The Gas Tramcar

An Idea Ahead of its Time

John Hannavy

The Gas Tram was a short-lived phenomenon which briefly seemed to herald a new way forward in tramcar design, replacing horses and steam locomotives on the streets with quieter and smoother travel.
Date Published :
January 2023
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Language:
English
Illustration :
100 color and 100 mono integrated
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781399096010

Dimensions : 11.1 X 8.5 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-OrderPages : 208
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$70.00

Overview
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The Gas Tram was a short-lived phenomenon which briefly seemed to herald a new way forward in tramcar design, replacing horses and steam locomotives on the streets with quieter and smoother travel. One of the major advantages of the gas tram, according to those who proposed it, was the low capital cost of the conversion, and all without the need to install the expensive overhead catenary required for electric traction.

Designs for gas tramcars were patented all over the world, and systems were briefly operated in Germany, Australia, Holland, Switzerland and the UK, and proposed in France, New Zealand and the USA. The fuel was invariably domestic 'town gas' drawn from the local gasworks, and the vehicles were said to be very cheap to run.

This was a development which was probably a century ahead of its time – with twenty-first century gas systems, using much greener biomethane as a fuel, currently being developed in the UK, Korea, China and elsewhere, and biomethane-fuelled trams already in service in Dubai and Aruba.

Derived from the natural decomposition of organic waste which would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, biomethane is a clean and green alternative to fossil fuels.

Other vehicles, using hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity, are being developed in several countries.

This book – the first ever comprehensive history of these vehicles – uses many previously unpublished photographs, drawings and patents.

About The Author
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John Hannavy is a writer and photographer with a passion for engineering history. His work regularly appears in heritage magazines. A retired academic, he has written extensively on railways and other forms of transport, steam-powered machines, the history of photography, and the industrial development of Victorian and Edwardian Britain. This is his fiftieth book. He is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, and was Centenary President of the British Institute of Professional Photography. The award of a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship in 2002 allowed him to travel the world in the footsteps of pioneer British photographers.

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