Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Terrible tram crash

Gee, tram passengers dying in a crash. That must be very rare. Trams are an ever such a safe way to travel. But in the early days of the twentieth century, some did die. McMahons Point is a salubrious part of Sydney, and so it received a tram service in the early years of the twentieth century.

It must have been a busy enough route as there were two trams coupled together. One of the trams became defective and so the driver and conductor worked out a plan, no doubt following company policy, for the driver to power the tram and the conductor to brake. They were at opposite ends of the two trams. It was a foggy, damp and wet day.

They soon lost control of the tram. It gained a speed of 80kph, or 50mph on the steep slope down to McMahons Point. Some people had jumped off, as you would but well before it reached a speed of 80 I should think. It derailed on a curve, went over an embankment and ploughed into a house, and then the rear car telescoped into the front car.

There were many injuries and two deaths and probably a very surprised home owner. I don't know the actual site or topography, but I would guess at the corner of Blues Point Road and Henry Lawson Avenue.

And I take the chance to repost a couple of my favourite Sydney tram pictures.


  1. geez that sounds horrible!


  2. Gosh Andrew your knowledge of local history is impressive. A very topical blog post, too - given the surge in numbers of tram crashes around Melbourne of late, non?

  3. Love the eclectic nature of your variety of posts, Andrew. What a feast of local history you provide. My great-uncle William was killed at age 6 when run over by a cable tram somewhere in St Kilda around 1900. His twisted shoe was one of the last things my mum found when going through my gran's things after she died.

  4. Pretty awful Keshi, but it was probably fun for kids until it came to an abrupt stop.

    Oui Rosanna, although the crashes seemed to have stopped for the time being.

    Thought I might be able to narrow it down for you Lad, but cable tram went down Brighton Road to almost Glen Eira Road, and Fitzroy Street and the Upper Esplanade much as they do now. 'Tis sad that he died so young. It must have been awful at the time.

  5. Anonymous11:42 am

    How did you get those photos?

  6. Same place I get most photos I don't take myself, the net. All already published in a public group, without credit, although I see one has details of the photographer. I would guess that one is from NSW public library as the writing on the photo looks like NSW label some of their pictures.