Anniversary of the Paddington Tram Depot Fire

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Paddington62 Station Staff

well, tonight (28 Sep) is the 44th anniversary of the big Paddington tram depot fire - beginning of the end for the tram system in Brisbane. Sad
 
Huggies Chief Commissioner

Location: DFC Land :(
They reckon that Clem Jones said let it burn that night back in 1962.
 
TrainMonkey Station Master

There is a video and some related discussion here.

Edit: Fixed link guys
 
Aussie Bhoy Junior Train Controller

Location: Brisbane
It's sad on a heritage level.
But Brisbane mostly does have quite narrow streets that don't really suit trams and cars together.
When visiting Melbourne I'm always amazed at how wide a lot of their streets are.

Some bits of Brissie may be suitable though, and I'd like to see the light rail Tennirefe to West End proposal get up.

Adelaide St
[img]http://img135.imageshack.us/img135/5738/brisbane1954adelaidestqd2.jpg" />[/img]

Dutton Park
[img]http://img86.imageshack.us/img86/4440/brisbane1960tramduttonparkro0.jpg" />[/img]
 
Huggies Chief Commissioner

Location: DFC Land :(
It was sad but it also lead to the famous phoenix trams of which eight were built from parts from the fire. These trams had a distinctive pale blue colour scheme and featured a small picture of a phoenix under the driver's windows . A picture of the phoenix logo is below along with a photo from the morning after the fire for those who are interested.


 
Johnmc - Moderator Moderator

Location: Cloncurry, Queensland

But Brisbane mostly does have quite narrow streets that don't really suit trams and cars together.
- Aussie Bhoy


Ok, trams+cars, yes.  However....

In the case of the People V "We need wide streets for trams", I hereby present Exhibits A, B, C, etc in the case for the prosecution.  

The tram system in Lisbon, Portugal.

..
 
SteelPan Locomotive Fireman

Paddington62,
Don't feel to down - the Phoenix must rise, everything has its hour and the tram WILL return to Brissy streets one day!  Wink
 
RTT_Rules Minister for Railways

Location: Dubai UAE
Paddington62,
Don't feel to down - the Phoenix must rise, everything has its hour and the tram WILL return to Brissy streets one day!  Wink
- SteelPan


After some serious thought, personally I think the answer is no. Comparing Brisbane or just about any other Aussie capital to most Eurpoean cities is not realistic. Generally the are high density with limited places to park cars, narrow streets making car travel less diserable and have much higher fuel prices and the cities themselves (the multi story building parts) are very large, not a few blocks like Aussie capitals. I also think most of the cities reintroducing trams are doing so because either a UG or Above Ground heavy rail system is either extremely costly and/or impossible to build due to geography etc. ie Spain has a very complex and extensive UG metro thats being expanded, there is no way they would need to look at trams.

In Australia I think we will see LR to some limited degree return where things make it cheap and favorable. ie Sydney's tram mostly used a closed existing rail corridore Had this not been there it would not today have a tram.   Melbourne kept its trams mostly due to road width being a flat city and Mel's LR used mostly heavy rail corridores (and now takes much longer than the previous train did, one wonders had the port Melbourne development gone ahead in the 80's would the HR been closed?). Likewise Adelaides only tram survived because it actually used an old railway corridore, but they terminated it short of the very wide and very uncrowded CBD streets. The proposed extension through the city has met some fairly heavy opposition.

Brisbane has narrow streets and mostly hilly. I like trams but I think they are slowly than buses over the same route and in a city like Brisbane, Busways for the short routes or longer on geographically challenged areas out of the city will be the future, HR for the longer routes. LR will probably struggle to get a foot hold for some time, at best the SE busway.

And yes the ironic thing about all this is that many bus routes in most cities in australia still follow the orginal tram route, yet the govt of teh day closed the tram systems saying buses were mre flexible.

Regards
Shane
 
Paddington62 Station Staff

Brisbane's "narrow" streets (actually they're not that narrow) have nothing to do with the closure of the tram system.

It's interesting to look back at old Brisbane City Council annual reports - unlike many other tram systems, Brisbane's trams ran at a profit until the early 1960s - and you can trace their patronage decline to when the City Council started building off-street, multi level car parks - Gregory Terrace car park was the first one, opened in the early 1960s.  Now Brisbane has more city car parks than any other city in Australia.  Before then you didn't drive into town, because there wasn't anywhere to park.  You caught a tram or a train.  And with the exception of Chermside, there were no big shopping malls surrounded with hectares of car parks.

At least Chermside shopping centre was at the end of the tram line.

Check out the Town Plan too - also first introduced in 1964 - it has a whole chapters on car park requirements for developers and nothing on public transport requirements for developers.

Now people forget what Brisbane was like and say "the trams can't be introduced".  I've even heard people say "but the overhead wires are so ugly" - Like a traffic jam is a thing of beauty ???

Trams were quicker than buses - with 4 entrances they loaded MUCH faster than buses, so they don't have to stop as long at stops.  Also they have better acceleration and braking than buses.  Even more so with new trams (although Brisbane's trams were pretty sprightly).

It was a conscious decision by the BCC to go down the car, rather than the public transport path.  In the 1950s and 1960s we had the highest usage of public transport in Australia and now we have the worst.  Even Perth has caught up with us (thanks to their new train line).

'Simple' solution in Brisbane - close the public car parks (or tax them out of existence).  Ohh, can't do that - there's not enough buses.
 
GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper
Is it true that Brisbane was one of the last Australian cities to withdraw trams?

Thanks
Geoffrey
 
Paddington62 Station Staff

Brisbane's tram network closed in 1969.  It was the last of the capital cities to lose its trams, although Bendigo and Ballarat held on until 1972.

In the 60s many of Brisbane's trams were newer than Melbourne's.  Also its track was in better condition.  most of the track is still there under the bitumen.  Brisbane laid its track in concrete from the mid 1920s onwards.  Melbourne picked up this technique much later.
 
GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper
So I suppose that if it wasn't for the Paddington Fire Brisbane's trams may have lasted longer.  Crying or Very sad

I also saw on a video the other day that Trolleybuses used to run across the Story Bridge and that the old Victoria bridge was demolished just after the trams were withdrawan.

Thanks
Geoffrey
 
TrainMonkey Station Master

So I suppose that if it wasn't for the Paddington Fire Brisbane's trams may have lasted longer.  Crying or Very sad
- GeoffreyHansen


Definitely.  A shame too - Brisbane could be something like Melbourne now.
 
Huggies Chief Commissioner

Location: DFC Land :(
So I suppose that if it wasn't for the Paddington Fire Brisbane's trams may have lasted longer.  Crying or Very sad

I also saw on a video the other day that Trolleybuses used to run across the Story Bridge and that the old Victoria bridge was demolished just after the trams were withdrawan.
- GeoffreyHansen


Maybe but Clem Jones was keen to get rid of them. Trolley Buses were introduced from 1952 and replaced some tram services mostly in the eastern suburbs.
 
Paddington62 Station Staff

There's a new book out on the Brisbane trolley-bus system called "Slow at Frog" - gives all the details of vehicles and various route openings and closures. I don't know if the ARHS or ANGRMs are stocking it, but the Tramway Museum at Ferny Grove has copies.  IIRC only about $10.00
 

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