il padrone wrote:
DavidS wrote:Actually your story reminds me of the changes which happened on the trams when I was working as a driver (early 90s). Back then most of the trams were W Class. What happened when a W Class tram broke down? Did you have to wait for the breakdown truck? No, W class trams could push each other. If one end of the tram malfunctioned an inspector could drive it in reverse from the other while you ran the brakes at the front. If the brakes failed you had a hand brake (20 tonnes, hard work). If you broke a pole ($75 at the time) you could use the other pole, there's only one pantograph and they were a lot more expensive. All progress I suppose.
Yeah, but I'd guess the old W-class trams broke down a bit more often than the modern Bumblebee jobbies ??
If my experience is anything to go by you would be very wrong.
When I worked on the trams there was a list of the number of trams which were needed for the morning peak and the number of trams in each depot. The depots running W Class trams had less spare trams because we needed less spares.
You have to understand something about the W Class trams. They have been modified now but when I drove them there were 4 circuits on the whole vehicle: motors (2 circuits), lights, and compressor. Therefore, only 4 things to go wrong. Everything except the motors and lights ran off compressed air: the brakes, sand, windscreen wipers, doors, everything ran off compressed air (bell was mechanical). Compressed air is brilliant, it can leak like crazy and still work fine, try that with hydraulics. In addition, everything on a W Class tram was designed to be replaced. There is no lifespan for a W Class tram, everything has a maintenance schedule and about every 20 years they would go back to Preston where they were made (and you could drive them there because there were tracks in the front door) and the motors are rewound, canvas roof replaced etc. Those things were literally designed to last forever, which is why Seattle bought a pile of 1920s W Class trams and they run them today and they are fine. Compare this to something like a bumblebee and you have a monstrously complicated vehicle with hundreds of circuits, computer control, hydraulics which when they fail the brakes lock on etc. W Class trams, properly maintained (which they weren't when I drove them) are incredibly reliable at any age. The irony is that we will be throwing out the A, Z (sooner the better, they're crap), B, C and bumblebees before the 1920s W Class trams have reached the end of their useful life. It is such a pity we got rid of the Ws as they were so well designed (one flaw: no heating!).
I should add one more thing. Some years ago there was a controversy about the brakes on W Class trams. Apparently there was a problem with the self adjusting mechanism. When I heard that I thought, the what? The brakes were adjusted overnight manually when I drove them The idiots running the trams spent thousands on self adjusting brakes just so they could have maybe 15 less staff. Really stupid for 2 reasons: the manually adjusted brakes clearly worked better, and the guys who adjusted the brakes would also eyeball the tram to see if anything was about to go wrong - preventative maintenance.