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Melbourne Tram Illustration Essay

This article is about public transport vehicles running on rails. For other uses of "tram", see Tram (disambiguation).

"Streetcar" redirects here. For other uses, see Streetcar (disambiguation).

A tram (also tramcar; and in North America streetcar, trolley or trolley car) is a rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets, and also sometimes on a segregated right of way.[1][2] The lines or networks operated by tramcars are called tramways. Tramways powered by electricity, the most common type, were once called electric street railways (mainly in the United States) due to their being widely used in urban areas before the universal adoption of electrification. In the United States, the term tram has sometimes been used for rubber-tyred trackless trains, which are not related to the other vehicles covered in this article.

Tram vehicles are usually lighter and shorter than conventional trains and rapid transit trains. Today, most trams use electrical power, usually fed by an overhead pantograph; in some cases by a sliding shoe on a third rail, trolley pole or bow collector. If necessary, they may have dual power systems—electricity in city streets, and diesel in more rural environments. Trams are now commonly included in the wider term "light rail",[3][full citation needed] which also includes grade-separated systems.

Tram lines may also run between cities and towns (for example, interurbans, tram-train) or even countries (Basel, Strasbourg), or be partially grade-separated even in the cities (light rail). Very occasionally, trams also carry freight. Some trams (for instance tram-trains) may also run on ordinary railway tracks, a tramway may be upgraded to a light rail or a rapid transit line, two urban tramways may be connected to an interurban, etc. For all these reasons, the differences between the various modes of rail transportation are often indistinct.

One of the advantages over earlier forms of transit was the low rolling resistance of metal wheels on steel rails, allowing the animals to haul a greater load for a given effort. Problems included the fact that any given animal could only work so many hours on a given day, had to be housed, groomed, fed and cared for day in and day out, and produced prodigious amounts of manure, which the streetcar company was charged with disposing of. Electric trams largely replaced animal power in the late 19th and early 20th century. Improvements in other forms of road transport such as buses led to decline of trams in mid 20th century. Trams have seen resurgence in recent years.

Etymology and terminology[edit]

The English terms tram and tramway are derived from the Scots word tram,[4][publisher missing] referring respectively to a type of truck (goods wagon or freight railroad car) used in coal mines and the tracks on which they ran. The word tram probably derived from Middle Flemish trame ("beam, handle of a barrow, bar, rung"). The identical word la trame with the meaning "crossbeam" is also used in the French language. Etymologists believe that the word tram refers to the wooden beams the railway tracks were initially made of before the railroad pioneers switched to the much more wear-resistant tracks made of iron and, later, steel.[5] The word Tram-car is attested from 1873.[6]

Although the terms tram and tramway have been adopted by many languages, they are not used universally in English; North Americans prefer streetcar, trolley, or trolleycar. The term streetcar is first recorded in 1840, and originally referred to horsecars. When electrification came, Americans began to speak of trolleycars or later, trolleys. A widely held belief holds the word to derive from the troller (said to derive from the words traveler and roller), a four-wheeled device that was dragged along dual overhead wires by a cable that connected the troller to the top of the car and collected electrical power from the overhead wires;[7] this portmanteau derivation is, however, most likely folk etymology. "Trolley" and variants refer to the verb troll, meaning "roll" and probably derived from Old French,[8] and cognate uses of the word were well established for handcarts and horse drayage, as well as for nautical uses.[9]

The alternative North American term trolley may strictly speaking be considered incorrect, as the term can also be applied to cable cars, or conduit cars that instead draw power from an underground supply. Conventional diesel tourist buses decorated to look like streetcars are sometimes called trolleys in the US (tourist trolley). Furthering confusion, the term tram has instead been applied to open-sided, low-speed segmented vehicles on rubber tires generally used to ferry tourists short distances, for example on the Universal Studios backlot tour and, in many countries, as tourist transport to major destinations. The term may also apply to an aerial ropeway, e.g. the Roosevelt Island Tramway.

Although the use of the term trolley for tram was not adopted in Europe, the term was later associated with the trolleybus, a rubber-tyred vehicle running on hard pavement, which draws its power from pairs of overhead wires. These electric buses, which use twin trolley poles, are also called trackless trolleys (particularly in the northeastern US), or sometimes simply trolleys (in the UK, as well as in Seattle and Vancouver).


