A big factor contributing to retention of most trams in cities that still have them

 
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
A little over nine years ago, a thread was started on Memphis. The original post claimed that the U.S has a fixation on buses --actually, this is a general North American thing. There was a lot of discussion about what brought down trams in North America --it also happened in Canada, Mexico and all other North American countries.
It was also noted that the trend away from trams began before National City lines was founded and that the experience in Melbourne was different from other Australian cities, well actually, other cities in Oceania. Our tramway network is one of the few surviving first-generation ones that is primarily street running.
Practically the entire tramway network of New Orleans is on reserved track in the medians of their boulevards, as is most of Boston's network. Boston also has some underground running in the busiest part of the urban area as do Philadelphia and Newark, and both Pittsburgh and San Francisco have tram tunnels through large hills, all this underground running practically guaranteed that trams would remain.
That of Toronto is another surviving one without using these alternatives, and the only survivor in the western hemisphere like that, and the experience there appears to be similar to Melbourne.

It is actually the same with most surviving tramways of Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, including most of the European tram systems listed here, like St. Petersberg, Prague, Budapest, Moscow and Warsaw. They all use considerable alternatives to street running, keep in mind both absolute and relative figures.

Sponsored advertisement

  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Most LR built today is segregated from road traffic to some degree with the exception of intersections, there will no going back to street running as we know in Mel for Greenfield projects.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
I don't believe that Melbourne's tramways were exactly greenfield projects when they were built, in the 19th century and early 20th century, the streets would have already been there before the rails were put in them.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I don't believe that Melbourne's tramways were exactly greenfield projects when they were built, in the 19th century and early 20th century, the streets would have already been there before the rails were put in them.
Myrtone
Not talking that far back in the era before safety. I'm referring to basically 1990's and beyond. If you look globally, many new tram lines especially i cities where there are no trams regardless if there was before are build on dedicated ROW out of traffic with minor exceptions for LX and turning. The Mel style won't happen again from new. Look at the LR expansions in Syd and Adelaide, mostly dedicated ROW out of traffic.

Why some systems or lines survived and others didn't gets down to very similar reasons.
- Adelaide kept is Glenelg line because it was mostly in it sown ROW due to its former life as a railway. It was then nicely truncated to Victoria Square (short of the main centre of the city) for a few decades to keep it away from road traffic.

- Sydney, the Inner west L1 was built ONLY because it was 95% a former railway and a short section through the city on a closed to road traffic ROW. The L2 line has been built on closed roads and segregated ROW and in some areas using a former tram ROW that is separated from road traffic. Its future extension will only follow the same corridor when trams and cars won't mix except when crossing intersections.

- GC line, pretty same thing.

- Dubai, ROW is separated from traffic with big signs stating $8000 fines for causing an accident with a tram.

Legacy lines in Mel and EU are a bit different.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
- Sydney, the Inner west L1 was built ONLY because it was 95% a former railway and a short section through the city on a closed to road traffic ROW. The L2 line has been built on closed roads and segregated ROW and in some areas using a former tram ROW that is separated from road traffic. Its future extension will only follow the same corridor when trams and cars won't mix except when crossing intersections.
RTT_Rules
You could be dramatic say that the L1 is a downgrade from heavy rail albeit no pax services ran on that line at the time (and IMO its better as an LR service than what a HR would look like).
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Most LR built today is segregated from road traffic to some degree with the exception of intersections, there will no going back to street running as we know in Mel for Greenfield projects.
RTT_Rules
Untrue, Adelaide just completed a line alone North Terrace that is entirely street running.

Unlikely to go ahead now but the former Labor government here in South Australia had an extensive plan for tram lines from Blair Athol to Mitcham or Pasadena and from the Airport through to Kensington Gardens; all of it street-running. The Airport line has a lot of support and the Marshall government is being lobbied by the tourist industry to build it - makes sense really, in fact there was a tram line that went within 1km of the Airport entrance in the old legacy system.
  62430 Chief Train Controller

Location: Metro Adelaide
Most LR built today is segregated from road traffic to some degree with the exception of intersections, there will no going back to street running as we know in Mel for Greenfield projects.
RTT_Rules
Untrue, Adelaide just completed a line alone North Terrace that is entirely street running.

