In reply to David Batho’s enquiry regarding Hobart Photo – 167, Mal Rowe commented that ‘Hobart certainly had a wide variety of tram types - and many rebuilds’.
No 41 shown in Hobart photo – 170, languishing in the tram’s ‘graveyard’ at the Moonah Depot, certainly makes it into this category.
Built in 1917 as a ‘standard’ double decker, it had a flat-front, this being applied to all cars, single and double-deck. The tramways union lobbied for some time to have this design replaced with something that would leave the driver less exposed to the weather Their exertions were successful and the flat front design was altered in favour of a round-front design although the earlier trams were not modified. Whether the change from ‘flat’ to ‘round’ offered any real improvement is debatable.
In the late 1920s/early 1930s, five of the forty ‘standard’ Hobart double-deckers, some with flat fronts, some with round fronts, were altered for one-man operation, these being Nos 1, 5, 13, 41 & 43. The reason for these cars being selected is not clear but all four cars with EE DB1 controllers were singled out, plus another (No 41) having a GE B18 type.
The main alteration involved the passenger access doors. As two-man cars, the single entrance/exit was at the rear near-side of the vestibule . Opposite this entrance was the circular staircase that made a half-turn clockwise to reach the upper deck.
For one-man operation, the entrance/exit door had to be moved from the rear of the tram to the forward (driver’s) vestibule. This required closing off the former staircase openings and re-instating them on the far-side of the tram, a straightforward job for a competent coach-builder. Not so straightforward was dealing with the circular staircases which now had to turn anti-clockwise, requiring newly built staircases of the opposite ‘hand’.
The ‘one-man’ trams were successful although the Tasmanian State Government waged an unsuccessful campaign over a number of years to have them made illegal.
During 1947/48, all double-deckers, including the one-man cars, were cut down to single deck, requiring yet more surgery for No 41 and its siblings, plus the other five ‘non-standard’ one-man double-deckers.
The life story of these is even more drawn-out than for the ‘No 41’ group of five.
From:tramsdownunder@... tramsdownunder@...> On Behalf Of Ian Saxon
Sent: Friday, 11 September 2020 3:52 PM
To: TDU tramsdownunder@...>
Subject: [TramsDownUnder] Hobart photo - 170
43 and 41 at Moonah Depot on 27/12/1951. A Keith Kings photo.