Main article: History of trams

The history of trams, streetcars or trolley systems, began in early nineteenth century. It can be divided up into several discrete periods defined by the principal means of motive power used.


Main article: Horsecar

The world's first passenger tram was the Swansea and Mumbles Railway, in Wales, UK. The Mumbles Railway Act was passed by the British Parliament in 1804, and this first horse-drawn passenger tramway started operating in 1807.[10] The service ended in 1827, but was restarted again in 1860, again using horses. It was worked by steam from 1877, and then, from 1929, by very large (106-seater) electric tramcars, until closure in 1961.[citation needed] The Swansea and Mumbles Railway was something of a one off however, and no other street tramway would appear in Britain until 1860 when one was built in Birkenhead by the American George Francis Train.

Street railways developed in America before Europe, this was largely due to the poor paving of the streets in American cities which made them unsuitable for horsebuses, which were then common on the well paved streets of European cities. Running the horsecars on rails allowed for a much smoother ride. There are records of a street railway running in Baltimore as early as 1828, however the first authenticated streetcar in America, was the New York and Harlem Railroad developed by the Irish coach builder John Stephenson, in New York City which began service in the year 1832.[14] The New York and Harlem Railroad's Fourth Avenue Line ran along the Bowery and Fourth Avenue in New York City. It was followed in 1835 by the New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad in New Orleans, Louisiana, which still operates as the St. Charles Streetcar Line. Other American cities did not follow until the 1850s, after which the "animal railway" became an increasingly common feature in the larger towns.

The first permanent tram line in continental Europe was opened in Paris in 1855 by Alphonse Loubat who had previously worked on American streetcar lines. The tram was developed in numerous cities of Europe (some of the most extensive systems were found in Berlin, Budapest, Birmingham, Leningrad, Lisbon, London, Manchester, Paris).

The first tram in South America opened in 1858 in Santiago, Chile. The first trams in Australia opened in 1860 in Sydney. Africa's first tram service started in Alexandria on 8 January 1863. The first trams in Asia opened in 1869 in Batavia (now Jakarta), Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia).

Problems with horsecars included the fact that any given animal could only work so many hours on a given day, had to be housed, groomed, fed and cared for day in and day out, and produced prodigious amounts of manure, which the streetcar company was charged with storing and then disposing. Since a typical horse pulled a streetcar for about a dozen miles a day and worked for four or five hours, many systems needed ten or more horses in stable for each horsecar.

Horsecars were largely replaced by electric-powered trams following the improvement of an overhead trolley system on trams for collecting electricity from overhead wires by Frank J. Sprague. His spring-loaded trolley pole used a wheel to travel along the wire. In late 1887 and early 1888, using his trolley system, Sprague installed the first successful large electric street railway system in Richmond, Virginia. Within a year, the economy of electric power had replaced more costly horsecars in many cities. By 1889, 110 electric railways incorporating Sprague's equipment had been begun or planned on several continents.[17]

Horses continued to be used for light shunting well into the 20th century. Many large metropolitan lines lasted well into the early twentieth century. New York City had a regular horsecar service on the Bleecker Street Line until its closure in 1917.[18]Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, had its Sarah Street line drawn by horses until 1923. The last regular mule-drawn cars in the US ran in Sulphur Rock, Arkansas, until 1926 and were commemorated by a U.S. postage stamp issued in 1983.[19] The last mule tram service in Mexico City ended in 1932, and a mule tram in Celaya, Mexico, survived until 1954.[20] The last horse-drawn tram to be withdrawn from public service in the UK took passengers from Fintona railway station to Fintona Junction one mile away on the main Omagh to Enniskillen railway in Northern Ireland. The tram made its last journey on 30 September 1957 when the Omagh to Enniskillen line closed. The "van" now lies at the Ulster Transport Museum.

Horse-drawn trams still operate on the 1876-built Douglas Bay Horse Tramway in the Isle of Man, and at the 1894-built Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram, in Adelaide, South Australia. New horse-drawn systems have been established at the Hokkaidō Museum in Japan and also in Disneyland.


