Serving more then just the commuters
As well as running a regular commuter service through out the City and suburbs, the Municipal Tramways Trust catered for (and in some cases created) special events. Additional tram services were often put on to transport the number of passengers offering while at a number of locations, additional special sidings were installed to allow trams to take patrons virtually to the entry gates of various sporting and show grounds.
Before the Wayville Showgrounds were developed, the Royal Adelaide Show was held at the Exhibition Buildings in North Terrace but space there gradually became limited and the University of Adelaide wanted to expand the campus on the site. The Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia decided to move to the present day Showgrounds site at Wayville in the 1920s with the first Royal Adelaide Show held at Wayville in 1925.
The new showgrounds were not only served with a dedicated railway siding and station platform on the western perimetre of the site but a tramway loop was also constructed serving the nothern entrance. The tramway loop left the main Wayville West/Keswick line at the intersection of Goodwood Road and Park Terrace (now Greenhill Road) and continued south down Goodwood Road for just over one block before turning west and running along the northern perimeter fence of the showgrounds towards the northern entry gate before heading north along Johnston Terrace (now Hamilton Boulevard) to rejoin the main tramway in Park Terrace and returning trams to the City. Trams used this new loop to the showgrounds from September 1925, in time for the Royal Adelaide Show that year.
While the Royal Adelaide Show was the main traffic generator on this line, trams were also run to the showgrounds for other events such as Trots Meetings and other exhibitions. Traffic congestion at the Currie Street terminus caused by the influx of trams to the showgrounds meant that in 1952, tracks were laid in Morphett Street and Franklin Street to reach Victoria Square where additional sidings were built to accomodate these special tram services. This new arrangement would only last three years before closure of the loop in September 1955.
When the horse tramways running north of the City running via King William Road were converted to electric traction in 1909, it was decided to build a new dedicated spur line from the mainline running along Victor Richardson Drive to serve Adelaide Oval with trams terminating infront of the eastern entry gates. Originally built as a single track, the siding was duplicated in 1923 to accomodate the increasing number of people using the tram service to the oval. Trams would often be parked on these sidings waiting for the returning crowds to leave the oval for the return journey home.
Tram services to Adelaide Oval ceased in November 1958, just a couple of weeks before the final closure of the tramway system.
Norwood Oval was another location provided with tramway facilities, in this case a loop located on the southern side of Norwood Parade. Opened in May 1909 (just two months after the opening of the line), the oval loop was used to hold special trams running to and from the oval.
The third oval served with a siding off the main tram system was Unley Oval. Opened in May 1910, the line branch off of the main Mitcham line and ran along Oxford Street right up to the gates of the Oval. Because of the narrowness of Oxford Street, the curve leading in to the siding was laid as a 'reverse curve' with the line crossing from one side of the street before returning to the middle of the road to make the turn suitable for trams. During major events, trams would often be parked along the length of the siding right up the the intersection of Unley Road.
Victoria Park Racecourse
Victoria Park in the Eastern Parklands was the first of three racecourses in Adelaide to be served by trams. The first trams ran to the racecourse in October 1909 for a Mayoral Garden Party with trams stopping in Wakefield Street, a week before the official opening of what eventually became the Marryatville line. By January 1910, a balloon loop had been laid at Victoria Park to cater for special tram services to serve the racecourse. Leaving what eventually became the Linden Park bound line in Victoria Avenue (now Fullarton Road), the loop crossed over the City bound road lane and then in to the park itself opposite Grant Avenue. The loop ran through the park before returning to Victoria Avenue at the intersection with Alexandra Street.
In 1914, the line to Dulwich (later extended to Linden Park) was opened and this meant alterations had to be made to the turning loop at Victoria Park. The original exit point of the loop was as the City bound track with the loop extended along Victoria Road before rejoining the City bound track near the Brittania Intersection. This section of Victoria Avenue was noted for having three tracks which on race days often had long lines of trams waiting to enter and leave the loop. This caused delays for road traffic in the area (and this was in the years before the infamous Britannia Roundabout was constructed).
Although the line to Linden Park from which the racecourse loop branched from had closed in May 1952, tram services continued to serve Victoria Park until April the following year. The loop was then closed and the track was ripped up soon afterwards in the area.
The racecourse at Morphettville was provided by dedicated sidings when the line was still operated as a railway. Work started on the tramway siding network immediately after the opening of the Glenelg line on the 14th of December 1929 with the new facilities being completed and ready for trams in only two and a half weeks. The first race meeting which made use of the new sidings was held on New Years Day 1930. The three sidings accessed from points located at the City end of the racecourse were eventually constructed to serve the racecourse as well as additional sidings located in Colley Terrace, Glenelg.
During the 1930s, raceday meetings at Morphettville grew to such an extent that the 30 H type trams built for use on the Glenelg line were not enough to handle the crowds. A number of the F and F1 type 'Drop Centre' trams and even a few of the older D type trams were needed to shift the crowds. Although the use of D type trams on the line reduced afterwards, the 'Drop Centre' trams could still be seen providing extra services until the closure of the rest of the system.
By 1958, tramway traffic had declined to the point that two of the three sidings serving Morphettville could be removed leaving one siding still open to tramway traffic. By the late 1960s, only three coupled sets of H type trams were usually placed on the siding with most of the punters attending the racecourse came by car. The final siding at Morphville remained until 1984 when track reconstruction in the area also saw its removal.
Today, Morphettville Racecourse is still served by trams with a couple of platforms provided with trams stopping on race days.
Colley Terrace sidings
The tramway sidings that were provided in Colley Terrace from 1929 until 1966 were another relic of the former railway that served Glenelg that survived after the conversion of the Glenelg line to tramway operation. These sidings were used to primarily provide additional capacity for tram services serving Morphettville Racecourse. After the Second World War, the increasing levels of car ownership meant that tramway traffic wasn't as heavy as it had been and eventually, the need for the sidings in Collie Terrace didn't exist. The overhead wiring for the sidings was taken down in 1965 before the tracks were removed in 1966.
Cheltenham was the final suburban racecourse to be added to the tramway network after the opening of the extension to Addison Road in Cheltenham during April 1942. Unlike Victoria Park or Morphettville, Cheltenham Racecourse had been served by the suburban railway system long before the arrival of the trams. Cheltenham railway station was located on the northern side of Cheltenham Parade on the Outer Harbour railway had opened in the 1890s. Although extra trams were provided on race days, no special sidings were provided.
From 1955, special bus services were introduced to convey passengers from Finsbury passing loop to the racecourse although trams continued to operate regular weekday services to the terminus. This continued until the Cheltenham line closed in November 1958.