Trams of Australia

J class

[Link to picture of J class trams] Nos: 23, 25, 38, 39, 98, 101, 110, 648 - 682, 741 - 745
Introduced: 1904
Withdrawn: 1937
Electrics: 2 x 48hp or 2 x 50hp motors
Size: length 29 ft
Seating/Crush load: 50/80

[Link to picture of J class trams] The four wheel, non-coupling, fifty seat, enclosed cross bench "J" type tramcars were designed to provide a service vastly different to that operated by the other early Sydney electric cars.

The "E", "F" and "G" types were produced to largely replace the Sydney steam tram workings where the accepted method of operation catered for high seating capacities operated at frequencies of fifteen to twenty minutes during off peak periods.

The "J" type trams were built as replacements for the King Street to Ocean Street cable line, which at its peak, operated on a one minute frequency as far as Victoria Street (Kings Cross). The new electric vehicles were expected to provide a frequent schedule, but with a lower seating capacity than found on other suburban lines.

The "J" tramcars were double ended vehicles resembling a single unit of the early "E" design (which were permanently coupled in pairs). Seating for thirty non-smoking passengers was located in the first three enclosed compartments from the Number 1 end while those who subscribed to the "pleasures of Madam Nicotine" could occupy twenty seats, ten in the remaining full compartment, the remainder in the transverse seats on the two end driver's platforms. Three glass bulkhead partitions segregated the interior partitions from the non-smoking sections.

A feature of Sydney operations was the operation of coupled electric rolling stock. Between 1908 and 1914 the percentage of coupled stock rose from 52% to 82% of total available cars. A program to convert the "J" cars to be suitable for coupled operation was completed by September 1914.

Whilst the "J" cars operated basically from Rushcutters Bay Depot on the Watsons Bay line six of the class were also used in 1911 on the isolated Manly system. From 1912 the entire class operated from Rushcutters Bay Depot until they were replaced by the new "R" class cars in 193/34. By 1936 only eight of the class remained available for service.

The seven lower numbered cars, which were part of the second batch of "J" cars delivered, took the numbers of C and D class cars sold to the Victorian Railways as an emergency measure after the 1907 Elwood Depot fire. Nine single truck cars similar to the Sydney "J"s were subsequently built by the Victorian railways (No.s 19 - 27).

Preserved J-class trams

[9] Thanks to Greg Sutherland for all of this information.