Re: Re: MMTB role in design of Sydney R class
  Kevin Taig

G’day Tony & All,

You’re clutching at straws Tony.
I can advise all, that all the management of the newly created MMTB came fro the constituent Tramway Trusts, mainly the P&MTT
There was already much talent on the ground.


Sent: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 12:45 PM
Subject: [TramsDownUnder] Re: MMTB role in design of Sydney R class

Strickland was 10 years older than Maclean (1875 vs 1885). Apologies, I cited the wrong date - but they were still workplace contemporaries in the electrical branch between the 1900s and 1921. I think Strickland was deputy to Brain, both Maclean's bosses at the time.

Tony P

---InTramsDownUnder@..., <prescottt@...> wrote :

As a neat little epilogue to round off this discussion of Fergus Maclean and Sydney tram design, the Sydney influence also enveloped Melbourne's electrification under the MMTB from the 1920s.

Tom Strickland was, like Maclean, another Sydney University engineering graduate and contemporary of Maclean who was only three years older than him. Not only that, they worked together in the electrical branch of the NSW Railways (and hence tramways), parting company only in 1921 when Strickland moved to Melbourne to become the Chief Engineer of the new MMTB. So, prior to his departure, Strickland had had experience of most Sydney electric tram design up to the P class and was involved in upgrading of the Sydney tramways power supply.

It was thus inevitable that the sophisticated multiple-unit capable P class was a design considered for Melbourne, but it was considered a little exposed for the Melbourne climate and multiple unit operation wasn't favoured, bearing in mind that Melbourne's patronage and thus fleet requirement was much lower. So, instead Strickland picked up on a drop-centre design inherited from one of the operators taken over and from it the W design emerged.

Although I haven't seen any documentation (perhaps there is some in Melbourne?), I would think it very likely that when Maclean was doing design investigations in the early 1930s, Strickland would have been his natural first point of contact with MMTB for information. It would have been a relationship of colleagues rather than rivals, not wanting to disappoint those who think that there was a deep rivalry for superiority between Sydney and Melbourne tram systems! Certainly the tone of various engineering papers and other exchanges was of co-operation rather than rivalry. I would certainly be very interested to learn whether there is correspondence between Maclean and Strickland surviving in Melbourne records.

It's interesting, in terms of current events on Sydney's gen 3 system, that one of the issues that Strickland had to deal with in Melbourne was to beat down lobbying for ground power because of a public dislike for overhead wires! It was also Strickland who brought the alphabetical classification system for trams to Melbourne from Sydney.

Although Maclean died early and still at work in 1945, it seems that Strickland left work even earlier, in 1938, due to ill-health, although he was to live until 1955.

So, getting back to the R and R1, they were very much a Sydney design but it is also likely that the professional relationship between Maclean and Strickland played a part in development of the R. Another thing about the R/R1 that I haven't uncovered further information about yet is that the beautiful Art Deco styling of the car was done by an architect and that it won a styling or architecture award in the 1930s. So far zilch further information on this, even from looking through the indexes of the architecture journals.

Tony P