Unlikely to go ahead now but the for Labor government here in South Australia had an extensive plan for tram lines from Blair Athol to Mitcham or Pasadena and from the Airport through to Kensington Gardens; all of it street-running. The Airport line has a lot of support and the Marshall government is being lobbied by the tourist industry to build it - makes sense really, in fact there was a tram line that went within 1km of the Airport entrance in the old legacy system.
don_dunstan


All the LR in Adelaide CBD including the City East extension is now (as RTT_Rules describes) segregated with the exception of intersections.  The City South work this year eliminated the shared tram/other traffic lanes in King William St which would normally be described as street running.  The only street running in Adelaide is now Jetty Rd in Glenelg.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Most LR built today is segregated from road traffic to some degree with the exception of intersections, there will no going back to street running as we know in Mel for Greenfield projects.
Untrue, Adelaide just completed a line alone North Terrace that is entirely street running.

Unlikely to go ahead now but the for Labor government here in South Australia had an extensive plan for tram lines from Blair Athol to Mitcham or Pasadena and from the Airport through to Kensington Gardens; all of it street-running. The Airport line has a lot of support and the Marshall government is being lobbied by the tourist industry to build it - makes sense really, in fact there was a tram line that went within 1km of the Airport entrance in the old legacy system.


All the LR in Adelaide CBD including the City East extension is now (as RTT_Rules describes) segregated with the exception of intersections.  The City South work this year eliminated the shared tram/other traffic lanes in King William St which would normally be described as street running.  The only street running in Adelaide is now Jetty Rd in Glenelg.
62430
In the context of the thread I thought the original poster was talking about strictly separated from all traffic entirely in its own reservation like the Glenleg line from Greenhill Road to Bay Road verses the new parts laid in the middle of North Terrace etc. Compared to that kind of structure I'd still say Adelaide has 'street running' along North Terrace and Port Road; the line still runs along the median of a road and there's plenty of opportunity to collide with pedestrians, cyclist and cars at every intersection they pass through... and unfortunately they do. That's how I'd define 'street running' anyway.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Most LR built today is segregated from road traffic to some degree with the exception of intersections, there will no going back to street running as we know in Mel for Greenfield projects.
Untrue, Adelaide just completed a line alone North Terrace that is entirely street running.

Unlikely to go ahead now but the for Labor government here in South Australia had an extensive plan for tram lines from Blair Athol to Mitcham or Pasadena and from the Airport through to Kensington Gardens; all of it street-running. The Airport line has a lot of support and the Marshall government is being lobbied by the tourist industry to build it - makes sense really, in fact there was a tram line that went within 1km of the Airport entrance in the old legacy system.


All the LR in Adelaide CBD including the City East extension is now (as RTT_Rules describes) segregated with the exception of intersections.  The City South work this year eliminated the shared tram/other traffic lanes in King William St which would normally be described as street running.  The only street running in Adelaide is now Jetty Rd in Glenelg.
In the context of the thread I thought the original poster was talking about strictly separated from all traffic entirely in its own reservation like the Glenleg line from Greenhill Road to Bay Road verses the new parts laid in the middle of North Terrace etc. Compared to that kind of structure I'd still say Adelaide has 'street running' along North Terrace and Port Road; the line still runs along the median of a road and there's plenty of opportunity to collide with pedestrians, cyclist and cars at every intersection they pass through... and unfortunately they do. That's how I'd define 'street running' anyway.
don_dunstan
Hi
In the context I was referring to 62430 is correct in what I meant, its basically "street running but mostly segregated albeit by a yellow line" for most of the corridor. Not mixed in a common traffic lane, this approach is legacy and will not be expanded.  

Adelaide main roads are generally very wide and in most cases can easily handle expansion of the LR network either using the median or taking a traffic lane because Adelaide's traffic and congestion is far from significant compared to the east coast.

What there will not be more of is Melbourne's Sydney Road style tram in traffic lane.

Don,
Totally agree with the plan to extend the tram network to the airport (actually a branch off Henley Beach line) and I would support fed funding (~$700M Fed + ~200M state funded over 3 years, I'm sure both could find the money), I'm sure both govts could find the money) for this project on the basis the Fed's will be paying for the Melbourne Airport railway and have contributed to the Perth Airport line. Adelaide has no HR close to the airport nor is it justified but a mix of express and all stopper commuter trams to the airport would be a lower cost more practical alternative. The current LNP govt's intolerance to the LR expansion is out of step with community expectations and will likely follow Tony Abbott out of politics.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
In the context I was referring to 62430 is correct in what I meant, its basically "street running but mostly segregated albeit by a yellow line" for most of the corridor. Not mixed in a common traffic lane, this approach is legacy and will not be expanded.
RTT_Rules
More on that below.

Adelaide main roads are generally very wide and in most cases can easily handle expansion of the LR network either using the median or taking a traffic lane because Adelaide's traffic and congestion is far from significant compared to the east coast.
RTT_Rules
This raises the question of why their previous tramways, apart from a single line, didn't survive.

