Any photos of Trams on Somerville rd Yarraville

 
  Jeremy Dillon Beginner

I'm new to the forum, I'm finding it fascinating.
I've lived in the Yarraville area for 10 years, but only just discovered that there used to be a local Tram route running down Somerville rd! (Surprising to me, possibly not to many of you)
Anyway. I would love to see some photos of trams or even just the team lines running down this road if they exist. Where would I start looking?
Thanks,
Jeremy

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  glennofootscray Junior Train Controller

Location: Footscray
G'day Jeremy,

Yes trams did run along Somerville Rd, From Gamon St to Williamstown Rd, I have a photo of a tram at the Willi Rd terminus, and it featured on a short then and now video I did last year.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TUQ1qPnWVQ

Now the 223 bus pretty much shadows the old tram route from Williamstown Rd through Seddon, Footscray then out along Droop St and Ballarat Rd to Rosamond Rd (the Ballarat Rd terminus).

Google tramsdownunder photos search Yarraville trams might be a start.

Regards Glenn.
  Jeremy Dillon Beginner

Hi Glenn,
That's a great video. You've done an excellent job of matching the then's with now's! Are they photos from your own collection? The credits say that you scanned them yourself.
I thought I might have a look at the Footscray Historical Society. They list a "Vertical File" of "Tramways" on their website which sounds promising. I'm not sure what the process is, I'll send them an email and see if that gets the ball rolling.
Cheers
Jeremy
  xxxxlbear Token Booking Clerk

Location: Geelong
Wow! What a thread..what a video!

Before moving to Geelong, almost 10 years ago now, I used to live close enough to St Augustines Church to be able to smell the incense, and the lit candles, on any given Sunday during Mass. I know the Somerville Road /  Gamon Street intersection so well, so to see the  trams along familiar streets and roads took my breath away.

What interested me that I picked up from the video was that the bus depot ( I presume it's the current Melbourne Bus Link depot opposite what was the council pool) used to be a tram depot!!
I learn something new everyday ShockedSurprised
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Why was that route cut back to the end of Irving street?
  Flygon Train Controller

Location: Australia
Why was that route cut back to the end of Irving street?
Myrtone
Lack of patronage, I am lead to understand.
  scrat Assistant Commissioner

Location: Fitzroy North
One other option that has been raised is that the MMTB didn't want to extend or duplicate the track. Cutting it short with the abandonment of most of the Footscray system and replacing the cut lines with buses removes the possibility of future political pressure to extend it.

Liam.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
If we were to re-extend it today, there would be more constrainsts on providing tram stops then was the case when the lines were orginially bulit, they wolud end up being more intrusinve than most (four land road) tram stops here in Melbourne today, unless we can find a way to provide easy access from street level stops. Then again, if you ask me, if we really want universal access at all stops, that's the most realistic way to go, as history appears to show us, what are we going to do about bus stops.
  xxxxlbear Token Booking Clerk

Location: Geelong
If we were to re-extend it today, there would be more constrainsts on providing tram stops then was the case when the lines were orginially bulit, they wolud end up being more intrusinve than most (four land road) tram stops here in Melbourne today, unless we can find a way to provide easy access from street level stops. Then again, if you ask me, if we really want universal access at all stops, that's the most realistic way to go, as history appears to show us, what are we going to do about bus stops.
Myrtone
There shouldn't, in theory I guess, be an issue wih bus stops, as 'kneeling' buses are becoming more and more regular on bus routes, and are able to 'kneel' at bus stops allowing easy access, or are able to extend a ramp to the footpath to allow wheelchair bound passengers to board.
But we digress from the thread topic.
  glennofootscray Junior Train Controller

Location: Footscray
A combination of events led to the demise of the Footscray local lines, the increase in the uptake of motor cars, rather short medium to lower density routes, ageing and flogged out infrastructure, the small footprint of the depot/substation too small to suit numerous bogie trams combined with its limited power supply, together with the phasing out of single truck (low capacity) trams. All these and more conspired against it.

The establishment of 82 route (opened May '54) was really a means of joining up the loose ends of the ordnance spur (main system) to the ammos/Gordon St spur (Footscray local), as some sort of possible strategic cold war self reliant/low oil military federal directive (given the industry in the area), because the real estate potential of Maidstone was never ever going to be that that dense to support it.

The eventual saving grace for the 82 was that it not only that it has outlived the original industry, but it now serves the ever expanding Highpoint and the urban renewal of ex government/industrial land.


To support Myrtone,
"To put it bluntly, B doubles and platform stops in Somerville Rd today would never work or fit."
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
There shouldn't, in theory I guess, be an issue wih bus stops, as 'kneeling' buses are becoming more and more regular on bus routes, and are able to 'kneel' at bus stops allowing easy access, or are able to extend a ramp to the footpath to allow wheelchair bound passengers to board.
But we digress from the thread topic.
xxxxlbear
Exactly, if buses can do that why shouldn't trams?
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
3L Diesel, Sir Robert Risson was a great man in Victorian history in my opinion, a bit like Sir John Monash.

