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| | |-+  The Elephant Will Never Forget - 1953 documentary marking end of London's trams
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Author Topic: The Elephant Will Never Forget - 1953 documentary marking end of London's trams  (Read 1935 times)
JW
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« on: December 16, 2010, 06:43:55 AM »

Classic documentary marking the end of London's tram system in 1952

The Elephant Will Never Forget - 1953 10:31

"Trams in London are a thing of the past - buses have taken over - but many Londoners, and especially the Cockneys, will always remember them with affection, and in song.

The film, completed in London's 'Last Tram Week', takes you round the streets of South London and along the Embankment with two Cockneys who remember a song about trams they sang in the music halls fifty years ago. Finally, 20,000 Londoners cheer and sing their goodbyes to the trams which for ninety-one years had rattled and clanged their way past - particularly through the colourful and lively part of South London near the Elephant & Castle."
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Andy R
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2010, 06:21:27 AM »

That was a different take on the demise of tracked public transit in urban areas.
Here in the States, we mourn the demise of the streetcar at the hands of General Motors, but what drove the demise of the trams in London?
Was there an automaker pulling strings, or did public opinion drive the change?
I don't recall that England was as big on autos as the US at that time, although I did hear mentioned in the film that trams were the scourge of motorcars.
I guess one big difference is that the departure of the tram was not (at the time) necessarily a blow to all public transit in London - the buses that replaced them often looked a lot lke the trams - double-decker and all - and there was no departure of ridership to far-flung suburbs (although I understand that Great Britain has some of that going on now..)
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JW
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2010, 08:36:46 AM »

london seems to put to rest the claim that 2 man operation killed (or was a major factor in killing) the streetcar... their buses had conductors until fairly recently.

there are a lot of reasons the streetcar died but i think the main reason was the changing role of the street. once the street became seen as only a place for automobiles, it meant streetcars had to go. buses operate like auto traffic and with auto traffic, they are a motor vehicle, they arent fixed, their function allow streets to belong to cars. streetcars on the other hand dominate and dictate traffic flow, they stop in the street, require pedestrians to board and walk into the street, the street has a whole different role, i.e streets for people. the tracks in the street communicate that streetcars belong in the street. motorists wanted them gone so they could have the streets perform to their standards, buses were a transit vehicle that still provided transit but operate under motorist terms. see the part in the film 6:40... "the motorist who everyday cursed everytime he had to stop, cursed but little and looked forward to tomorrow." notice the trams running in the center of street and passengers boarding and alighting in the adjacent lane requiring auto traffic to stop. it was the motorist's and traffic engineer's displeasure with this that killed the streetcar/tram.
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Ro
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2010, 12:09:08 PM »

Though from what I've seen in London the buses nowadays also cause a lot of congestion for other motorists. Streetcars with higher passenger capacity could actually ease congestion I think.
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Innocent Byproduct
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2010, 02:46:56 PM »

I suspect it was commerce.

The delivery trucks needed to negotiate the streets, and the passengers on those trams were not deemed as important as the goods on the delivery trucks. So they switched from the trams to the buses to accomodate the delivery trucks.

I am reminded of a brilliant work of speculative fiction --a very funny but insightful short story-- that was written all the way back in the late 1960's, but the story took place in the 1990's. It was called The Pushcart War and I think it was first published in McCall's magazine and became an instant hit. It became such a famous short story it has been publshed in children's public school reading books for 5th grade reading class, so I suspect a few of you here might have come acros it in your school reading.

Let me see if I can find it on the web.


::ETA::




FOUND IT!

Here's the Wiki aticle on it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pushcart_War

It was writen in 1964 and takes place in the future world of 1976. The reason the writer chose 1976 is that it was the bicentennial of the USA. But later editions of the story kept pushing the date further and further off into the future. When I read it as a kid in the 1970's, the date for the story was 1992, which was the 500 year anniversary of Columbus discovering the New World.

