This is our Centenary Tram on special display for the day. It sported a specially configured extra braking system to safely convey its passengers down the steep downhill incline of Neutral Bay Road. It was the last four wheel tram in regular passenger service – into the mid 1950s!
Our technically minded enthusiasts will want us to explain this tram’s special features.It featured track brakes – these were brake blocks which would be lowered onto the track to act as skids and be applied by the driver before the tram’s descent. Once safely on a flat surface at Neutral Bay Wharf, these would be wound back off again.
Interestingly, track brakes are back in fashion as fast acting emergency brakes in modern light rail vehicles. Melbourne has them.
MORE ON THE TRAMS YOU’LL RIDE THIS SUNDAY *
Number 728 was one of the early crossbench compartment trams introduced when the previous main style (shown as the middle picture on the previous page) demonstrated that 48 seater trams were inadquate for catering with the demand. It seated 70.
This style began in the early 1900s.
The body style on the final photograph came into being during the twenties. It boasted such features as concertina doors for all compartments, offering better weather protection and vision thanks to easily opened windows with sash balances along side all bench seats.
The bottom picture shows number 154: it’s underframe and equipment were from the earlier 48 seater tram mentioned just above and represented by tram 363 shown on our first page.. About 100 of the rebuilt versions as shown to the right comprised the entire Newcastle passenger fleet. Another 150 plied in the western and south-western suburbs.
This is the sole working survivor in the rebuilt form.
* Running of each tram is subject to its passing its daily pre-service tests.