Tram Cars Along The Sea Front.
A Suggestion For The Opposition Committee.
Fruits Of Blind Partisanship.
(Written By An Unknown Correspondent)
We have received this week the following interesting letter dealing with the suggestion made in our columns last week , that a conference might be arranged between the advocates of tramways and their opponents:- Sir, – Your favourable Editorial comments on my communication about the suggested tramlines along the Front-Line have induced me to expand my ideas on this important subject, with a view to inducing the Tramcar Opposition Committee to modify their views as not to bring the overhead wires along the Sea-Frontage.
With your kind permission I will endeavour to expound the matter, and be as concise as possible, for I have long held the opinion that the time would come when some method of propulsion, neither unsightly, noisy, nor otherwise objectionable, would surely be discovered for removing the reasonable and laundable desire not to have our Sea-Front disfigured.
How To Utilise The Dolter System.
The Dolter, or some similar “Stud system” (as I have heard it termed) places the means of operating an elegant form of Tramcar along the Front-Line in the hands of the Corporation. To secure the space required for the cars I would clear away the cabs and bathchairs from the line of the railings along the Sea-Front, and put the cabs and bathchairs up the side streets, to be specified later on.
With this space taken in, I see no reason to prevent an up-and-down service of cars between the eastern end of the Baths and the western end of Marina. I leave other parts of the shore line to be dealt with afterwards. The existing line of railings can be left standing, and the cars travel on either side; a space of five or six feet on both sides of the rail would, I assume, be sufficient for the purpose.
From the Baths to the South Colonnade there is a clear run. There is a small difficulty at the Colonnade, because the line of shops intercept the straight course; but a clever engineer could overcome this difficulty by taking the cars outside on iron trestles over the under-promenade, or by mounting the objection. There is certainly not sufficient room to take the cars over the roadway.
From the South Colonnade to the western end of the Marina is another straight course, offering no engineering obstacles. In my opinion, a service of neat looking, smooth running cars, propelled on the Stud System would be a downright boon to the public, and the Sea-Front route is just the place where they would be most appreciated.
The Cabs And The Bathchairs.
The governing body would do well to be very generous in their treatment of the fly-men and bathchair-men, for they are exceedingly useful servants of the public. In placing (as I have suggested) the stations for these men should be up the side streets.
I should study the convenience of the public and the comfort of the men also. At the side streets at the Hospital, Warrior Square Gardens, and the rear of Marina (at Undercliff), and other stations that might be selected, neat wooden erections, similar in design to Swiss Chalets, should be placed for the use of the men, and all these places should be connected by telephone with the nearest Hotels, House agencies, Groceries, etc… having telephones.
When a cab or bathchair was required, it would only be necessary to send a message by telephone to the nearest station. This telephone system of course, to be carried out at the expense of the constructors of the Tramcar Service. The Swiss Chalets, I may add, should have a gas stove inside for heating the men’s dinner, teas, etc., and making them comfortable in winter-time, and these structures should be supplied by the constructors of the Tramcar Service.
An Appeal To The Opposition.
In making these suggestions I desire to remove the very reasonable objections which many intelligent and influential residents have against the intrusion of unsightly electric apparatus or cars along our magnificent sea promenade, and I would strongly appeal to the gentlemen of the Opposition Committee to look with favour upon your commendable Editorial article, and see if the time is not now opportune for a friendly conference (in private) between the Corporation and the Opposition, with a view to mutual compromise.
It is good statesmanship to read correctly the signs of the times, and there can be no question that a very large portion of the community are determined to have an electric Tramcar Service through our streets. Why should we not try, as a united community, to obtain the very best possible service? The bitterness of the struggle that has been waging for some years will only be deepened by continued strife, and the final result may be something that both parties will be heartily ashamed of in years to come.
We know, if we have eyes to see, that the rash and the rushing policy of blind partisanship in past times has loaded us, as a community, with many things we would gladly get rid of to-day. May we, as enlightened townsfolk, learn upon wisdom by past folly, and in deciding upon placing electric Tramcars along the Sea-Frontage come to a neighbourly understanding that we will give Hastings and St Leonards the very best system and service to be had.
An obedient Servant
Nov 10th 1902.
Taken from an actual article written in the local press by an unknown reporter.