See also: Tram engine and Steam dummy

The first mechanical trams were powered by steam. Generally, there were two types of steam tram. The first and most common had a small steam locomotive (called a tram engine in the UK) at the head of a line of one or more carriages, similar to a small train. Systems with such steam trams included Christchurch, New Zealand; Sydney, Australia; other city systems in New South Wales; Munich, Germany (from August 1883 on),[21]British India (Pakistan) (from 1885) and the Dublin & Blessington Steam Tramway (from 1888) in Ireland. Steam tramways also were used on the suburban tramway lines around Milan and Padua; the last Gamba de Legn ("Peg-Leg") tramway ran on the Milan-Magenta-Castano Primo route in late 1958.[citation needed]

The other style of steam tram had the steam engine in the body of the tram, referred to as a tram engine (UK) or steam dummy (US). The most notable system to adopt such trams was in Paris. French-designed steam trams also operated in Rockhampton, in the Australian state of Queensland between 1909 and 1939. Stockholm, Sweden, had a steam tram line at the island of Södermalm between 1887 and 1901.

Tram engines usually had modifications to make them suitable for street running in residential areas. The wheels, and other moving parts of the machinery, were usually enclosed for safety reasons and to make the engines quieter. Measures were often taken to prevent the engines from emitting visible smoke or steam. Usually the engines used coke rather than coal as fuel to avoid emitting smoke; condensers or superheating were used to avoid emitting visible steam. A major drawback of this style of tram was the limited space for the engine, so that these trams were usually underpowered. Steam tram engines faded out around 1890s to 1900s, being replaced by electric trams.


Main article: Cable car (railway)

Another motive system for trams was the cable car, which was pulled along a fixed track by a moving steel cable. The power to move the cable was normally provided at a "powerhouse" site a distance away from the actual vehicle.

The London and Blackwall Railway, which opened for passengers in east London, England, in 1840 used such a system.[22]

The first practical cable car line was tested in San Francisco, in 1873. Part of its success is attributed to the development of an effective and reliable cable grip mechanism, to grab and release the moving cable without damage. The second city to operate cable trams was Dunedin in New Zealand, from 1881 to 1957.

The most extensive cable system in the US was built in Chicago between 1882 and 1906.[23][when?] New York City developed at least seven cable car lines.[when?] Los Angeles also had several cable car lines, including the Second Street Cable Railroad, which operated from 1885 to 1889, and the Temple Street Cable Railway, which operated from 1886 to 1898.

From 1885 to 1940, the city of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia operated one of the largest cable systems in the world, at its peak running 592 trams on 75 kilometres (47 mi) of track. There were also two isolated cable lines in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; the North Sydney line from 1886 to 1900,[24] and the King Street line from 1892 to 1905.

In Dresden, Germany, in 1901 an elevated suspended cable car following the Eugen Langen one-railed floating tram system started operating. Cable cars operated on Highgate Hill in North London and Kennington to Brixton Hill In South London.[when?] They also worked around "Upper Douglas" in the Isle of Man from 1897 to 1929 (cable car 72/73 is the sole survivor of the fleet).

Cable cars suffered from high infrastructure costs, since an expensive system of cables, pulleys, stationary engines and lengthy underground vault structures beneath the rails had to be provided. They also required physical strength and skill to operate, and alert operators to avoid obstructions and other cable cars. The cable had to be disconnected ("dropped") at designated locations to allow the cars to coast by inertia, for example when crossing another cable line. The cable would then have to be "picked up" to resume progress, the whole operation requiring precise timing to avoid damage to the cable and the grip mechanism. Breaks and frays in the cable, which occurred frequently, required the complete cessation of services over a cable route while the cable was repaired. Due to overall wear, the entire length of cable (typically several kilometres) would have to be replaced on a regular schedule. After the development of reliable electrically powered trams, the costly high-maintenance cable car systems were rapidly replaced in most locations.

Cable cars remained especially effective in hilly cities, since their nondriven wheels would not lose traction as they climbed or descended a steep hill. The moving cable would physically pull the car up the hill at a steady pace, unlike a low-powered steam or horse-drawn car. Cable cars do have wheel brakes and track brakes, but the cable also helps restrain the car to going downhill at a constant speed. Performance in steep terrain partially explains the survival of cable cars in San Francisco.

