Tuesday, May 13, 2014

When Trams Go Bad . . .

The post about the origin of the phrase "shoot through like a Bondi tram" prompted a comment from long time friend Maureen:

Dear Otto, 
Coming from a family of tram drivers on the Bondi run, I believe the origin actually relates to Old South Head Road. 
When the trams from Bondi Junction got to the top of the rather sharply inclined (i.e. steep) hill in New South Head Road the drivers would just coast down to the big intersection where that road meets O’Sullivan Road, Birriga Road and Blair Street. At that point the trams would either go on in Old South Head Road or turn right into Bondi Road or Lamrock Street. O’Sullivan Road back to the city was on a different loop. 
Too bad if you wanted to get off in Old South Head Road half way down the hill. It was “shooting through” and the tram had right of way over passengers and traffic simply because it was at a speed which meant it was difficult to stop. Either get off at the top, or catch a tram going back up.  
Plenty of times trams came to grief because they were travelling too fast at the bottom intersection.  

I defer to someone who has greater knowledge than me about Bondi trams.

Here are some older pics of Sydney tram accidents:

Bondi line scenes:

Tram smash at Bondi Junction 1939

Other areas:

Collision between tram and coal truck, Botany Road Mascot, early 1940s.

Tram accident, Rozelle, 1947

The road to Taronga Park Zoo has a sharp decline that on occasion accounted for trams failing to stop at the wharf at the end and ending up in the harbour. This happened in 1942, 1952 and 1958, the photo above being of the 1958 event. 

The 1952 plunge at Taronga Park Zoo.

The 1942 plunge.

Accident cnr Hunter and Pitt Streets, Sydney. 1940’s?

. . . and a couple of pics to show why there were accidents and collisions:

George St looking south from Martin Place, early 1950s

Sydney CBD, date unknown

Sydney 1949

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  1. Maureen

    There was no tram line as you described.

    The original line ran along Oxford St and Bondi Rd, the term came from the steam trams that used this line.

    A later line ran through Fiveways, along Edgelcliff Rd and down Birriga Rd and Blair St. Too many sharp curves here for any "shooting through" unfortunately.

  2. The same tram 1890 is shown in both the 1942 and 1952 pictures above.

    The 1942 tram was 1875


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