What there will not be more of is Melbourne's Sydney Road style tram in traffic lane.
RTT_Rules
I believe that places, where trams run in the traffic lane, are on streets that pre-date even first-generation tramways. Things would be a lot different today had suburbs like Brunswick and Coburg been built with trams in mind.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

This raises the question of why their previous tramways, apart from a single line, didn't survive.
Myrtone
The same reason that lots of 'classic' tramways around the world didn't survive at a similar time - they were subject to extreme under-investment during World War 2 (though without the violent destruction which happened in other places) and the lean years afterwards, and replacement with buses was easier than getting the old tram lines back up to spec.

The question to be answered is more around why Melbourne's trams bucked the general trend.

The reason that the Glenelg line did not face the same fate is that it was the first modern tramway in the world largely on its own alignment with only limited segments of street running. It was also the first example in the world of a railway being rebuilt as a tramway, a fact which probably saved it from being closed completely if it was still a railway by the time the Great Depression (the other line to Glenelg was proposed for conversion but instead closed) or WW2 came around. Both aspects have since been copied around the world, including in parts of Melbourne.
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

Another advantage of Glenelg was converting steam to electric.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
This raises the question of why their previous tramways, apart from a single line, didn't survive.
The same reason that lots of 'classic' tramways around the world didn't survive at a similar time - they were subject to extreme under-investment during World War 2 (though without the violent destruction which happened in other places) and the lean years afterwards, and replacement with buses was easier than getting the old tram lines back up to spec.

The question to be answered is more around why Melbourne's trams bucked the general trend.

The reason that the Glenelg line did not face the same fate is that it was the first modern tramway in the world largely on its own alignment with only limited segments of street running. It was also the first example in the world of a railway being rebuilt as a tramway, a fact which probably saved it from being closed completely if it was still a railway by the time the Great Depression (the other line to Glenelg was proposed for conversion but instead closed) or WW2 came around. Both aspects have since been copied around the world, including in parts of Melbourne.
justapassenger
Koln, Germany decided in their post war rebuild that trams no longer belonged on streets and upgraded their system to what we call LR today or at least it is now with the trams pushed underground in the city heart and then some street running to access what is segregated LR line, like Glenelg.

In Leipzig, you leave the city centre as per any traditional tram, then as you move out the track quality declines then reverts to a bumpy single track on the side of the road which suddenly diverts across the road onto a 80km/h segregated LR line for last 5km. This is the post Berlin Wall modern extension. They had the option of using the road, but decided not to.  

My view street running is not well suited to trams as its makes them painfully slow and buses in traffic perform much better. Perhaps its an outcome of modern safety limiting tram speeds. So I think for new projects the focus appears to be to remove the LR line from traffic for new projects.
  gunzel42 Locomotive Fireman

It is a shame that the North Terrace line to Glenelg was never converted to tramway.  These days it would have been a popular route into the CBD and would well and truly justified the conversion.  It would also have made an interesting interface at Mile End where the tramway intersected the ARTC line but would no doubt have been grade separated in the early 1980's when the standard gauge was introduced.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
My view street running is not well suited to trams as its makes them painfully slow and buses in traffic perform much better. Perhaps its an outcome of modern safety limiting tram speeds. So I think for new projects the focus appears to be to remove the LR line from traffic for new projects.
RTT_Rules
Narrow streets are not well suited to trams, and not even that well suited to rubber-tyred motor transport. As far as I know these streets were generally there before trams ran in them.

Lots of things are larger in North America than in most of Eurasia, distances are greater (especially in Canada), houses are larger, motorised vehicles are larger on average. Yet wide streets with median strips (and I mean those wide enough for reserved tram track) seem to be more common in tram savvy European countries than anywhere in the Americas.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

It is a shame that the North Terrace line to Glenelg was never converted to tramway.  These days it would have been a popular route into the CBD and would well and truly justified the conversion.  It would also have made an interesting interface at Mile End where the tramway intersected the ARTC line but would no doubt have been grade separated in the early 1980's when the standard gauge was introduced.
gunzel42
It would have been grade separated from the start, as the proposal was for it to turn away from the former railway route at South Road, to join the existing Hilton tram route that travelled north along South Road and then entered the city using Henley Beach Road (over the Bakewell Bridge constructed a few years before).

It would almost certainly have been closed in the 1950s, along with the other tram routes using Henley Beach Road. Having one tram line to Glenelg survive corrupt Tom Playford's deal with GM was lucky enough, having two would have been out of the question.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

… Yet wide streets with median strips (and I mean those wide enough for reserved tram track) seem to be more common in tram savvy European countries than anywhere in the Americas.
Myrtone
Ironically, the USA played a big role in creating many of the wide avenues seen in a number of European cities, with their WW2 bombing campaigns which were almost useless at hitting military targets.

