Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Transport Tuesday

To look at this photo you would not think that Sydney's tram system was very fast and very efficient. Sydney had the largest tram system in the world after London. Note at the bottom of the photo a policeman in a pith (no lisp) helmet. He is directing traffic and with the huge number of people moved by trams, priority was given to keeping them moving in preference to motor cars.

The photo was taken at Taylor Square looking towards the city along Oxford Street, later to become known as the gay mile. Back then it was quite a retail shopping street and a very busy tram arterial with trams to Bondi Beach and numerous south eastern beachside suburbs. The photo was taken in 1950. By 1961 trams had disappeared from Sydney's streets. 

I expect the Google Street View car was there at a quiet time. While not manic like in the old photo, Oxford Street is still very busy with many cars and buses. The Oxford Hotel visible on the right was a gay venue, then degayed and has now regayed. We had a nice meal and a good time there in May this year.

36 comments:

  1. It looks like utter chaos, a great shot. Regayed. I like that.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. WWW, I should put copyright on regayed.

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  2. Chaotic is right. I wouldn't fancy my chances trying to cross that road.

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    1. Marie, the cop in the pith helmet will ensure pedestrians get a safe turn to cross.

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  3. It does look chaotic.
    WWW is right. Regayed is a wonderful word.

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    1. EC, I don't feel particularly gay at the moment but maybe I will be regayed.

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  4. My beloved grew up in Bondi. They were all heartbroken when they lost their trams.

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    1. Hels, from day 1 the double decker buses could not cope with the loading and what happened? People changed to private cars.

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  5. I got the impression from hearing my grandfather talk (he was born in the late 19th north of Pittsburgh, PA) that, as a young man, he went all over the place by streetcar. If he were around today, I would ask for more details.

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    1. Cynthia, I am absolutely sure Pittsburgh would have a large streetcar system. All big cities in the US did.

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  6. People talk how great 50's was and I say "No Thank You"
    Coffee is on and stay safe

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    1. Dora, for most things, I agree with you.

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  7. The pith helmeted policemen were a very colonial Brit thing. The Hong Kong police used to direct traffic from a podium in the middle of the intersection.
    I am curious as to the de-gaying and re-gaying. It sniffs of more discrimination but I hope I am wrong.

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    1. Caro, I can remember the podium at Camberwell Junction where police used to stand.
      Degaying and regaying was a very commercial decision. Oxford Street lost favour as a destination for gay men and no doubt the hotel thought it could make more money from straight people. Maybe it did for a while. From what we saw, the hotel is now a very successful gay venue.

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  8. I wonder if we went back to tram travel (instead of many cars with only one person in them), would there be more tolerance of others, since we are all "in it together"? Would this foster more goodwill towards fellow men? I remember tram travel and also remember the early days of immigration when newcomers were much more accepted than now.

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    1. River, interesting thoughts. I think tram travellers are much more relaxed than car drivers. I don't fume when I am in a tram like I do when I drive. One of the worst things about lockdown is driving everywhere. Our car would once sit for days and not be used. I am not so sure about immigrants in earlier days being more accepted. I'd have to give some thought to that.

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  9. Does degaying a street involve the use of pliers?

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    1. No YP but there is a sex on premises venue down the street where pliers may be used.

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    2. You seem to know a lot about that place.

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  10. I can be your on the scene tram er, light rail reporter. Happy to respond to any requests.

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    1. James, I am fairly well informed. L2 and L3 have reduced absurd running times from over 50 minutes to just over 30 minutes since its opening. However, I am not up to speed with bus changes in south eastern suburbs where people are expected to change to trams. Once you return to your office, will you catch the tram and then walk to your office?

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    2. I'm close enough to walk, except in rainy weather. The 304 along Cleveland Street is still a better option, as it probbly delivers me closer to rain protection than the tram does. Also, it means I can get to work avoiding the awful Devonshire Street tunnel. But either is still a good option, since we're pretty well served in the inner city.

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  11. The challenge of street level transit is always interaction with other traffic. Many US cities had street cars until the 1950's, my father had a nice rant about how Detroit lost theirs to GM buses

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    1. TP, I would not surprised that Detroit lost their street cars early, as home of GM. No conspiracy theory, but fact.

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  12. Busy days back then with the trams…,header looks nice.

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    1. Thanks Margaret. The header is different again now and I am happy with it.

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  13. I laughed at "pith (no lisp)"!

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    1. Steve, every time I say the word, I feel like I am lisping.

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    1. It certainly is Strayer, probably busier back then.

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  15. Love that pith helmet.

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  16. I thought you wrote this today but it’s dated yesterday…..not sure why I didn’t notice it.
    When we first arrived (1972) there used to be police directing traffic outside the station in the middle of the Flinders/Swanston/StKilda Road intersection. Whoa betide any one running late for a train and trying to get across that pedestrian crossing. The piercing noise of the police whistle could be heard for miles

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    1. Cathy, I can remember police at Flinders/Swanston but I did not really experience them. Interesting that they were so harsh. Who would dear disobey them. I do remember the police at Camberwell Junction directing traffic. Each cop only had about an hour there, and then changed over because of the exhaust fumes from vehicles. Health and safety in the 60s and 70s.

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  17. Beautiful 'then' and 'now' photos. Loved your header!

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