The San Francisco cable cars, though significantly reduced in number, continue to perform a regular transportation function, in addition to being a well-known tourist attraction. A single cable line also survives in Wellington, New Zealand (rebuilt in 1979 as a funicular but still called the "Wellington Cable Car"). Another system, actually two separate cable lines with a shared power station in the middle, operates from the Welsh town of Llandudno up to the top of the Great Orme hill in North Wales, UK.


In the late 19th and early 20th centuries a number of systems in various parts of the world employed trams powered by gas, naphtha gas or coal gas in particular. Gas trams are known to have operated between Alphington and Clifton Hill in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia (1886–1888); in Berlin and Dresden, Germany; in Estonia (1920s–1930); between Jelenia Góra, Cieplice, and Sobieszów in Poland (from 1897); and in the UK at Lytham St Annes, Neath (1896–1920), and Trafford Park, Manchester (1897–1908).

On 29 December 1886 the Melbourne newspaper The Argus reprinted a report from the San Francisco Bulletin that Mr Noble had demonstrated a new 'motor car' for tramways 'with success'. The tramcar 'exactly similar in size, shape, and capacity to a cable grip car' had the 'motive power' of gas 'with which the reservoir is to be charged once a day at power stations by means of a rubber hose'. The car also carried an electricity generator for 'lighting up the tram and also for driving the engine on steep grades and effecting a start'.[25]

Comparatively little has been published about gas trams. However, research on the subject was carried out for an article in the October 2011 edition of "The Times", the historical journal of the Australian Association of Timetable Collectors, now the Australian Timetable Association.[26][27][28][29]

A tram system powered by compressed natural gas was due to open in Malaysia in 2012,[30] but the news about the project appears to have dried up.


The world's first electric tram line operated in Sestroretsk near Saint Petersburg, Russia, invented and tested by Fyodor Pirotsky in 1880.[31][32] The second line was the Gross-Lichterfelde tramway in Lichterfelde near Berlin in Germany, which opened in 1881. It was built by Werner von Siemens who contacted Pirotsky. This was world's first commercially successful electric tram. It initially drew current from the rails, with overhead wire being installed in 1883.[33]

In Britain, Volk's electric railway was opened in 1883 in Brighton (see Volk's Electric Railway). This two kilometer line, re-gauged to 2 feet 9 inches (840 mm) in 1884, remains in service to this day, and is the oldest operating electric tramway in the world. Also in 1883, Mödling and Hinterbrühl Tram was opened near Vienna in Austria. It was the first tram in the world in regular service that was run with electricity served by an overhead line with pantograph current collectors. The Blackpool Tramway, was opened in Blackpool, UK on 29 September 1885 using conduit collection along Blackpool Promenade. This system is still in operation in a modernised form.[citation needed]

Earliest tram system in Canada was by John Joseph Wright, brother of the famous mining entrepreneur Whitaker Wright, in Toronto in 1883. In the US, multiple functioning experimental electric trams were exhibited at the 1884 World Cotton Centennial World's Fair in New Orleans, Louisiana, but they were not deemed good enough to replace the Lamm fireless engines then propelling the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar in that city. The first commercial installation of an electric streetcar in the United States was built in 1884 in Cleveland, Ohio and operated for a period of one year by the East Cleveland Street Railway Company.[34] Trams were operated in Richmond, Virginia, in 1888, on the Richmond Union Passenger Railway built by Frank J. Sprague. Sprague later developed multiple unit control, first demonstrated in Chicago in 1897, allowing multiple cars to be coupled together and operated by a single motorman. This gave rise to the modern subway train. Following the improvement of an overhead "trolley" system on streetcars for collecting electricity from overhead wires by Sprague, electric tram systems were rapidly adopted across the world.[citation needed]

