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Getting on the tram

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
I have a vague memory of the conductor turning the brake handle and I wondered why. Perhaps it was the conductor's job to apply the back brake at the terminus so that the driver could release the brake at the front.
You are right, that did used to happen thank you for your vague memory, he did that and then got out and swing the trolley pole. The memories return post by post. Then he did the same before the tram moved off. Now was the bell a big push thing that was hit with the whole hand and a wire like the Routemaster attached to the ceiling ran through each saloon?
Bob
 

DavidGrain

master brummie
I can remember the cable pull of the bell on pre-war built Midland Reds which lasted until the mid 1950s. I did not ride on BCT buses in those days. I was amazed when I was in London on the Routemasters, supposed to be the most advanced bus in their day, that London still had cable pulls. But then London Underground trains still have whistles, admittedly now blown by compressed air rather than steam.
 

Lloyd

master brummie
The cord-pull bells had the advantage they could be reached anywhere along the saloon, not just where the pushes were (BCT over the pillars between the windows, Mid Red on the ceiling). Routemasters were the last buses to have them.
 

Richarddye

master brummie
So a little off thread at first I worked with a retired fireman in the 70's and he told me that driving the truck with the water was the hardest to stop, the water would hold enough energy to push the engine through the traffic light under braking.
I am now wondering how good the brakes were on a tram and how were the brakes affected with more folks on board, and weather the bottom of the Lickey road on a bank holiday heading back to town was a nail biter.
I am pretty sure some of those "Motor Men" had a little need for speed once in a while, the Bristol Road had a two or three hills that could satisfy this need ?.
I recall once in a while in my youth being on board a bus that was flying we just thought he was behind schedule ?, of course now thinking about it that poor bloke driving may have had other needs.
The trams were powered by electric motors and their brakes were mainly through the motor, which were pretty good and reliable as long as there was power (electricity). The buses on the other hand was another story.....the brakes were marginal at best and the more passengers there were the harder it was to stop! Some years ago I did some locomotive brake development work, some of the stories from the older guys was really scary. Not only weren't the brakes that good they did not last very long!
 

Lloyd

master brummie
The trams were powered by electric motors and their brakes were mainly through the motor, which were pretty good and reliable as long as there was power (electricity). The buses on the other hand was another story.....the brakes were marginal at best and the more passengers there were the harder it was to stop! Some years ago I did some locomotive brake development work, some of the stories from the older guys was really scary. Not only weren't the brakes that good they did not last very long!
Trams had several brake options - via the motor, as a generator, either by feeding the overhead line (regenerative braking) or through the control resistances (rheostatic braking); via brake shoes on the wheels (applied mechanically, by a handle or by air or by hydraulics [Birmingham used a combination, the Spencer - Dawson air-oil brake]); and by track brakes, where a magnetic shoe energised by electricity either from the overhead or the motor generating it was strongly attracted to the track to rub along it. The only problems with all these brakes was sliding on wet or greasy track. Buses only moved from two- to four-wheel brakes in the late '20s, operated by rods from the driver's pedal, sometimes assisted by vacuum or, more rarely until the 50s, air. Correctly maintained and adjusted, they worked within the (now) current regulations for bus brakes.
 

DavidGrain

master brummie
I remember travelling on a Walsall Corporation trolley bus. The cord pull ran along the ceiling downstairs then went up to the top of the stairs where it had a large knot in it to stop it getting lost. This meant that the the conductor, if he was collecting fares upstairs, had to come to the top of the stairs where he could see the platform to ring the bell.
 
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