Until the reconstruction efforts following WW2, the only reason to build a wide avenue in a city was to allow for troop movements and parades. But can you ever imagine installing a tram line on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées or The Mall?

The wide streets which have proven to be useful for dedicated tram lanes in Adelaide are an example of the latter - Adelaide was planned by the military engineer Colonel William Light who set out to design a defensible city. The hilltop location of North Adelaide (good for observation), the city squares (locations where units could assemble and artillery batteries could fire in all directions) and the parklands (free fire lanes) all owe their existence to the same original purpose.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
It's great to see Sydneysiders who, for years, sneered at Melbourne's trams, red-faced and dodging their own in George Street and Circular Quay.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
It is a shame that the North Terrace line to Glenelg was never converted to tramway.  These days it would have been a popular route into the CBD and would well and truly justified the conversion.  It would also have made an interesting interface at Mile End where the tramway intersected the ARTC line but would no doubt have been grade separated in the early 1980's when the standard gauge was introduced.
It would have been grade separated from the start, as the proposal was for it to turn away from the former railway route at South Road, to join the existing Hilton tram route that travelled north along South Road and then entered the city using Henley Beach Road (over the Bakewell Bridge constructed a few years before).

It would almost certainly have been closed in the 1950s, along with the other tram routes using Henley Beach Road. Having one tram line to Glenelg survive corrupt Tom Playford's deal with GM was lucky enough, having two would have been out of the question.
justapassenger
GM was already there by then, maybe it was Chrysler he promised to close the tram network for? Chrysler came much later around the same time as the last street-running trams in 1958 (from memory). Not a hundred percent sure if it was Playford's dealings with the car industry or just the thinking of the day - either way it was a shame as we had one of the most advanced networks here with wide streets and a lot of reservation running.

Sydney abandoned what was once the world's largest system at the same time, and then Brisbane rather late in 1969. Brisbane's closure was even more inexplicable because the system was extremely modern mostly with newer post PCC design fleet and largely set in concrete so most if is apparently still there under the road surface. Melbourne is just a freak of history really in that Premier Bolte was a bit ambivalent about the future of the tram system but MMTB head Robert Risson insisted on continued network and vehicle improvements until we finally get to Premier Dick Hamer in 1972 where the future of Melbourne's trams was assured under a new conservationist Victorian government; very progressive thinking for a traditionally conservative Liberal state.

I often wonder what would have happened if at least one other major network had stayed open in Australia - Melbourne wouldn't have had its 'tram central' badge and it might have influenced a more P/T based approach nationwide. Brisbane probably would have been the best candidate but Lord Mayor Clem Newton Brown hated trams and he sealed their fate.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
...

The wide streets which have proven to be useful for dedicated tram lanes in Adelaide are an example of the latter - Adelaide was planned by the military engineer Colonel William Light who set out to design a defensible city. The hilltop location of North Adelaide (good for observation), the city squares (locations where units could assemble and artillery batteries could fire in all directions) and the parklands (free fire lanes) all owe their existence to the same original purpose.
justapassenger
Never actually thought about that before but yeah, I guess it was in fact designed for quick assembly and evacuation (big squares, wide streets) and the fact that we could potentially mow down our invading French (presumably) enemies as they approached the CBD with a clear view of them from Montifiore Hill. The British were still finishing off several centuries of war with the French and Light being a military man it all makes sense to me that it was more about defence than looking good.

I often wonder what it would have been like if they'd bothered to construct the canal up Port Road to the city; could have been a tourist attraction I guess but knowing our history and the problems with water we probably would have abandoned it as soon as the age of rail started.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

GM was already there by then, maybe it was Chrysler he promised to close the tram network for? Chrysler came much later around the same time as the last street-running trams in 1958 (from memory). Not a hundred percent sure if it was Playford's dealings with the car industry or just the thinking of the day - either way it was a shame as we had one of the most advanced networks here with wide streets and a lot of reservation running.
don_dunstan
It was for securing the GM commitment to build the modern factory at Elizabeth, with work starting in the late 1950s.

The dirty deal to help Chrysler came in the 1960s, when Housing Trust land was sold off for the Tonsley Park factory.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Ironically, the USA played a big role in creating many of the wide avenues seen in a number of European cities, with their WW2 bombing campaigns which were almost useless at hitting military targets.
justapassenger
Except that a few European cities, such as Prague, were not bombed at that time, and probably never were, and even many of these still have such avenues, Prague's tramway network even has a lot of off-street track.

