That was just a red rear light I think, i am sure there was no mechanism to light it as it stopped. Did cars actually have stop lights, I remember that the Ford 8 of my grandmothers lodger (they eventually married when she was 94), had just a single rear light on top of the number plate. Aha OM you have mentioned the cyclists nightmare, TRAM TRACKS especially in the wet.If a look at post 8 is done it can be seen that trams did have a rear light, fitted at both car ends. It can be seen at 'four o'clock' in relation to the centre light.
Bob, yes...………..wonderful memories, been there done many of those! Thank you...….Perhaps a mod will put this in the posting to which it refers. Recently questions have been asked about traffic at the time a tram stopped and there has been no realisation that we are thinking and knowing 21st century about a transport system that was gone in the main mid 20th Century. In the picture of the 37 at Hill Street, the question was what was the woman doing? I think she was actually about to cross the road in front of the car and behind the tram. I am sure you all had a mother like mine who would grab you by the hand and drag you across New Street/Corporation Street, in fact any street where you were on the wrong side of the street. Remember there was no green cross code, no look right, look left and look right again because unless you were on the Chester Road, Coventry Road etc, there was not a great deal of traffic, there were until the mid fifties still a lot of horse and carts, Co - op coal, Scribbans bakery, Handsworth Dairies and even still a few Railway deliveries done by horse and cart. Post war cars were faster than their pre war counterparts, motor bikes did not have the power we now see, we remember lovingly AJS, Matchless, Vincent HRD etc there were fast sports cars Frazer Nash MG, Allard etc. That covers us, the transport now to the crux. My relationship with trams covered routes 2, 3x, 78, 79 and the trams to the Lickeys,. To a lesser extent I had used since the age of 9, the trams that ran from Martineau Street. Sent up to town to pick up the new ration books and some Marsh and Baxter sausages, Mum was at work, I was a bit of a loner and I travelled and explored and developed my love of public transport so to get back to Court Lane, I devised many ways of travelling home. BCT tram and bus the 8 and 11 often featured. But in all that time, I never saw a vehicle overtake a tram when it was stopped to pick up passengers, I jumped off enough before they had fully stopped and have seen those about to board step into the road well before the tram reached the stop. Cars would also stop. I cannot recall ever seeing a car undertake or overtake a stopping tram. Often a Horse and cart would delay the exit because the tram had drawn level with it at the stop. The other thing we need to remember is that the platform was at least two feet above ground level watching people with sticks, like my grandad, and crutches was painful. Sorry if this has gone on a bit, but what about your memories.
And if you depending upon the state will be walking for 30 days which is a big deal since public transportation is not the same as in Brum!Shame we don't have a similar rule in this country as they do in the USA regards not passing a School bus when loading or discharging passengers.
Stop lights came about 1915, the trafficater early 20'sThat was just a red rear light I think, i am sure there was no mechanism to light it as it stopped. Did cars actually have stop lights, I remember that the Ford 8 of my grandmothers lodger (they eventually married when she was 94), had just a single rear light on top of the number plate. Aha OM you have mentioned the cyclists nightmare, TRAM TRACKS especially in the wet.
Rob Ensor , (one of the other Bob's) American School Buses, know all about them, got the lecture in Sarasota, luckily it was only a lecture. You'all go steady now
Sorry David your reply was not showing when I started my reply, but please enlarge on the braking systems.
Yes, that reminds me of my mother telling me that when I was a toddler she had me in a seat on the back of her bike. Going through Kings Heath, on a wet day, she got her front wheel on a tram track and could'nt get off. She ended up falling off her bike but luckily we were both unscathed. Dangerous things, those tracks.
In Porthmadog in North Wales the Welsh Highland Railway runs on the road across a bridge so there are tram tracks there with an instruction for cyclists to dismount but I have never seen anyone do so.Yes, that reminds me of my mother telling me that when I was a toddler she had me in a seat on the back of her bike. Going through Kings Heath, on a wet day, she got her front wheel on a tram track and could'nt get off. She ended up falling off her bike but luckily we were both unscathed. Dangerous things, those tracks.
Did cars actually have stop lights, I remember that the Ford 8 of my grandmothers lodger had just a single rear light on top of the number plate.
Funny how this theme has developed, and expanded without diverting from the original plot and of course those of us lucky enough, dare I say, to remember that glorious blue & cream machine the tram and have travelled by its modern day counterpart can feel sadness or joy at the former's departure and feel the same about the latters arrival and hopefully David will shortly give us a short piece about the original trams braking systems and perhaps while he is at it an Eagle comic like cutaway of what all those handles and foot pedals were for at either end of the tram. You remember the brass arm that as you were about to touch it as you were waiting to get off, your mother would say' do not touch that, there will be trouble if you do'. Trouble for you or the tram, only just realised that I never actually found out. From Market Street in the Castro District of San Francisco the F route street cars (old American streetcars and Neopolitan trams) that run to Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 and have had raised stops for wheelchair users, these on the sidewalk, so no dangers there.View attachment 137713
Here is a contemporary of the Ford, a Vauxhall. As I think you were suggesting there is just a single red tail light that would have had a clear lens underneath so as to light the number plate.
I think that when brake lights were introduced they were such a novelty that they were surrounded by triangles or engraved with 'STOP'. We sometimes forget that life evolves, horses and carts didn't carry signals so why should cars and trams?
DavidThere were basically just two hand controls and a foot pedal. There was the controller which regulated the speed and the brake handle which is a winch so you wind it in or out to apply the brakes. Because Birmingham (and Black Country) trams were narrow gauge the cab was not wide enough for the driver to turn the handle, you could always tell a Birmingham tram in a black and white photo because the lower right window of the cab had the glass replaced with a metal place with a bulge in it so that there was room for the drivers hand on the handle. This controlled the mechanical hand brake.
The controller could be pulled right back to operate electrical braking which in an emergency will operate electromagnets against the track. For more technical information on tram brakes see
Finally the foot pedal operates the bell which should be rung every time the tram moves away from a stop.
Thank you a wonderful link great read with some wonderful pictures and great informationPart of photo below of a tram driver shown on Robert Darlaston's website.
I remember when a tram reached the terminus the driver spun the brake wheel presumably to unwind any brake action at that end of the tram before he went to drive it from the other end. I used to hear a ratchet making a clicking sound. Look at the sharp edges on those steps.
View attachment 137723
No, you could only get off and on at the non driven end.Thank you a wonderful link great read with some wonderful pictures and great information
Now keeping with the thread getting on and off a tram must have been a little inconvenient first of all for the motor man he stood in front of the steps and must have had to move all the time.