Tram 8 diversion

 
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Apparently, when the Cable tramline to Toorak was converted to electric traction, there was a proposal to divert the tramline away from Domain road along the East Side of the Botanic Gardens, but for some reason the idea was not adopted, could the proposal reappear some day?

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  scrat Assistant Commissioner

Location: Fitzroy North
The MMTB 1923 Grand Scheme has the current alignment abandoned in favour of going straight down Toorak Rd to St Kilda Rd. I am unaware of why this didn't occur, but at a guess would say that: residents on Park St would have wanted the tram line retained; having a connection to the Botanical Gardens was seen as useful; and it would have cost more to rebuilt the line elsewhere rather than in the same location, as centre of the road would be clear of pipes, wires and such. However, this is pure speculation.

I very very much doubt it would ever be realigned for two reasons: the cost involved while reducing coverage, and it would remove the possibility of through routing the 55 and 8 (Toorak) through Domain Interchange, removing one line from St Kilda Rd.

Liam.

P.S. The 1923 Grand Scheme can be found at the TDU archive.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Until 1998 the Royal Botanic Gardens didn't really have a single and obvious focal point of entry.  The gate at the corner of Park St / Domain Rd was regarded by many as the "best" or "official" entrance and as recently as 2005 was cited in Yarra Trams training sessions as being the stop to alight at for the Gardens.

It is the closest tram stop to an actual point of entry to the Gardens though not the nearest to the National Herbarium and the old Gardens offices which lie just off Birdwood Avenue and are best served by the tram stop at Domain Street corner.  But when one looks at the layout of the Gardens from a public point of view then the demand for Park Street corner would have been high and the modest inconvenience of walking up from Toorak Road might have been unpalatable.

The main entrance to the Gardens is now at Observatory Gate opposite the Shrine of Remembrance though this facility has only been open for around 15 years as a new extension to the Gardens taking in the site of the Royal Melbourne Observatory.  There is no tram stop particularly well suited to this location though the free Tourist Shuttle bus stops outside.

I have always understood that the diversion along Park Street and Domain Road was intended to serve the Royal Botanic Gardens more than any other traffic objective and this was the reason for not continuing straight along Toorak Road which would have seemed more obvious and matched the other "parallel roads" south-eastern tram routes.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
The MMTB 1923 Grand Scheme has the current alignment abandoned in favour of going straight down Toorak Rd to St Kilda Rd. I am unaware of why this didn't occur, but at a guess would say that: residents on Park St would have wanted the tram line retained; having a connection to the Botanical Gardens was seen as useful; and it would have cost more to rebuilt the line elsewhere rather than in the same location, as centre of the road would be clear of pipes, wires and such. However, this is pure speculation.
scrat
I saw that plan, and there were an unsuprisingly large number of tramlines proposed that still aren't built to this day. Manty of these extenison would have either involved additional tram/rail level crossings, or grade separation of the level cossings involved, were they waiting for the latter before extending those lines. For example there was a level crossing on Burke road with the outer circle railway, were they wating for either grade separation or closure of the railway before that extension? The extension along high street would have involved, whoops, a third overheard square on the Glen Waverly line, so that that extension still isn't done, though I may have been done by now had this work been done, a tram along Bell street would have faced a bigger problem because then as of now, Bell street still crosses both the Upfield and Epping lines at grade, the extenison along Moreland road would have faced a similar problem. Another extension that would make a lot of sense even now is route 112 all theway to the end of Gilbert road, and it has long puzzled me why that line stops at West Preston, why didn't the original builder get as far as the north end of Gilbert road. Having known that there was a Cable tram terminus at Studely park, one wonders why no electric tramline was ever built from the Studely Park terminus to connect with the rest of the Hawthorn system.

