Melbourne cable tramway system

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Cable tram dummy and trailer on the St Kilda Line in Melbourne in 1905.

The Melbourne cable tramway system was a cable car public transportation system operated from 1885 to 1942 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

The system grew to about 75 kilometres (47 mi) of double track (103.2 route km or 64.12 route miles) and 1200 cars and trailers, on 15 radiating routes from the centre of Melbourne to neighbouring suburbs.[1] It was one of the largest cable car systems in the world, comparable with the San Francisco and Chicago cable car networks.[1] George Smith Duncan was appointed as consulting engineer (and subsequently engineer) for the development of the tramway network.[2] The network in Melbourne was built by local Tramway trusts composed of local councils and municipalities, and was operated by the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company[2] from 1885 to 1916 (with the exception of the Northcote tramway, which was privately built and operated[3]), after which the service was transferred to the Victorian Government, and passed to the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board on 1 November 1919 (the Northcote tramway was transferred to the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board on 20 February 1920[3]).[4]

Although the first electric tram was introduced in 1885 at Doncaster and ran for 11 years, the electric tram network did not seriously commence until 1906 when the Victorian Railways built an "Electric Street Railway" from St Kilda railway station to Brighton, and the North Melbourne Electric Tramway and Lighting Company (NMETL) built a feeder line from the terminus of the cable system out towards Essendon.[5] From 1924 the cable tram lines were progressively converted to electric trams with the last Melbourne cable tram operating on 26 October 1940.[6][7]

Cable tram network[edit]

Spencer Street - Richmond tramway[edit]

Line opened on 11 November 1885. The trams operated along Spencer from Bourke Street to Flinders Street, Flinders Street to Wellington Parade, Bridge Road to Hawthorn Bridge. The powerhouse was located on Bridge Road, at Hoddle Street, and has since been demolished for a left turn lane. The remains of the Richmond Cable Tram depot now form part of the Amora Hotel, near Hawthorn Bridge. The trams were double-ended dummy and trailer operated by a single-jaw side grip on a 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) gauge tram line.[2]

North Fitzroy tramway[edit]

Line opened on 2 October 1886 with the powerhouse located on the north east corner of Victoria Parade and Brunswick Street.[2][8]

Victoria Bridge tramway[edit]

Line opened on 22 November 1886 with the powerhouse located on the north east corner of Victoria Parade and Brunswick Street.[2][8]

Clifton Hill tramway[edit]

Line opened on 10 August 1887 with the powerhouse located on the south east corner of Nicholson Street and Gertrude Street.[2][9]

Nicholson Street tramway[edit]

Line opened on 30 August 1887 with the powerhouse located on the south east corner of Nicholson Street and Gertrude Street.[2][9]

Brunswick tramway[edit]

Line opened on 1 October 1887 with the powerhouse located on the north west corner of Brunswick Road and Black Street.[2]

Johnston Street Bridge (Collingwood) tramway[edit]

Line opened on 21 December 1887 with the powerhouse located on the north side of Johnston Street, near Brunswick Street.[2]

Brighton Road tramway[edit]

Line opened on 11 October 1888 with the powerhouse located on the south east corner of St. Kilda Road and Bromby Street.[2]

Prahran tramway[edit]

Line opened on 26 October 1888 with the powerhouse located on the north west corner of Toorak Road and Chapel Street.[2]

North Carlton tramway[edit]

Line opened on 9 February 1889 with the powerhouse located at the south west corner of: Rathdowne Street and Park Street.[2][10]

Toorak tramway[edit]

Line opened on 15 February 1889 with the powerhouse located on the north west corner of Toorak Road and Chapel Street.[2]

North Melbourne tramway[edit]

Line opened on 3 March 1890 with the powerhouse located at the south west corner of Queensberry Street and Abbotsford Street.[2][11]

West Melbourne tramway[edit]

Line opened on 18 April 1890 with the powerhouse located at the south west corner of Queensberry Street and Abbotsford Street.[2]

South Melbourne tramway[edit]

Line opened on 17 June 1890 with the powerhouse located on the south side of City Road, near Cecil Street.[2]

Port Melbourne tramway[edit]

Line opened on 20 June 1890 with the powerhouse located on the south side of City Road, near Cecil Street.[2]

Windsor to St. Kilda Esplanade tramway[edit]

Line opened on 17 October 1891 with the powerhouse located on the north side of Wellington Street, near Marlton Crescent.[2] This was the first major line to close on 29 August 1925.[7]

Northcote tramway[edit]

Line opened on 18 February 1890 and was originally operated as an independent line, with the powerhouse located on the north east corner of High Street and Martin Street.[2][12] This was Melbourne's only privately built and operated cable tramway.[3] The powerhouse building is occupied in 2005 by an automobile service and repair business.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Melbourne's cable trams", David Hoadley, retrieved 2011-10-17 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Cable Tramways in Australia and New Zealand", Joe Thompson, retrieved 2011-10-17 
  3. ^ a b c "Northcote: the on again, off again cable tramway", Friends of Hawthorn Tram Depot, retrieved 2011-10-03 
  4. ^ "Milestones, 1911 - 1920", Yarra Trams, retrieved 2011-10-17 
  5. ^ "The First Electric Trams", Yarra Trams, retrieved 2011-10-17 
  6. ^ "History of trains, trams and buses", Department of Transport, retrieved 2011-10-19 
  7. ^ a b "Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board", Yarra Trams, retrieved 2011-10-17 
  8. ^ a b "Former Brunswick Street cable tram engine house, Victorian Heritage Inventory Number H7822-0984". Victorian Heritage Database. Heritage Victoria. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  9. ^ a b "Former Nicholson Street cable tram engine house, Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) Number H0584, Heritage Overlay HO181". Victorian Heritage Database. Heritage Victoria. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  10. ^ "Former North Carlton cable tram engine house, Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) Number H0718, Heritage Overlay HO120". Victorian Heritage Database. Heritage Victoria. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  11. ^ "Former cable tram engine house and cable tram track formation, Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) Number H0988, Heritage Overlay HO283". Victorian Heritage Database. Heritage Victoria. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  12. ^ "Former Northcote Cable Tramways Site, Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) Number H2129, Heritage Overlay HO45". Victorian Heritage Database. Heritage Victoria. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

The Melbourne Cable Trams Matthews, H.H. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, January 1941