Monday, September 27, 2010

Tram lines

This week we have a mini-series about Brisbane's public transport, starting with trams.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #BCC_B54-29538)
(Photo: Courtesy flickr; lindsaybridge)

Trams were discontinued in Brisbane in 1969. The top photo above, taken in 1966, shows the terminus at Belmont, and the colour one below it shows two trams at the same terminus in 1963. These days, if you want to see any of Brisbane's tram memorabilia, you need to go to the Brisbane Tramway Museum at Ferny Grove.
(Photo: Courtesy DERM)

Or you can visit Old Cleveland Rd at Carina (above), not too far from the site of the top picture, where you can still see actual tram lines in situ. Just looking at them gives a feeling of nostalgia. As my dad used to say to me: "No flies on you, son ... but you can see where they've been!" Here they were laid in the middle of a quite wide road, and there was still room for two lanes of traffic in each direction. Below is a photo of that section of track with a tram on it.(Photo: Courtesy flickr; lindsaybridge) 
This type of layout, properly planned to integrate with traffic, would have enabled trams to continue in service in Brisbane. Oh well!

Click here for a Google Map.




  1. Buses use petrol, they dominate the roads and endanger other cars, they are smelly and noisy, and they are not kind to strap hanging passengers. Trams run on electricity, they don't interfere with other cars, they are quiet and are more comfortable to travel in.

    If Brisbane already had all its tram infrastructure in place, why did the city scrap its trams??? Bring back the trams, I say.

  2. Indeed!

    There will be more on this topic this week!

  3. Truly was a great tragedy when Jones and his gang scrapped the trams and left a legacy of traffic congestion and a mish mash of roads and poor transport, now they put in busways at huge cost to the tax payer when they had a far superior system in 1968. The busways should be converted to light rail and trams returned where possible.


    1. I agree Greg. The recently constructed Busways should be converted to Light Rail, ( Trams ) to serve the growing City.
      We did have a well run and serving Tramway system which could have been upgraded over the years to serve the needs of the City and suburbs. Jones and his henchmen had other motives. I never forgave him for robbing the people of Brisbane of their Trams.

  4. It's like St George Rd in Melbourne! :^)


  5. I agree that light rail should be on the busways but can anyone tell me a road that is wide enough to accomodate the trams plus todays traffic?
    Trams in Brisbane evolved in an era when people lived close to the city and a car in the garage was a rarity.I have a 1967 Referdex that shows the tram lines and let's face it,they didn't exactly come to your front door unless you were on a "main road".My memory of them was water pouring into them in rainy weather and my grandmother slipping and falling on the rails as we alighted.As for the Jones Gang quip,are you aware of the Paddington Fire and really,if you are that nostalgic,bring back the backyard dunny.Maybe the sight of the dunnyman running past your kitchen window at breakfast time with a full one sloshing will satisfy you.

  6. to @whokilledkennyband.... More than one person has suggested the demise of the Paddington depot was just a little too convenient, and suited the demise of the trams. Even the politicians of the day subsequently admitted it helped their anti-tram cause. The more repentent of them even admitted the tram removal was a grand mistake. As for door to door, the buses in just about every ex-tram city have had a nasty habit of just retracing and replacing the tram routes, so they might as well have stuck with trams. These days, one tram can carry the equivalent of 4-5 buses. The recently constructed busways would be much better with trams, and at least they could have built them with the tracks already embedded making a future change to trams very much easier, less time consuming, and cheaper.

  7. The LightRail in Brisbane needs to be in place to replace the buses in the city of Brisbane and the Brisbane city council needs to wake up, look outside the window and say " we need to replace the buses and upgrade to a LightRail " Sydney had there LightRails since 1997 and Brisbane needs to wake up and change our city with Upgraded LightRails.

    1. I would welcome light rail, but I don't think that it could completely replace buses.

      Brisbane is too diverse and wide-spread for light rail to reach every area.

      The trick would be for the three levels of government to thrash out an integrated plan for light rail, bus and heavy rail routes.

      Of course, with the political differences to be overcome for that to happen, I don't expect to see it in my lifetime.


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