I very very much doubt it would ever be realigned for two reasons: the cost involved while reducing coverage, and it would remove the possibility of through routing the 55 and 8 (Toorak) through Domain Interchange, removing one line from St Kilda Rd.
Scrat
I haden't thought of the through routing possibility, though it did happen during the commonwealth games. But maybe relocating them to the Parkside of Domain might work.
  scrat Assistant Commissioner

Location: Fitzroy North
Grade crossings had nothing to do with it at all. The plan was drawn up in 1923 more as a wish list, work started immediately on the cable conversions, route 55, a few track connections here and there. But by late 1929 the great depression had started, just when the recovery is in swing, World War Two starts. There simply wasn't the money, and resources were required elsewhere.

But maybe relocating them to the Parkside of Domain might work.
Myrtone


What? Route 8 is next to the park, where exactly would you like it realigned to?

Liam.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Many of these extensions would have involved new tramway level crossings, and new tramway level crossings would not be warmly welcomed today, and maybe not since the war, those extensions didn't get built, simple logical progression of events, until a level crossing is grade separated or the railway closed. Route 8 is right in the portion of Domain road next to the Park, I was thinking, maybe divert it onto a researved track parallel to Domain? It would still maintain the same coverage and allow though routing to West Coburg.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Where are you proposing to put "reserved track" without cutting into the Domain itself?

If route 8 were to be diverted today the best place for it would be along Birdwood Avenue.  It would then miss Domain Interchange but serve the main entrance to the Royal Botanic Gardens which is a great visitor attraction.  Birdwood Avenue however is unlikely to be wide enough to support a tramway without loss of critical roadside parking.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Diverting the line to run alongside Birdwood (there is plenty of room for offset running without eating into roadside parking) would create the problems that Liam has already described (reducing coverage and precuding through routing to 55), but diverting it to run alongside Domain road (as opposed to right in it) would maintain the same coverage and allow the same through routing while replacing a portion of track on a four lane road with a portion on researve.
  scrat Assistant Commissioner

Location: Fitzroy North
Myrtone, the scheme wasn't enacted as there was no money, the MMTB was building hundreds of trams, converting cable tracks to electric, and building most of the lines marked as authorised. I doubt rail crossings had anything to do with it at all, many cable lines crossed electric rail lines and were converted to electric traction without problem, and what is now route 55 was build, which crossed (admittedly not at grade) the Upfield line. The MMTB was busy, and economic times were tight.

Regarding route 8: Why? Why do you want to relocate the track into the gardens? What benefit would it provide?

Liam.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
I haden't noticed that some lines were marked as authorised. Nearly all crossings between cable and electric lines were on different levels, there were only two and a half exceptions, one of them, at Clifton Hill, was already replaced by a rail overbridge by the time that cable tram line was converted to electric traction, so no overhead square needed. The fact is that many of the extensions proposed did pass through then existing level crossings, most over electrified railways, therefore buliding these extensions would have either involved new overhead squares, or grade separating those level crossings, not in a long time has a new overhead square been warmly welcomed.

Why divert Route 8? Well it started with the early proposal to divert the Domain tramway through the Park area, which includes the Botanic gardens. I brought it up in this thread and the then it was noted that this would reduce coverage and preclude through routing to 55. Don't you think it's significant that there are a series of T-intersections on that stretch of Domain road and that all but one of the diverging roads are on the same side of the intersection? There is plenty of space on the other side of the intersection, so it seems like a good idea to put them there. In short, if a strech of four lane road has many T-intesections (and few if any four-way ones) and most of all diverging roads are on the same side, can you see a benefit in having a researved track on the other side of the road?
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
.....

P.S. The 1923 Grand Scheme can be found at the TDU archive.
scrat

Thanks for that link, Liam.  I think I've seen that map in a book or something before but it's interesting to see it again.

Some of the proposals actually did get built (Keilor Rd) and some are still waiting (Dynon Rd to Footscray).  The one that I really like is going from Moonee Ponds to Heidelberg via Bell Street, I've often thought that the North needs a route to connect all the tram/train lines.
  scrat Assistant Commissioner

Location: Fitzroy North
Level crossings may not have been warmly received, but there were quite a lot. I will state again for the third time: the grand scheme did not come to fruition because it was a wish list, not authorised routes, and there was no money, the MMTB was caught up with many other projects and by the time it was capable of expansion there was a depression followed by a world war. It is that simple, crossings would not have been a problem big enough to stop a line being built, there were many (read about them here: http://www.hawthorntramdepot.org.au/papers/lvlcross.htm) with the last one built in 1956.