The premise of The Pushcart War was the inability of the small vendors who pushed pushcarts and the truck drivers operating the big tractor trailer trucks to get along with each other in the streets of New York.


Here's one version of the front cover of the book (there have been many versions over the years).






And here is a sample of the book's text:

http://books.google.com/books?id=IdKMqmpvxH0C&pg=PA13&lpg=PA13&dq=%22the+cart+was+flattened+and+the+owner+of+the+pushcart+was+pitched%22&source=bl&ots=cy8hTTmN1m&sig=WoSbtdCqaK9mMTHJuCrs_dfuS_A&hl=en&ei=an4LTfaAJ8P58Aav5uSKDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

or


http://www.amazon.com/Pushcart-War-Jean-Merrill/dp/0440471478#reader_0440471478

« Last Edit: December 17, 2010, 03:16:46 PM by Innocent Byproduct » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2010, 03:26:41 PM »

  The reason the trams went was simple , the guy who ran London transport was heavily invested in Leyland and AEC ,( associated engineering company ) both made Diesel Bus's , trams lasted virtually forever with few moving parts so they were overhauled not replaced , No money to be made there .



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A note from Innocent Byproduct: (So sorry, redbird! I meant to hit the "quote" button to quote your post, and I hit the moderator's "modify" button instead which tricked me into changing your post by adding my two-cent comment to the bottom of your post, and I was thnking I had quoted it! That was a total mistake! I did NOT [in the end] actually change your post! It's perfectly intact! I just hit the wrong button and now I can't undo that! It won't happen again!)


« Last Edit: December 17, 2010, 03:49:16 PM by Innocent Byproduct » Logged

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Innocent Byproduct
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« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2010, 03:45:31 PM »

 The reason the trams went was simple , the guy who ran London transport was heavily invested in Leyland and AEC ,( associated engineering company ) both made Diesel Bus's , trams lasted virtually forever with few moving parts so they were overhauled not replaced , No money to be made there .



Ahh ......... So I guess we can call this one:

The General Motors Streetcar Conspiracy: Limey Edition




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"The airlines in this sector are really the canaries in the coal mine." --J Kunstler

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« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2010, 03:54:52 PM »

 Wink
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That's why people who don't own guns dial 911 -- because they want men who DO own guns to arrive as quickly as possible and solve their problem.
faraway
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« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2010, 04:29:04 PM »

My husband has his father's ticket from the last ride.
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« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2010, 11:43:23 PM »

Though London has trams again, but in the Croydon area. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tramlink





In transit, Andrew
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Andrew
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« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2010, 11:51:53 PM »

london seems to put to rest the claim that 2 man operation killed (or was a major factor in killing) the streetcar... their buses had conductors until fairly recently.

there are a lot of reasons the streetcar died but i think the main reason was the changing role of the street. once the street became seen as only a place for automobiles, it meant streetcars had to go. buses operate like auto traffic and with auto traffic, they are a motor vehicle, they arent fixed, their function allow streets to belong to cars. streetcars on the other hand dominate and dictate traffic flow, they stop in the street, require pedestrians to board and walk into the street, the street has a whole different role, i.e streets for people. the tracks in the street communicate that streetcars belong in the street. motorists wanted them gone so they could have the streets perform to their standards, buses were a transit vehicle that still provided transit but operate under motorist terms. see the part in the film 6:40... "the motorist who everyday cursed everytime he had to stop, cursed but little and looked forward to tomorrow." notice the trams running in the center of street and passengers boarding and alighting in the adjacent lane requiring auto traffic to stop. it was the motorist's and traffic engineer's displeasure with this that killed the streetcar/tram.

Your quite right, the objective of the government policy(a.k.a. the driving forces of Big Oil, automakers & etc) was moving cars, not people.

The new mayor of Toronto Rob Ford is hostile to public transit too, he's really an exurbanite that will do damage to the city.

In transit, Andrew
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