Saturday, August 16, 2014

Transport, history and a new tram

Grace from Perth Daily Photo mentioned that I must really love trains. Well, I kind of do. I like travelling on them. I like seeing steam trains smoke and belch steam. I even like diesel trains, spewing out their filth. I like trams too. A dyke friend from years past once told me she loved travelling on trams because they felt human. She thought trains felt like she was part of a mob of cattle being transported.

But there is the bigger picture of trains and trams, that is steam and then electric rail transport. They are such a very important part of our history. Many of our newer western cities, 19th century on, were formed by them. Rail transport made our cities what they now are. Getting a train or tram line to near where you lived involved lobbying, parliamentary inquiries, bribery and corruption and a whole lot more. If you were a land developer who wanted people to buy your new houses on a distant estate, just bribery and corruption and lobbying to get a train or tram line would suffice.

Generally now, the construction of rail transport is reactive, but there was a time when it was pro-active, where a railway encouraged settlement and growth of area.

This was written ages ago and unfinished but now seems to be the time to publish as Queensland's premier tourist area, the Gold Coast, has opened a brand new light rail line.

It runs from Griffith University Gold Coast Campus in the north to Broadbeach Waters in the south, with a possible future extension south to Coolangatta and north to Helensvale. I am not at all familiar with the Gold Coast, so I am unsure of the geography other than what I can see on a map.

There was fierce opposition to the project, especially  by local residents who became prolific letter writers to the Gold Coast Bulletin and some business owners but common sense won through. It was argued that trams, or light rail if you prefer, were terribly dangerous and would kill people. It was argued that no one would use it. Already patronage figures are higher than forecast. It was argued that it would be a drain on public funds. No, it is planned to run at a profit.

Does this look like a failed project?


 The Flexity 2 trams look very smart, built by Bombardier in Germany.


Yes, there have been issues with stupid old motorists.


Another one.


Last photo from ABC, the first three from the Gold Coast Bulletin. Below is my favourite, from the Port Stephens Examiner, showing a tram crossing the Nerang River bridge at Southport. I wonder if my Queensland correspondents, Diane and Bill, are planning a visit and ride soon.

8 comments:

  1. Andrew, I believe you definitely love transport. It is clear if someone reads your posts. I love trains and trams,too. The new tram is comfortable and I have seen them when I was in Germany in May. They are very similar to our which we have in Upper Silesia which were made in Germany too. Trams looks so nice in Melbourne, so nice composition.I love it.

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    1. Thanks Gosia. Actually this new tram is in the north of Australia, a long way from me.

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  2. I hope that the powers that be in Canberra win out and we get some light rail here. More public transport certainly can't hurt. At all.

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    1. EC, yes, Canberra is sorely lacking in rail transport.

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  3. As a regular visitor to the Gold Coast I always though it was a perfect location for light rail with its growing population and the wide long spine of a road running many kilometres through it from from north to south.

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    1. Victor, probably an area I should visit, but I don't feel the need. It would have never been built under the present state and federal governments.

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  4. "It was argued that trams, or light rail if you prefer, were terribly dangerous and would kill people. It was argued that no one would use it."

    With scare mongering tactics like these, they are explicitly trying to ensure that no-one ever uses the system :( I think citizens are brighter than that.

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    1. Hels, it seem seems people are smarter as the project went ahead and people are using the new system.

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