In the Sydney Tramway Album group on Facebook, a contributer has posted
photos of the system in action from Pix magazine (typical anti-tram press
of the time as you'll see from the captions) in the early 1950s. The system
was still moving about 200 million people per year at this time in spite of
significant sections of it already having been closed and replaced by
buses. The photos would have been intended to show how terrible the trams
were and how they blocked up the roads, but in fact they demonstrate the
huge crowd-moving capacity of the system compared to the buses and cars
around the trams. The trams also moved along because motor traffic
generally stayed out of the tram lanes in Sydney, unlike Melbourne - which
is why the NRMA wanted those two extra lanes to "solve" the car-congestion
problem, which worked a treat of course.
The value of these photos is that they show the system deep in the action,
compared to a lot of enthusiast photos (and today's cab videos for example)
that were usually taken on the photographer's weekend off work when the
action was much quieter, leading to the false impression that trams don't
do much at all! Press photographers were able to get into the action at the
Taylor Square, just east of the CBD. There are as far as I can see 11
tramcars visible in this photo (most in coupled sets) with a combined
capacity of over 1,300 passengers and 11 identifiable buses (which were
ultimately to replace the trams on a one-for-one basis) with a combined
capacity of 770. The latter were the solution suggested by "experts"
brought in from London Transport to replace the former. Thanks London
Transport, stick to stuffing up your own city!
The reference in the caption to a proposed turning loop for Taylor Square
is a mystery as no trams terminated there - perhaps Pix wished they did.
The turning loop was invented in Sydney for a reason. Shunting would never
have worked, as this photo of Railway Square shows:
I wonder what the actual (as opposed to the fake news) statistic for broken
limbs at Railway Square was?
Another view of Taylor Square. The "eastern suburbs underground railway"
was not built for another quarter century, well after the trams were gone
and too late to prevent people going off and driving their own cars instead.
A bit of friendlier coverage by Pix, on the Watsons Bay R/R1s. Perhaps it
was the editor's day off. Ordinary people actually liked the trams.