Sunday, 23 July 2017

Trams in London

Staying in London for today's posting, 65-years ago on the 6th July 1952, the last trams ran on the old system in London.

Some 92-years earlier the first horse-drawn trams were operated in the Croydon area, but it was not until 1863 that electric trams were tested on a route between Acton and Kew in west London. However, it took many more years before electric trams were introduced properly in the Croydon area from 1901. Electric trams were then introduced gradually over the whole system and were successful, that was until 1935 when diesel powered buses and electric trolleybuses began to phase out the whole system.

The very last tram was operated on the 6th July 1952, with huge celebrations as it entered New Cross depot.

Several examples of the London tram still exist and have been preserved in the London Transport Museum, Covent Garden, the East Anglian Transport Museum at Carlton Colville near Lowestoft in Suffolk and the National tramway Museum at Crich in Derbyshire.

A 'Last week of the Trams' ticket still owned by the rider, a member of the Focus Transport Team when but a callow youth, his identity not disclosed in order to maintain his guilt.

But the story does not really end there. By quite some quirk of fate, there is now modern day system that operates in the Croydon area where it all began. This commenced operation in May 2000 with lines to Beckenham, Elmers End, New Addington and Wimbledon and isoperated today under the auspices of Transport for London as London Tramlink.

Two types of modern tram are used the initial batch of twenty-four, Bombardier Eurorail CR4000 built in 1998/9, joined later between 2012-2015 by twelve Stadier Variobahn models.

A nice touch in the fleet numbering was the first 2530, which follows on in sequence from the last original tram's number 2529.