Earlier installations proved difficult or unreliable. Siemens' line, for example, provided power through a live rail and a return rail, like a model train, limiting the voltage that could be used, and delivering electric shocks to people and animals crossing the tracks.[35] Siemens later designed his own version of overhead current collection, called the bow collector, and Thorold, Ontario, opened in 1887, and was considered quite successful at the time. While this line proved quite versatile as one of the earliest fully functional electric streetcar installations, it required horse-drawn support while climbing the Niagara Escarpment and for two months of the winter when hydroelectricity was not available. It continued in service in its original form into the 1950s.[citation needed]

Sidney Howe Short designed and produced the first electric motor that operated a streetcar without gears. The motor had its armature direct-connected to the streetcar's axle for the driving force.[38][39][40] Short pioneered "use of a conduit system of concealed feed" thereby eliminating the necessity of overhead wire, trolley poles and a trolley for street cars and railways. While at the University of Denver he conducted important experiments which established that multiple unit powered cars were a better way to operate trains and trolleys.

Sarajevo built a citywide system of electric trams in 1885.[42]Budapest established its tramway system in 1887, and its ring line has grown to be the busiest tram line in Europe, with a tram running every 60 seconds at rush hour. Bucharest and Belgrade[43] ran a regular service from 1894.[44][45]Ljubljana introduced its tram system in 1901 – it closed in 1958.[46]

The first electric tramway in Australia was a Sprague system demonstrated at the 1888 Melbourne Centennial Exhibition in Melbourne; afterwards, this was installed as a commercial venture operating between the outer Melbourne suburbs of Box Hill and Doncaster from 1889 to 1896.[47] As well, electric systems were built in Adelaide, Ballarat, Bendigo, Brisbane, Fremantle, Geelong, Hobart, Kalgoorlie, Launceston, Leonora, Newcastle, Perth, and Sydney. By the 1970s, the only tramway system remaining in Australia was the Melbourne tram system other than a few single lines remaining elsewhere: the Glenelg Tram, connecting Adelaide to the beachside suburb of Glenelg, and tourist trams in the Victorian Goldfields cities of Bendigo and Ballarat. In recent years the Melbourne system, generally recognised as one of the largest in the world, has been considerably modernised and expanded. The Adelaide line has also been extended to the Entertainment Centre, and there are plans to expand further.[48]

In Japan, the Kyoto Electric railroad was the first tram system, starting operation in 1895.[49] By 1932, the network had grown to 82 railway companies in 65 cities, with a total network length of 1,479 km (919 mi).[50] By the 1960s the tram had generally died out in Japan.[citation needed]

Two rare but significant alternatives were conduit current collection, which was widely used in London, Washington, D.C. and New York City, and the surface contact collection method, used in Wolverhampton (the Lorain system), Torquay and Hastings in the UK (the Dolter stud system), and currently in Bordeaux, France (the ground-level power supply system).[citation needed]

The convenience and economy of electricity resulted in its rapid adoption once the technical problems of production and transmission of electricity were solved. Electric trams largely replaced animal power and other forms of motive power including cable and steam, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[citation needed]

There is one particular hazard associated with trams powered from a trolley off an overhead line. Since the tram relies on contact with the rails for the current return path, a problem arises if the tram is derailed or (more usually) if it halts on a section of track that has been particularly heavily sanded by a previous tram, and the tram loses electrical contact with the rails. In this event, the underframe of the tram, by virtue of a circuit path through ancillary loads (such as saloon lighting), is live at the full supply voltage, typically 600 volts. In British terminology such a tram was said to be ‘grounded’—not to be confused with the US English use of the term, which means the exact opposite. Any person stepping off the tram completed the earth return circuit and could receive a nasty electric shock. In such an event the driver was required to jump off the tram (avoiding simultaneous contact with the tram and the ground) and pull down the trolley before allowing passengers off the tram. Unless derailed, the tram could usually be recovered by running water down the running rails from a point higher than the tram. The water providing a conducting bridge between the tram and the rails.[citation needed]

In the 2000s, two companies introduced catenary-free designs. Alstom's Citadis line uses a third rail, and Bombardier's PRIMOVE LRV is charged by contactless induction plates embedded in the trackway.[51]


As early as 1834, Thomas Davenport, a Vermont blacksmith, had invented a battery-powered electric motor which he later patented. The following year he used it to operate a small model electric car on a short section of track four feet in diameter.[52][53]

