Edward St lines in Brisbane
From: Stephen Lindburg
Date:

Hello again,

Kenneth Brown has requested a bit more information about the former Edward
St lines in Brisbane. Here we go:

There were actually two Edward St lines. South of Queens St a line ran down
to the Botanic Gardens. It was linked to Queen St by a single curve across
the south-western corner. It was worked as a shuttle service by old
combination cars which had been converted for one-man operation by
reconfiguring the seats on the outer, open sections. Cars 47 and 53 were
used in this way.

In Edward St on the northern side of Queen St there was a symmetrical stub
terminus for the other line up to Gregory Tce. It crossed Adelaide St and
ran up the hill via Upper Edward St, Leichhardt and Wickham Sts to Gregory
Tce. It was all double track except for a short section approaching Gregory
Tce. The line continued as single track right down to the Normanby Fiveways,
where it connected with the Kelvin Grove line, probably in both directions,
but definitely from the south. I think there may have been a balloon loop at
Gregory Tce but have never been able to clearly confirm that. It was not
there in the 1960's. The line closed in 1947, initially being replaced by
motor buses, but later trolleybuses, in 1951. The tracks were removed and
the roads reconstructed, though the section up on the ridge in College Rd,
Wickham Tce and Leichhardt St remained. It was used to allow trams from
Paddington to come across the top of the city in the evening peak and to
come down Wharf St to collect passengers in Adelaide St. I can recall seeing
the curves from Leichhardt St into Upper Edward St in the 1970's and 80's
when the road surface had worn away a bit; they're probably still there.

The northern Edward St line was extremely steep as is still obvious.
Vertical curvature prevented the use of double truck trams, so it had to be
worked by small, uneconomic, single-truck cars; numbers 94-99. This is
probably why it closed so early. It must have been very hard work to drive
those trams, as they only had hand brakes and were prone to wheelslip on the
steep grades; much sand was required.

Edward St had the distinction of hosting both Australia's steepest tram line
as well as it shortest.

I've attached two pictures. One is an old Murray Views postcard showing a
Baby Centre Aisle "Type A" car crossing the railway bridge at Central and
passing the Canberra hotel. Hopefully no-one has a problem with me posting
such an old image, which I didn't take myself. I think the tram is no. 96,
though it's hard to make out. Hopefully you can also make out a second tram
in the extreme distance, down near the Gardens.

The second picture shows no. 47 in open storage at the Milton Workshops in
1965. It was looking very sad by this stage, but thankfully was restored in
1968-69 and now runs regularly at the Brisbane tramway museum.

Cheers, Stephen Lindburg

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