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Memory Lane

The full story of early municipal transport in Penang is told in the richly illustrated book, Penang Trams, Trolleybuses & Railways by Ric Francis & Colin Ganley, published by Areca Books, 2006.
Photographs courtesy of Ric Francis, Colin Ganley, Khoo Salma Nasution, James Tait, Malcolm Wade, F.W. York, John Rossman, Derek Watts, Ashley Bruce, Anwar Fazal and ESCOY.

Reproduced from 'Penang Trams, Trolleybuses & Railways: Municipal Transport History 1880s-1963 ' by Ric Francis & Colin Ganley, published by Areca Books, 2006. Price RM 50. The book is available at all major Malaysian bookstores and from Areca Books.

http://www.arecabooks.com/?product=penang-trams-trolleybuses-and-railways

 

 

The Penang electric tram cruising along Weld Quay, passing in front of the F.M.S Railway Station - the latter was often called 'the railway station without a rail'. Passengers purchased their train tickets here and crossed by ferry to the boarding platform on the mainland.

The electric tram ran on single track through picturesque coconut grove in the Ayer Itam countryside.

This was taken around the Magazine Road Junction. The local name, 'Simpang Enam', refers to the junction of six roads - Magazine Road, Brick Kiln Road, Dato' Kramat Road, Macalister Road, Penang Road, and Gladstone Road.

Penang's first municipal motorbus, a Thornycroft, with a sign 'TOWN SERVICE BEACH ST VIA PENANG ROAD' and a white board above, 'SPECIAL DIRECT TO RACES'. The bus is driving past the Supreme Court building along Light Street.

Trolley bus No. 1 on Penang Road. Note the 'life guard', a front metal grill put on very early British-built trolley buses to reduce the risk of injury to any unfortunate person who might happen to fall in front of it.

Two views of the Standard RSJ Trolleybus Type C at the junction of Penang Road and Prangin Road.

Two views of the Standard RSJ Trolleybus Type C at the junction of Penang Road and Prangin Road.

RSJ 'Small Light Type' No. 27 swinging past the Anti-War Memorial en route from Ayer Itam to the Jetty in the early 1950s. Note the green colour code of the square attachment mounted over the destination box.

One of the 1935 RSJ 'Small Light Type' seen when new. The body was constructed by the Tramways Department of the George Town Municipality.

Special edition Trolleybus No. 1A - possibly the smallest of its kind in the world - servicing the Penang Hill route, seen here at the Anti-War Memorial terminal.

To mark the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 a brand new Sunbeam F4 trolleybus was appropriately decorated.

After withdrawal from service the remains of the pre-war RSJ Light Types were still to be seen at the depots years later. They were no doubt used as a supply of any useful spare parts to keep the later fleet on the road.

Tickets used on GTMT Trolleybuses. The serial letter/number code was printed at the top above the title 'Municipal Transport Service'. The names of the route termini were printed lengthwise, whilst in the central space the amount of the fare was stated - 10 cents, or in the case of half fare for children. At the foot of the ticket appeared the name 'Penang' instead of the Municipal name George Town, above the small print 'Issued Subject to Transport Bye-Laws'. Right at the bottom was the printer's name.

Tickets used on GTMT Trolleybuses. The serial letter/number code was printed at the top above the title 'Municipal Transport Service'. The names of the route termini were printed lengthwise, whilst in the central space the amount of the fare was stated - 10 cents, or in the case of half fare for children. At the foot of the ticket appeared the name 'Penang' instead of the Municipal name George Town, above the small print 'Issued Subject to Transport Bye-Laws'. Right at the bottom was the printer's name.

A 15 cent ticket improvised by stamping a 10 cent ticket with a cancellation titled 'Municipal Transport Services 15 cents'.

Guy Arab motorbuses and a Sunbeam MF2B trolleybus under repair at the Lorong Kulit Depot, circa 1960.

Ex-London Transport double-deckers, newly arrived in Penang, still bearing the U.K number plates CGF 175 and CGF 183. They became Penang Nos. 22 and 23 respectively.

Trolleybus No. 23 (ex-London Transport 183) stopping in front of the police headquarters on Penang Road, on the Jelutong to Jetty service.

Double-decker trolleybus No. 24 (ex-London Transport No. 138) on the Ayer Itam route.

GTMT double-decker trolleybus No. 24, on the Jetty-Ayer Itam route, coming down Dato' Kramat Road, near the junction with Perak Road. The event - possibly the launch of a new bus, the celebration of city status or Merdeka
- attracted a large street crowd and was recorded by a small crew (bottom right). Note the overhead street lamp, the traffic lights with the yellow orbs and the bus stop (far left).

 

Council buses moving along Penang Road.

The former trolleybus depot at 'Tramway Road' which then became the MPPP bus depot with the new entrance at Lorong Kulit.

Austin K8 of Yellow Bus fleet P 9315 on the rural route.

Lim Seng Seng Bus Company's Morris Commercial, shadowing the green route.

The two cars, No. 1 and No. 2, that ended up as chicken houses.

The circa 1900 Hill Railway Station, still standing at the end of the Hill Railway Road, Ayer Itam, 2005.

The circa 1900 Hill Railway Station, still standing at the end of the Hill Railway Road, Ayer Itam, 2005.

Note how the funicular carriage was stepped to allow for a steep incline.

The most famous passenger in 1972 was Queen Elizabeth II.

Locomotive No. 3 heads for the Jetty with a load of four trucks on what was possibly the last day of operation in December 1956.

The electric tram on Weld Quay, circa 1910.

 

About the Authors:
Ric Francis is co-founder of the Perth Electric Tramways and member of the Western Australian Omnibus Group Inc. and Electric Trolleybus Group.
He is the author of 'Kalgoorlie Transport History 1901-2001 (Goldenlines). Currently, he aims to research and record histories of tramways in Asia.
He has been a member of Lions for 33 years and was twice District Chairman.

 

Colin Ganley, who lives Oswestry, United Kingdom, is a member of several British train and bus preservation societies. Colin's interest in George Town's transport stems from the period 1960-1963, when his family lived in Singapore and he visited Penang for holidays.

 

 



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