Henry Bolte was against the trams as he had bought the guff that trams were antiquated and inefficient, an obstacle to motorists.  Robert Risson managed to convince him to keep trams by releasing scientific papers demonstrating that trams were in fact the best way of moving large crowds of people and that buses would never be able to replicate them.  I recall reading one study from the fifties where they showed that St Kilda road would be clogged with cars and buses if they removed the trams; trams transported thousands of people in a short time simply not possible with a bus route.  He also commissioned tram propaganda such as the film "Citizen Tram" in the 1960's: have a look for it on YouTube, it's really a great short film.  Sir Robert managed to keep advocating for the tram system he ran right up until Bolte's replacement with a much greener Dick Hamer, and Hamer immediately gave the MMTB money to develop the Z1 so the future of Melbourne trams was assured after that.  Sir Robert then retired after many decades at the helm, his job done.

IF it wasn't for one man and his determination, we would probably have lost our trams.  Brisbane lost theirs in 1969, just as the tide was turning back in favour of trams; they actually had a technically advanced system (mostly re-done in concrete) with more modern cars than ours but they still got shafted by their own Lord Mayor, a tram-hating Clem Jones.  It's worth noting that Footscray wasn't the only loss in Victoria - Ballarat and Bendigo campaigned very hard to keep their trams but they weren't under the jurisdiction of the MMTB and they subsequently lost in the early 70's.  There were also "Victorian Railways" trams to Brighton and Black Rock but that's a story for another time...
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
I don't know Melbourne that well, but was the region that had tramway closures actually far less populated / less needing of trams, or are our "conspiricy theories" more likely have caused those closures. Certainly Melbourne owes a debt of gratitude to Risson.
3l diesel

Footscray wasn't that dense prior to the eighties and the tramway system was fairly small; Footscray to Somerville Road, Yarraville for example actually isn't that far, you could probably walk it if you had to wait more than 15 minutes for a tram.  As GlenofFootscray mentioned, it just wasn't economical compared to the main system where the numbers and distances are much greater - and yes, the system did get run down towards the end affecting the viability.

Ballarat and Bendigo is a completely different story altogether because they were never MMTB to begin with - by a quirk of history they were actually owned and run by the State Electricity Commission since the twenties.  Similarly, they became run down but there was huge community opposition to closure, so much so that it was 1971/2 before they got around to it, the last tramway closures in Australia (I think).
  scrat Assistant Commissioner

Location: Fitzroy North
There were two other big reasons in addition to what Don mentioned. There was a union deal/demand/dispute which loosely meant that trams had to operate with a conductor and buses that replaced trams would to, so there was no economic advantage to replacing the trams (read more here). The second dove tails in with that, and is that by the 1960s pretty much the entire network of the track and fleet of trams were less than 40 years old, meaning they weren't life expired. It was successfully (and accurately) argued that to replace the trams with buses would cost much more than to leave them rot. The trams network also cost the government very little, as the MMTB was mostly self funding. By the time it was closer to life expired the tide had turned, and trams were in favour again.

I also wouldn't rule out the great influence that both Cameron and Bell had in building such a modern system for Risson to preside over.

Liam.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Scrat, do you know if there are any books detailing the Risson era and/or the Bolte government?  It's a little known-fact that Bolte (a Liberal Premier) got our state into huge amounts of debt to build badly-needed infrastructure... it makes our current mob look timid and incompetent.   Ultimately Bolte's spending (particularly on water systems and water supply) proved to a boon for our state.

I've become really interested in local history recently and there's some great books about our history I've been looking for; one that I recommend is "The Land Boomers", the story of the 1890's property crash.  If you don't know about the history of our state and how property speculation destroyed our banking system 120 years ago then I thoroughly recommend it; I've read this book in public libraries but I would also love to own it.
  scrat Assistant Commissioner

Location: Fitzroy North
Scrat, do you know if there are any books detailing the Risson era and/or the Bolte government?  It's a little known-fact that Bolte (a Liberal Premier) got our state into huge amounts of debt to build badly-needed infrastructure... it makes our current mob look timid and incompetent.   Ultimately Bolte's spending (particularly on water systems and water supply) proved to a boon for our state.

I've become really interested in local history recently and there's some great books about our history I've been looking for; one that I recommend is "The Land Boomers", the story of the 1890's property crash.  If you don't know about the history of our state and how property speculation destroyed our banking system 120 years ago then I thoroughly recommend it; I've read this book in public libraries but I would also love to own it.
don_dunstan
Hi Don,

Sorry, I don't know of any books on Risson, but I can point you towards the Friends of Hawthorn Depot Articles page which is a wonderful source. I think two pages would be of interest to you: The Sir Robert Risson era: an enduring legacy and Fares please! An economic history of the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board. I can also recommend Running Journal vol 6, no 3, although that is more of an overview of the MMTB, than directly about Risson.

Liam, who proudly owns many Melbourne history books, including 'The Land Boomers'.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Hi Don,

Sorry, I don't know of any books on Risson, but I can point you towards the Friends of Hawthorn Depot Articles page which is a wonderful source. I think two pages would be of interest to you: The Sir Robert Risson era: an enduring legacy and Fares please! An economic history of the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board. I can also recommend Running Journal vol 6, no 3, although that is more of an overview of the MMTB, than directly about Risson.

Liam, who proudly owns many Melbourne history books, including 'The Land Boomers'.
scrat

Thanks for this, Liam.  

The "Land Boomers" is a great book, isn't it.  People seem to think that being an instant property millionaire from speculation is exclusively a 21st century thing.  What they don't realise is that it's all been done before - the Melbourne residential property market took more than 20 years to recover from that 1890 crash.  The story of the Chaffey Brothers is really interesting too - selling blocks of land in Mildura to Melbourne people who didn't even know where it was... as PT Barnum said, there's one born every minute.

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