Tram controls

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 22:12

I believe that the old style tram controls have now been seriously up-dated.

Date picture taken
1 Nov 1987


Hi There,

I believe what had been captured here were the first generation controls (the big wheel) as well as the second generation controls the (handle bar switch).  We need experts for further information on how the Trams are being drived.


Thank you Joseph.  The trams have certainly been upgraded since I first travelled on them in 1957.  Then, the roofs often leaked in heavy rain and the slatted wooden seats were not very comfortable - but the views from the top deck showed an even more fascinating street scene than is now available.

Your 1987 photograph shows the rear controls of the earlier trams. In other words the tram driver is at the other end of the tram. The rear tram entrance is indicated on the right of the photo as 'In only' stenciled on the gate, then one accesses through the 'one way' rotating turnstile. If you were fortunate one could make for an empty seat but if the tram was crowded you could end up pressed against the resistance box which is visible on the bottom left of the photo. This air cooled steel resistance box used to get VERY hot. I recall that a piece of timber was attached to the top edges as a token protection for the passengers. The later rebodied trams removed the old resistance box and placed it on the tram roof. Also if you notice the large circular brake wheel has been chained up to stop passengers from applying it whilst the tram is being driven from the front.


Thank you for refreshing my memory, Adrian.  I think that in 1957/8 there were two fares on the trams, 2o cents upstairs and 10 cents downstairs.  I believe that we got on at the rear and off at the front, but how did they collect the two different fares?  It's all a long time ago so I might be wrong!

Hi Andrew, there are two conductors (one on upstairs and other one downstairs) for collecting different fares. Passengers buy tickets and got on and off separately (i.e. 3rd class at the rear and 1st class at the front), until 1972 all passengers changed to rear boarding and got off at front. By 1977 tickets/conductors abolished and we pay the fares at the front exit.

When I was a kid, the first thing I did when I got on board of a Ding Ding was to stamp on the metal button near the big wheel as heavily as I could to make a loud ding ding sound, which was supposedly used to warn pedestrians of its approach. And it was so much fun. Not sure if the button is still there in the latest generation. Shall find out.

The Ding Ding foot gong is still there on all new and old trams. Additional "horn" was added in 1990s to give clear signals to passer-by and vehicles.