Attempts to use batteries as a source of electricity were made from the 1880s and 1890s, with unsuccessful trials conducted in among other places Bendigo and Adelaide in Australia, and for about 14 years as The Hagueaccutram of HTM in the Netherlands. The first trams in Bendigo, Australia, in 1892, were battery-powered but within as little as three months they were replaced with horse-drawn trams. In New York City some minor lines also used storage batteries. Then, comparatively recently, during the 1950s, a longer battery-operated tramway line ran from Milan to Bergamo. In China there is a Nanjing battery Tram line and has been running since 2014.[54]

Other power sources[edit]

In some places, other forms of power were used to power the tram.

Hastings and some other tramways, for example Stockholms Spårvägar in Sweden and some lines in Karachi, used petrol trams. Paris operated trams that were powered by compressed air using the Mekarski system.

Galveston Island Trolley in Texas operated diesel trams due to the city's hurricane-prone location, which would result in frequent damage to an electrical supply system. Although Portland, Victoria promotes its tourist tram[55] as being a cable car it actually operates using a hidden diesel motor. The tram, which runs on a circular route around the town of Portland, uses dummies and salons formerly used on the extensive Melbourne cable tramway system and now beautifully restored.

In March 2015, China South Rail Corporation (CSR) demonstrated the world's first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle tramcar at an assembly facility in Qingdao. The chief engineer of the CSR subsidiary CSR Sifang Co Ltd., Liang Jianying, said that the company is studying how to reduce the running costs of the tram.[56][57]

Hybrid systems[edit]

The Trieste–Opicina tramway in Trieste operates a hybrid funicular tramway system. Conventional electric trams are operated in street running and on reserved track for most of their route. However, on one steep segment of track, they are assisted by cable tractors, which push the trams uphill and act as brakes for the downhill run. For safety, the cable tractors are always deployed on the downhill side of the tram vehicle.

Similar systems were used elsewhere in the past, notably on the Queen Anne Counterbalance in Seattle and the Darling Street wharf line in Sydney.


Single-ended vs double-ended[edit]

A double-ended tram has an operator's cab and controls at each end of the vehicle, which allows it to easily be driven at full speed in either direction on a continuous segment of track. Typically at the end of a run, the tram's operator will walk from one end of the tram to the other, and then commence the tram route in the other direction. The tram is usually switched to another track by use of crossover points or Y-points.

Conversely, a single-ended vehicle needs a method of turning at termini so that the operator's cab is in the front of the tram for the reverse journey. This usually necessitates a turning loop or triangle. On the other hand, the single cab and controls and fewer door spaces make the tram lighter, increases passenger accommodation (including many more seats) and effects reductions in equipment, weight, first-cost, maintenance cost, and operating expense.

A single-ended tram has operator's controls at only one end, and can safely be driven at speed in the forward direction but is also capable of reverse movement, typically at slower speed, using a small set of controls at the rear. The configuration of the doors is usually asymmetrical, favouring the side expected to be closest to the street kerb and footpath. At the end of a run, the tram must be turned around via a balloon loop or some other method, to face in the opposite direction for a return trip.

In addition, if overhead electrical power is fed from a trolley pole, the direction of the trolley pole must be reversed at the end of the run, to ensure that the pole is "pulled" behind or "trailing" the vehicle, to avoid 'dewiring'. This was achieved by a member of the crew swinging the pole through 180 degrees (if there was only one pole) or lowering one pole and raising the other if there were two. More commonly nowadays, a bidirectional pantograph may be used to feed power, eliminating the need for an extra procedure when reversing direction.

Two single-ended trams with doors on both sides may be coupled into a (semi-)permanently coupled married pair or twinset, with operator's controls at each end of the combination. Such a setup is operated as if it were a double-ended tram, except that the operator must exit one vehicle and enter the other, when reversing at the end of the run.


Articulated trams, invented and first used by the Boston Elevated Railway in 1912–13[58] at a total length of about twelve meters long (40 ft) for each pioneering example of twin-section articulated tram car, have two or more body sections, connected by flexible joints and a round platform at their pivoting midsection(s). Like articulated buses, they have increased passenger capacity. In practice, these trams can be up to 56 metres (184 ft) long (such as CAF Urbos 3 in Budapest, Hungary),[59] while a regular tram has to be much shorter. With this type, the articulation is normally suspended between carbody sections.

