An Early Trip to St Kilda

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By Ando

G’day readers, it’s Ando here again! I trust you’ve all enjoyed having a ping at my November Mega Quiz because this edition contains yet another, buried somewhere among its pages.

On this occasion we are going to get into H.G. Well’s time machine to have a look at one of the very early forms of public transport to St Kilda. It may come as a surprise to many that Melbourne operated an extensive cable tram system rivalling the size of both San Francisco and Chicago from 1885 to 1940 (from 1940 onwards every line was electrified).

Now I’m not saying this is a fact but I’ve heard many a rumour that the massive cables and infrastructure still live under the concrete and asphalt of the modern inner-city routes.

The now current electric system never really took off until 1906 when one of the major projects was the construction of the electric street railway from St Kilda railway station to Brighton. Does it still exist though? Short answer: no, however I do believe (I could be wrong) but some of the original route may remain as bike and walking tracks, as this seems to be the only logical route to Brighton.

Now I draw my loyal readers to the photo of the cable tram from North Carlton to St Kilda. You must be amazed at the 1905 air conditioning technology provided on this Tram! I guess it would have been bloody cold in winter, slow, noisy and damn hot in summer.

Can you imagine the complaints about passenger comfort on this form of transport if it was still around today?

Anyway readers, enjoy your tram ride around St Kilda, or indeed in the guts of Melbourne, because much of the past probably still remains under your feet.

Merry Christmas and happy 2013 to you; my readers and quiz fans!

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