I still don't understand why you would advocate eating into park land to move a tram line off a perfectly good road, the traffic along Domain Road really isn't that bad, and it only goes for 900m and is timetabled to take only 4 minutes during peak. The money required would be much much better spent extending a line elsewhere.

Liam.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Yes, I realise that the grand scheme was a wish list, and that may be the main reason why it why it didn't come to frutration, and indeed the deperession and later the second world war did indeed hold off much of the expansion, though one line that was built during the war was that along LaTrobe street. Indeed there were some extensions that did not involve level crossings that still did not get built and that would be a lack of funds. But first of all, all the lines marked authorised did not intersect with railways and that's probably not simply a coincidence. I have already read that Hawthorn Tram depot article about tramway level crossings, and noted:

When trams were first introduced to Melbourne in the 1880s in the form of cable trams, the government owned Victorian Railways (VR) saw no reason to be accommodating towards what would prove to be a significant privately owned competitor for suburban passenger traffic, particularly if it was going to increase its own operational costs. VR therefore strenuously opposed any level crossings between cable trams and its own suburban rail lines, and due to its influence in Parliament was able to largely enforce this requirement.
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Get that? VR didn't like level crossings with Cable trams because that would somehow increase their operational costs. And note that the then existing tram/rail level crossings were on lines built by those suburban tramway trusts, and most importantly pre-dated railway electrification, which itself was used as an oppotunity to replace many level crossings including some involving tramways. Sure, ten crossings may have gained overhead squares but three of them were later grade separated. The only overhead square provided during the M&MTB era, and after the electrification of the railway where it was located, let alone the second world war was the one next to North Fitzroy station. If you've seen a train on one of those tram crossings, you can see what I mean. More tram/rali level crossings meant more speed restrictions.
Fact is that since the war, there surely have been many oppotunites to build many of those extensions but hardly any got built. For example, at the end of the war, the tramways of Footscray were still isolated form the rest of our tramways, in 1957 connecting track was laid at Maidstone but strangely not along Dynon road, had it been for a direct link with the city. The line along Bourke road wasn't built even well after the war and closure of the outer circle railway, leaving the area bound by Heidelberg road to the south and High street to the west one of the two conrers of the Inner Metropolitan area one of two still not served by trams, it's very puzzeling that there was no Fairfield tramways trust.
And reguarding the very topic of the thread, one tramline isn't going to eat that much Parkland, and track can be grassed over to maximise enviromental treatment, being only on the south side of the Park and only for 500 metres, Domain road may not be that busy but it's not that wide either, but with all but one of the diverging roads being only on one side, and lots of space on the other, it seems like a better alternative to a series of either kerb bulbouts, island or drive over platforms along Domain. Sure, there may be kerb access stops on a stretch of Whitehorse road, and easy access stops on Danks street, MacArthur street, and Bridge road, and two island platforms and two kerb access stops on High Street, but these streets differ in that they are surrounded by buildings on both sides, there are plenty of four way intersections, and the diverging roads of T-intersections (this includes private driveways) may be on either side.
In short, if there is plenty of open land on one side of a (narrow) road, there are few or no four way intersections, and most or all of the diverging roads are on the other side, then relocating the tracks and consequently the stops themselves seems prefferable (especially if you are replacing rail anyway) to simply rebuilding stops as on street platforms. In fact if you placed the tracks, or at least to one of them closer to the roadside, 300mm below the sidewalk, the sidewalk itself could serve, in this case, as the down platform at each stop. It also has the double benefit of cars no longer being propped on tram tracks to turn right, these being to give way to (not get in the way of) anything that moves.

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