In the Škoda ForCity, which is the world's first 100% low floor tram with pivoting bogies, a Jacobs bogie supports the articulation between the two or more carbody sections. An articulated tram may be low-floor variety or high (regular) floor variety. Newer model trams may be up to 72 metres (236 ft) long and carry 510 passengers at a comfortable 4 passengers/m2. At crush loadings this would be even higher.[60]

Double decker[edit]

Main article: Double-decker tram

A double-decker tram is a tram that has two levels. Some double-decker trams have open tops.

The earliest double-deck trams were horse drawn. The first electric double-deck trams were those built for the Blackpool Tramway in 1898, one of which survives at the National Tramway Museum.

Double decker trams were commonplace in Great Britain and Dublin Ireland before most tramways were torn up in the 1950s and 1960s. New York City's New York Railways experimented in 1912 with a Brill double deck Hedley-Doyle stepless centre entrance car, nicknamed the "Broadway Battleship", a term that spread to other large streetcars.[61]Hobart, Tasmania, Australia made extensive use of double decker trams. Arguably the most unusual double-decker tram used to run between the isolated Western Australian outback town of Leonora and the nearby settlement of Gwalia.

Double decker trams still operate in Alexandria, Blackpool and Hong Kong.

Drop-Centre (lowered central section)[edit]

Many early 20th century trams used a lowered central section between the bogies (trucks). This made passenger access easier, reducing the number of steps required to reach the inside of the vehicle. These cars were frequently referred to as "drop-centres". It is believed that the design first originated in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1906 when Boon & Co Ltd. built 26 such trams in three series.[62] A number of these trams have been preserved. They were a popular design in Australia

Mule-drawn streetcar, Houston, USA, 1870s
Cable tram dummy and trailer on the St. Kilda Line in Melbourne in 1905.
Fully restored 1920 Toronto streetcar
A Box Hill to Doncaster tram in Melbourne, 1890s

