Tracks By The Swan is a definitive account of the rise, development and decline of electric street transport in Perth, to an ever-changing backdrop of the city and its people. It traces the social, economic, political, industrial and technical factors influencing the tram and trolley bus systems which served the people of Perth for almost seventy years from 1899.

Electric trams were the latest in modern technology when they came to Perth at the end of the nineteenth century. The small town on the banks of the Swan River had been boosted economically by recent gold discoveries in Western Australia and, in an era where private transport was limited, the trams were essential to link the expanding suburbs with the commercial centre.

Electric trolley buses were introduced in 1933 as a perceived modern extension of the trams, and this system rapidly expanded into the 1950s.

In their heyday the trams and trolley buses served a large proportion of the developed Perth area, providing vital transport for work and leisure and carrying over one million passengers per week.

Tracks By The Swan is a richly illustrated 312-page book, with over 400 photographs, drawings, maps and copies of original documents.

Available now download a flyer and order form.

Sample pages ...


The book features:

  • Landscape A4 format, 312 pages, hard-bound with colour dust jacket.
  • Optional numbered Limited Edition with slip case.
  • The text traces the political, social and technical history of Perth’s trams and trolley buses, including:
    • early tramway proposals, from 1885;
    • the rise and fall of the private company which started the Perth tramways;
    • political and other pressures which led to the government takeover;
    • the introduction and spread of trolley buses;
    • the effects of war;
    • the eventual closure.
  • Fully referenced, and including a comprehensive index.
  • Over 400 illustrations, many full page, including:
    • colour and black-and-white photographs of trams and trolley buses, buildings and people, in and around Perth;
    • superb black-and-white photograph reproduction by the duo-tone process;
    • colour maps and diagrams of early tramway proposals, tram and trolley bus routes, and the various Car Barn configurations;
    • outline drawings, and exterior and interior photographs, of the main types of Perth trams and trolley buses;
    • the development of tram liveries;
    • destination numbers and displays;
    • the Nachod system used to control trams on the many single-track sections.
  • Details and photographs of all routes with fully referenced opening and closure dates.
  • Personal contributions from people who worked in and travelled on the tramways.

Chapter Headings

  • Part One—The Company Era
    • 1 Tramways—the Perth context
    • 2 Early tramway proposals
    • 3 The Perth Electric Tramways, Limited
    • 4 The Tramway Company years
    • 5 The tramway strike of 1910
    • 6 The end of the Company
  • Part Two—The Government Era
    • 7 The WAGR takes charge—1913 to 1933
    • 8 The beginning of the end of the Perth Tramways—1933 to 1939
    • 9 Industrial issues under the WAGR
    • 10 World War II and its aftermath
    • 11 The final years
    • 12 Perth trams in retrospect
  • Part Three—The Tramway At Work
    • 13 The Car Barn precinct
    • 14 Tram and trolley bus route operations
  • Part Four—Appendices
    • Appendix 1. Perth tram cars
    • Appendix 2. Perth trolley buses
    • Appendix 3. Perth tram liveries
    • Appendix 4. Tramway opening and closing dates
    • Appendix 5. Trolley bus opening and closing dates
    • Appendix 6. Tram and trolley bus destinations and signs
    • Appendix 7. Safeworking on single-line sections
    • Appendix 8. Timekeeping
    • Appendix 9. Extracts from 1914 and 1930 Working Orders books
    • Appendix 10. The Bell Report
    • Appendix 11. Maps
  • References
  • Index

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