Golliwog

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2012, 11:20:10 PM »
Every picture of Brisbane's trams I have ever seen shows a single car.
Did they run as more than one car? I wasn't around when BNE had trams, but as a kid I used to walk past the Ferny Grove tramway museum all the time to get to school/shops (before they built the Great Western anyway) and never noticed any trams that weren't single cars. Though I must admit as a kid I never looked closely.
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Online ozbob

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #26 on: April 27, 2012, 03:17:59 AM »
In Melbourne 50s and 60s and I cannot recall any multiple trams either.  They always ran as single units as far as I can recall.

Expect same in Brisbane.
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colinw

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #27 on: April 27, 2012, 09:15:34 AM »
There was never any multiple unit operation on the Brisbane system.

AFAIK about the only multiple operation on any of the "classic" tram systems was the H class on Adelaide's Glenelg line, which can run as a pair.  Not sure about Sydney?
« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 09:21:45 AM by colinw »

Online ozbob

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #28 on: April 27, 2012, 09:54:32 AM »
Sydney,  O-type Trams had multiple unit controls (very progressive for a 1908 tram),  they ran as multiple units at times.

There are reports of doubles running on the Watson's bay line and others.



Article --> here!

In tandem - tram in Elizabeth Street, Sydney



Two doubles in Sydney

« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 10:06:48 AM by ozbob »
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Offline Myrtonos

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #29 on: July 26, 2013, 04:03:28 PM »
A tram fan moved from Montreal to Brisbane shortly before the former gave up it's last trams. In 1961 when Clem Jones was running for Lord Mayor, this tram fan wrote a letter as follows:

Dear Mister Jones,
You seriously couldn't be suggesting replacing our trams by buses, there is no substatial difference in inital cost of new trams and new buses, and the tram infrastructure is perfectly serviceable, well-maintained and has had a great deal of money spent on it. To even suggest that it's worth using buses instead suggests you don't know how unloved buses will be and how long the minimum service lives of buses are compared to trams, you also don't realised that your buses will need dediceted lanes to be a seirous compeditor with trams. Your point that it's worth removing trams from the tracks and replacing them with buses just so that the new vehicles can go wherever there is a road is clearly challaged by the need for dedicated bus lanes in order for buses to be a true compeditor to trams. Many more extensions were projected before you were elected.

Offline joninbrisbane

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #30 on: July 26, 2013, 06:16:18 PM »
I wonder what Mr Jones' response was?

Offline hU0N

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #31 on: August 09, 2013, 07:06:22 PM »
I was just browsing this thread, and clicked on the Wiki link.  I noticed something that I found a bit odd.

It states that ridership on the tram network declined steadily from 148m trips per year in 1946 to 64m trips per year in 1968 (ie an annual decline of 3.8m trips per year).  It then states that after 1948, it was no longer profitable.

How is it possible that a system carrying 140m trips per year can be unprofitable?  I mean, that amounts to each and every vehicle running a load factor of 2, all day, every day, which is huge.  How can that kind of system lose money?

Offline hU0N

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #32 on: August 09, 2013, 07:07:42 PM »
I was just browsing this thread, and clicked on the Wiki link.  I noticed something that I found a bit odd.

It states that ridership on the tram network declined steadily from 148m trips per year in 1946 to 64m trips per year in 1968 (ie an annual decline of 3.8m trips per year).  It then states that after 1948, it was no longer profitable.

How is it possible that a system carrying 140m trips per year can be unprofitable?  I mean, that amounts to each and every vehicle running a load factor of 2, all day, every day, which is huge.  How can that kind of system lose money?

Specifically, it sources the info to the "Brisbane 150 stories" book that was put out a few years back.  Has anyone got a copy that can shed some light?

Offline Myrtonos

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #33 on: August 30, 2013, 10:36:43 PM »
Somebody has taken the time to plot the old routes out in PNG format.  The only system map I can remember having seen was one from the time, so this is a fairly useful pair of images.

Spot the obvious similarities to current bus routes where trolleybuses and trams previously operated...

The route numbering was based on suffixes - short workings had increasing route numbers based on where along the route they turned back (ie the services to Mt Gravatt would have been #9 runs - 39, 49, 59 etc).

I looked at the map and notcetid that there was only one river crossing on the entire network in spite of the extensive trackage both North and South of the river, and the existance of two other bridges over the river. One wonder, given that those bridges long predate the election of Clem Jones, why tram tracks were never laid across them, lookt at the map, I imagine an orbital tram route circling the northern suburbs (passing through Enoggera, though Stafford along Stafford road, Eagle junction, through Ascot) crossing both the Willam Jolly and Storey Bridges and passing through Dutton park. It would circle around the perimeter of the Northern portion of the tramway nework except for the outer sections of Western suburban lines and the line to Chermside and Kalinga. Has anyone here, in particual local tram fans imagined anything similar when look at those maps?
« Last Edit: August 30, 2013, 11:05:37 PM by Myrtonos »

Offline #Metro

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #34 on: August 30, 2013, 10:49:17 PM »
Quote
How is it possible that a system carrying 140m trips per year can be unprofitable?  I mean, that amounts to each and every vehicle running a load factor of 2, all day, every day, which is huge.  How can that kind of system lose money?

Easy. Brisbane City Council ran it. Get the joke?  :)
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Offline bcasey

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #35 on: September 02, 2013, 09:47:39 AM »
I was born a couple of decades after the trams were removed, and only been to melbourne when I was little, so I've never really experienced them in operational use before. Until seeing that map that was posted at the start of this thread, I didn't realize how extensive the tram network was back in those days. Its a huge pity that they were removed, I'd imagine Brisbane would have been a very different city if they were still operating.

Online ozbob

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #36 on: September 02, 2013, 11:30:42 AM »
Sure would have been.  Brisbane Trams were amazing.  During their peak period 1940-50s in Brisbane they carried more pax than bus and rail today, and that was not a big network in Brisbane.  Route length was only 100 km or so.  A lot of people didn't have cars, didn't really need them. 

I lived in Windsor Melbourne for a while as a boy. Albert St, not far from Chapel Street and a short stroll to St Kilda Junction. We never had cars, we had access to trams in Chapel Street, and the heavy rail at Windsor rail station.  Had a bicycle.  That is all we needed.
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Offline Myrtonos

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #37 on: September 02, 2013, 12:07:50 PM »
Were bicycles allowed on trains when you were a child? They are now, though our trains unfortunately still don't have bike racks even though our trains all have stepless entires and all stations of course have platforms.

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Re: Of Blessed Memory - Brisbane's Trams
« Reply #38 on: September 02, 2013, 12:30:04 PM »
Were bicycles allowed on trains when you were a child? They are now, though our trains unfortunately still don't have bike racks even though our trains all have stepless entires and all stations of course have platforms.

I vaguely recall they were, but not in the normal passenger compartments.  The Taits had multiple swing doors and were not really suitable for bicycles.  You could take them into the 'guards compartments'.  Not necessarily with the guard but they had some compartments that were useful for prams and bicycles and these did not have active train control equipment.



I used to ride my bicycle to St Kilda pier and go fishing often.  I do remember catching a tram home with the bicycle some times, particularly at night and wet .. lol   I think officially was not allowed but the conductors were flexible about such matters!
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