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Now back in stock.
A short but informative booklet on the history of the Prahran & Malvern Tramways Trust. This municipal tramway system in the south-eastern suburbs was one of the predecessors off the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board.
The First Electric Road by Robert Green – $14.95
The definitive history of the short-lived Box Hill to Doncaster Tramway – the Southern Hemisphere’s first electric tram line. This ill-conceived venture came unstuck due to the failure of the land-boom of the 1890s.
Juggernaut! A Story of Sydney in the Wild Days of the Steam Trains by David Burke – $15.00
Sydney once ran the world’s largest steam tram network. Find out about the drama and danger of its operation, and the origin of the Australian expression “shoot through like a Bondi tram”.
Last Tram at 11 by William F. Scott – $59.95
The history of the regional Victorian tramways of Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. These tramways were all operated by private electricity companies, before they fell under the control of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria.
Launceston Municipal Transport 1911-1955 by Ian G. Cooper – $54.95
The complete story of one of the quaintest tramways in Australia, an essential part of the development of Tasmania’s second city for forty-four years.
The Melbourne Tram Book, 2nd edition by Randall Wilson and Dale Budd – $25.00
A pictorial review of Melbourne’s historic tramway system, the largest in the English speaking world. This book provides a valuable insight into the neophyte enthusiast into our city’s tramways.
Newcastle Trams Remembered by Noel Reed et al – $39.95
A pictorial review of the last days of Newcastle’s tramway system from 1947 to 1950, including photos by noted Australian tramway enthusiast Noel Reed.
The Northern Lines by Neville Smith – $6.00
Discover the role trams played in the development of Adelaide’s northern suburbs. A useful source of information for the dedicated tramway enthusiast.
One American too many – Boss Badger and the Brisbane Trams by David Burke – $29.50
Joseph Badger was a man of his time. An energetic American engineer, he ran the Brisbane Tramway Company for twenty-seven years from its beginning to its acquisition by the government, through one of the stormiest eras of Queensland political history. A must read for anyone interested in the history of Australian tramways.
Over the Viaduct to Henley Beach by Neville Smith – $6.00
Read about Adelaide’s Henley Beach route, which travelled over the longest timber tram viaduct in Australia, between the city and the sea.
Parade to Kensington by Neville Smith – $6.00
A fascinating short review of the history of Adelaide’s Kensington & Norwood tram routes, an essential part of the tramway system of the city of churches.
“Please step inside” – a nostalgic look at Australian tramways in the 1950s compiled by Carl Segnit – $39.95
A nostalgic photographic essay of Australian trams in the 1950s, filled with rare images of streetscenes in vibrant colour. The title of this publication is derived from a tram sign which politely invited Melburnians to board their iconic W class trams.
Prahran & Malvern Tramways Trust: Melbourne’s foremost municipal tramway by Ian A. Brady – $59.95
An exciting new history of the largest of the pre-M&MTB municipal tramways trusts of Melbourne.
Ryle’wy: How the horse buses transformed Sydney by Duncan MacAuslan– $59.95
A newly released history of horse-drawn transport in Sydney from 1840 to 1920.
Shooting Through: Sydney by Tram by Caroline Butler-Bowdon, Annie Campbell and Howard Clark – $20.00
A beautifully illustrated short history of Sydney’s trams from 1861 to 1961. Written for the Shooting Through exhibition at the Museum of Sydney in 2009.
A Short History of the North Melbourne Electric Tramways & Lighting Company by K.S. Kings – $10.00
Adapted from the original 1966 work by Keith S. Kings, this booklet tells the story of the privately-owned North Melbourne Electric Tramways & Lighting Company.
A Short History of the Victorian Railways Trams by David Frost – $10.00
The two tramlines operated by Victorian Railways in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne are long gone and forgotten. This booklet provides an interesting historical sketch of a distant time and place, when the latest in urban public transport was the electric street railway.
The Southern Lines by Neville Smith and John Radcliffe – $6.00
The transition from horse trams to electric trams is only part of the story of Adelaide’s southern routes. Discover how they influenced the development of the southern suburbs.
Tracing Trams Through Sydney by Jim Longworth – $49.95
An invaluable guide for fossickers and amateur archaeologists determined to see the traces that electric trams left on Sydney, complete with maps to help find signs of what was once Australia’s largest tramway system.
Tram Images by Hugh Ballment – $39.95
A nostalgic photographic journey on the tramways of Australia and New Zealand in the 1950s and 1960s, by noted tramway enthusiast and photographer Hugh Ballment.
More Tram Images by Hugh Ballment – $59.95
If you liked Tram Images, you will love the new More Tram Images, with the added bonus of a DVD that includes footage (largely filmed by the author) from the 1950s of trams in Sydney, Wellington, Perth and other cities.
Tramcars & Trolleybuses In & Around Port Adelaide by Neville Smith – $6.00
The story in pictures and words of the Port Adelaide tram and trolleybus system. Electric traction provided public transport to this gritty workingman’s suburb for decades, before it fell to the domination of the diesel omnibus.
Trams of Australia – Volume 1, Revised and Expanded – $11.95
Trams of Australia – Volume 2 – $11.95
A colourful pictorial review of Australian trams in two large format volumes.
Tramway by the River by Bob Prentice – $10.00
The story of the short-lived Hawthorn Tramways Trust, the organisation responsible for the construction of Hawthorn Depot, now the home of the Melbourne Tram Museum.
Tramways of Sydney by David R. Keenan – $23.95
A photographic history of one hundred years of Sydney’s historic tramways, from its beginnings in 1861 as Australia’s first horse tramway, through its peak as one of the world’s largest electric tramway systems, to closure in 1961. A valuable reference work for any enthusiast.

Books for kids

Ghost Tram by Robert Lastdrager – $15.00
A whimsical allegory for life at journey’s end, Ghost Tram wends its way through old Melbourne at night. For children aged 5 to 12 and adults young at heart.
When you go to Melbourne by Maree Coote – $25.00
Appealing to kids and adults alike, a colourful romp through the delights of Melbourne. Solve the puzzles by seeking out the hidden motifs in every page. A wonderful momento of Melbourne and its trams.