Until the reconstruction efforts following WW2, the only reason to build a wide avenue in a city was to allow for troop movements and parades. But can you ever imagine installing a tram line on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées or The Mall?
justapassenger
Even before then, trams and even carriage traffic would have justified wide avenues wherever possible.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE

I often wonder what would have happened if at least one other major network had stayed open in Australia - Melbourne wouldn't have had its 'tram central' badge and it might have influenced a more P/T based approach nationwide. Brisbane probably would have been the best candidate but Lord Mayor Clem Newton Brown hated trams and he sealed their fate.
don_dunstan
I could be wrong, but I think the other issue for Brisbane was that the tram network was owned and operated by the Brisbane council, not the state.

The Brisbane trams stayed as long as they did because as you said it was popular and modern, but Labor man Clem had a bigger vision and that was all Brisbane working class have the right to drive to work (another nail in the coffin of ALP likes PT, LNP hates it).

To close the network numerous back of the hand deals were done and by coincidence a number of fires in tram infrastructure followed. Leyland buses ordered en-mass untendered ahead of the official closure announcement. More quieter routes progressively closed to slowly dumb down the population. Temporary closures rolling into permanent closures.

I think today he would simply have no chance in pulling this off, too much transparency by govt and yes it would be run by the more transparent and accountable state than local council. Having said that Sir Joe closed the Gold Coast and Cleveland lines for devious reasons.

However if the tram network could have survived Clem's term as Mayor, then I suspect they would have survived, although on trunk corridors only as by then Melbourne's tram image was becoming a icon.

I think the trams however had the final say when the workers charged with sealing over the tram lines, left the section out the front of Clem's house in situ and are now officially preserved and cannot be removed.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
I could be wrong, but I think the other issue for Brisbane was that the tram network was owned and operated by the Brisbane council, not the state.
RTT_Rules
The other issue, surely, is that it was primarily street running, even though there were a few extensions on reserved track.

The Brisbane trams stayed as long as they did because as you said it was popular and modern, but Labor man Clem had a bigger vision and that was all Brisbane working class have the right to drive to work (another nail in the coffin of ALP likes PT, LNP hates it).
RTT_Rules
Did Clem think about what would happen if everyone had a (four or five seater) car and took it everywhere with them?

However if the tram network could have survived Clem's term as Mayor, then I suspect they would have survived, although on trunk corridors only as by then Melbourne's tram image was becoming a icon.
RTT_Rules
Could it be that the trolleybuses would be more likely to have survived than that trams, given all the narrow streets?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
[quote=Myrtone][quote=RTT_Rules]I could be wrong, but I think the other issue for Brisbane was that the tram network was owned and operated by the Brisbane council, not the state.[/quote]
The other issue, surely, is that it was primarily street running, even though there were a few extensions on reserved track.

[quote=RTT_Rules]The Brisbane trams stayed as long as they did because as you said it was popular and modern, but Labor man Clem had a bigger vision and that was all Brisbane working class have the right to drive to work (another nail in the coffin of ALP likes PT, LNP hates it).[/quote]
Did Clem think about what would happen if everyone had a (four or five seater) car and took it everywhere with them?

[quote=RTT_Rules]To close the network numerous back of the hand deals were done and by coincidence a number of fires in tram infrastructure followed. Leyland buses ordered en-mass untendered ahead of the official closure announcement. More quieter routes progressively closed to slowly dumb down the population. Temporary closures rolling into permanent closures.

[quote]However if the tram network could have survived Clem's term as Mayor, then I suspect they would have survived, although on trunk corridors only as by then Melbourne's tram image was becoming a icon.[/quote]
Could it be that the trolleybuses would be more likely to have survived than that trams, given all the narrow streets?[/quote]Clem wanted trams off the streets, as Brisbane had no off-street running, this meant trams to be removed.

In the 60's, the boom decade for car ownership no one predicted or cared about what would happen in a few decades of car ownership saturation and traffic chaos that would follow. We were all entitled to own one and use it to get to work and if required highways would be built. PT was in general not expected to survive and this included HR. Mother would do her shopping and work on the bus unless your family was wealthy, but dad would be the road king.

Tas went tram -> Trolley -> Bus. A few others did too although most trolley buses closed before the tram and generally only lasted a decade of services as trolley buses were not seen as viable alt to tram as they were hobbled by the OH. The fact that decades later most bus routes in most cities that replaced trams for so called greater flexibility still follow their former tram route to as much as 90 to 95% of the route shows you the visions of the past were not correct.

Sponsored advertisement

Subscribers: Myrtone, RTT_Rules, TomBTR

Display from: