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SHEFFIELD TRAMS

Sheffield Tramway was an extensive tramway network serving the city of Sheffield and its suburbs.

The first tramway line, which was horse-drawn, started in 1873 with the opening of a line between Lady's Bridge and Attercliffe. This line was subsequently extended to Brightside and Tinsley. Routes were built to Heeley, where a tram depot was built, Nether Edge and Hillsborough.

In 1899, the first electric tram ran between Nether Edge and Tinsley. By 1902 all the routes were electrified. By 1910, the Sheffield Tramway network covered 39 miles, in 1951 the network was extended to 48 miles.

The last trams ran between Leopold Street and Beauchief on 8 October 1960—three Sheffield trams were subsequently preserved at the National Tramway Museum in Crich.

History

The horse tram era

The Sheffield horse tramway was created under the Tramways Act 1870, with powers granted in July 1872. The first routes, to Attercliffe and Carbrook, Brightside, Heeley, Nether Edge and Owlerton opened between 1873 and 1877. Under the legislation at that time, local authorities were precluded from operating tramways but were empowered to construct them and lease the lines to an individual operating company. Tracks were constructed by contractors and leased to the Sheffield Tramways Company who operated the services.

Prior to the inauguration of the horse trams, horse buses had provided a limited public service but road surfaces were at that time of poor quality and their carrying capacity were small. The new horse trams gave smoother rides, traveling on steel rails and were an improvement over previous alternatives. The fares were too high for the average worker so the horse trams saw little patronage, services began later than when workers began their day so were of little use to most. Running costs were high as the operator had to keep a large number of horses and could not offer low fares.

It was common practice to paint tramcars in different colours according to the route operated. This allowed both illiterate and the educated, literally, to identify a tram.

The electric tram era

The Sheffield Corporation (Sheffield City Council) took over the tramway system in July 1896. The Corporation's goal was to expand and mechanise the system. Almost immediately a committee was formed to inspect other tramway systems to look at the improved systems of traction. Upon their return the committee recommended the adoption of electrical propulsion using the overhead current collection system.

The national grid was not as developed as it is now and so the Corporation set out to provide the required current. The Corporation were to become their local domestic and industrial electricity supplier were the additional load would be sold. A power station was built for the Sheffield Corporation Tramways on Kelham Island by the river Don between Mowbray Street and Alma Street. Feeder cables stretched from there to the extremeties of the system, covering over forty miles of route.

Network

The Sheffield Tramway Company's original horse drawn tram network was 9½ miles long and radiated from the city centre to Tinsley, Brightside, Hillsborough, Nether Edge and Heeley. A few years after the Sheffield Corporation took over, horse tramways were gradually and completely replaced firstly by single deck electric tramcars then by double decker tramcars. It extended routes to Beauchief and Woodseats in 1927 and to Darnall and Intake in 1928.

Adjacent lines were converted into circular route by sleep track connecting links. The line along Abbey Lane, linking Beauchief to Woodseats was one of them and its entirety was built on reserved track.

The last extensions were opened in 1934 and extended the network to Lane Top, via Firth Park.Three small sections, Fulwood Road, Nether Edge and Petre St were closed between 1925 and 1936.

In 1952, the Corporation closed 2 sections (inc. the Abbey Lane line), followed by the rest of the network between 1954 and 1960.

Tram depots

Over the years eight depots were built throughout the city to service a fleet of about 400 trams.

Tinsley tram depot

Tinsley tram depot (53°24′28″N, 1°24′45″W) was built in 1874 and was the first depot built in Sheffield for the "Sheffield Tramways Company". It was originally built for horse trams but was converted for electric trams in 1898–1899 after which it was capable of accommodating 95 tram cars. Following the abandonment of the tramway system in 1960, the Tinsley depot was sold and was subsequently used as a warehouse. Much of the original 1874 building still exists and the entire depot is listed as a historically significant building. The Sheffield Bus Museum Trust has used part of the depot as a museum since May 1987.

Heeley tram depot

Heeley tram depot (53°21′31.5″N, 1°28′28″W) was the depot for horse trams only, the line to it was never electrified. The depot was built by the Sheffield Tramways company in 1878. When the tram system was abandoned in 1960, the depot was sold and subsequently used as a car repair shop until 2005. The building has been sold and flats will be built incorporating the structure, as it is a listed building

Nether Edge depot

A small tram shed was built at the Nether Edge terminus (53°21′35″N, 1°29′18″W), which opened in 1899. The Nether Edge line as well as two other small sections was abandoned due to the narrowness of the streets the tram travelled on. This caused problems and was unsuitable for efficient service. The Sheffield Corporation concluded that trams were better for city service.

Queens Road works

The Queens Road works (53°22′8″N, 1°27′52″W) opened in 1905. Many of the trams used on the Sheffield tramway were built at Queens Road. The building survived for many years following abandonment, but was demolished in the 1990s.

Shoreham Street depot

Construction of the Shoreham Street depot (53°22′36″N, 1°27′54″W) started in about 1910 on the site of an 18th century leadmill. Following the abandonment of the tramway the depot was used as a bus garage for many years until it finally closed in the 1990s. Much of the building has since been demolished and redeveloped as student flats, although those parts that surround the entrance at the junction of Shoreham Street and Leadmill Road are still standing and in good condition.

Crookes tram depot

The Crookes depot, which was located on Pickmere Road (53°23′1″N, 1°30′25″W), was started in 1914, but not completed until 1919. It closed on 5 May 1957 and has since been demolished.

Tenter Street depot

The Tenter Street depot (53°23′2″N, 1°28′21″W) opened in 1928 and was the last tram depot to remain in operational use. As well as the tram depot there was a bus garage on the upper level that was accessed from Hawley Street.

Holme Lane depot (Hillsborough)

The depot at Holme Lane (53°24′7″N, 1°30′12″W) closed on 23 April 1954. The facade of the building still stands, although the rest of the building has been demolished and a medical centre built in its place.

Rolling stock

Unlike other tram companies, whose trams were often rebuilt and made to last thirty to forty years, Sheffield Corporation adopted a praiseworthy policy of replacement by new vehicles after a twenty-five year life. The corporation never really stopped acquiring new rolling stock and by 1940, only eleven of its 444 trams were older than twenty-six years, more than half of them were less than ten.

In its history, Sheffield Corporation operated 884 tramcars. Its last livery was the blue and cream livery, which is still worn on the preserved trams at Crich and Beamish.

The 'Preston' cars

The United Electric Car Company of Preston built 15 double deck balcony cars for Sheffield Corporation Tramways in 1907. Initially numbered 258–272 they had wooden seats for 59 passengers, and were mounted on a 4-wheel Peckham P22 truck with two Metrovick 102DR 60 hp motors operated by BTH B510 controllers. The braking systems comprised of a handbrake acting on all wheels, an electric brake for emergency use and a hand-wheel operated track brake. Between December 1924 and July 1927 they were rebuilt with a totally-enclosed upper deck.

The 'Rocker Panel' cars

Following the production of a prototype at the Sheffield Corporation Tramways Queens Road works in 1917, between 1919 and 1927 Brush at Loughborough built 100 of these cars, another 50 at were built at Cravens in Darnall.

The 'Standard' cars

The prototype Standard Car (numbered 1) was built by Cravens at Darnall, and entered service in 1927. Subsequently about 150 more were built at the Queens Road works and 25 were built by W.E. Hill & Sons in South Shields. From 1936–1939 the Queens Road works built redesigned Standard Cars, which were known as the 'Domed-roof' Class and had improved lighting and seats

The 'Roberts' cars

The prototype for this series (number 501) was built at the Queens Road works in August 1946. WIth comfortable upholstered seating for 62 passengers it was the last car to be built at the works From 1950–1952 35 more of these double deck trams, numbered 502–536 were constructed by Charles Roberts & Co. of Wakefield (now Bombardier Eurorail). They were carried on a 4-wheel Maley and Taunton hornless type 588 truck with rubber and leaf spring suspension.

The cars were powered by two Metrovick 101 DR3 65 hp motors. Air brakes were fitted, acting on all wheels, and electric braking was available for emergency use. Car 536, which entered service on 11 April 1952, was the last tram to be constructed for the Sheffield tramway. Representing the ultimate development of the traditional British 4-wheel tramcar, the class worked for only 10 years, as Sheffield tramway was closed in 1960. On 8 October of that year, car 513, a member of the class ran specially decorated in the final procession; so too did sister tram 510, now preserved by the National Tramway Museum at Crich.

The National Tramway Museum, Crich

The National Tramway Museum at Crich in Derbyshire holds eight former Sheffield trams. Sheffield Corporation Tramways car number 15 is a horse tram dating from 1874; it was the first tram to be used at the museum in 1963. Car number 74 is another Victorian Sheffield tram that was sold to the Gateshead tramway and ran until 1951.

Although only its lower deck survived, in use as a garden shed, it has now been restored to original condition by the museum. The museum also has Standard car number 189, a Domed-roof car (number 264), and a Roberts car (number 510). In addition there are two works cars from the Sheffield fleet and an early single-deck Sheffield tram that is not in working condition.

Remnants

There are few remnants of the, once extensive, tramway. The tram sheds at Tinsley and Heeley survive, as do parts of those at Holme Lane and Shoreham Street. In many places the tram tracks were not removed, the road was resurfaced over the tracks, and the tracks still survive (albeit covered). An example of tracks covered in this way was uncovered and made a feature of The Moor pedestrian precinct.

Around the City there are about ten or so of the "overhead" poles still standing(2006), such as the matching pair in Firth Park, where you can also see a small section of track in the middle of the traffic island. Poles also survive at Manor Top, Woodseats and Abbeydale Road. In places where the trams ran on a reserved track, such as on Abbeydale Road South and Abbey Lane at Beauchief, the reservation has been converted into a dual carriage-way.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and sources material from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheffield_Tramway

LINKS

Wikipedia's Excellent Article On Sheffield Tramways - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheffield_Tramway

Sheffield In The Age Of The Trams Book - Click Here To Buy The Book

Sheffield Trams Link - http://www.cyberpictures.net/sheffield/s1.htm

More Sheffield Trams Pictures - http://www.railfaneurope.net/pix/gb/trams/...ffield/pix.html

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Used to catch the tram from the bottom of Dykes Hall Road to top of Leppings Lane for about one old penny ( or was it a halfpenny) when I used to go and visit my grandparents....

There used to be Trolley Buses in Sheffield as well

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A couple more Sheffield Tram pictures:

This tram, destined for Nether Green, is on the route frequented by Steve in his post above - this one is passing by Hillsborough Park.

Heading down 'Barrack Hill' (Langsett Road), this tram has just passed Hillsborough Barracks and is heading fowards Hillsborough Corner.

A picture viewing along Holme Lane (From Hillsborough Corner, towards Malin Bridge), a number of houses on the right of this scene have been demolished, but you can make out the Tram Sheds (disused and abandoned during the time of this picture) about in the centre of the picture.

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WOW !

Fantastic pictures -especially the one of Holme Lane which looks sooooo different now !!

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If you look at the Nether Green tram picture above, you may be able to make out that it was raining.

Then you may also make out that the driver was actually driving the tram from a platform on the front exterior of the tram.

On those particular types of trams, the poor drivers had to stand out and drive them in the elements, no matter what the weather was like!!

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Remember caching the trams from Firth Park and that they went through the middle of the roundabout at the bottom of Sicey Avenue.

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I think there's now evidence of that ?

When was the last time you saw that particular roundabout Mickjj ?

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I think it was still there the last time I was over a couple of years ago. I am coming over again in may so will double check.

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If I am thinking right - they rebuilt the roundabout so you could see the tram tracks etc ?

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http://www.sheffieldhistory.co.uk/forums/uploads/monthly_02_2007/post-1-1171748833.jpghttp://www.sheffieldhistory.co.uk/forums/uploads/monthly_02_2007/post-1-1171748821.jpghttp://www.sheffieldhistory.co.uk/forums/uploads/monthly_02_2007/post-1-1171748842.jpg

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My word they certainly spruced that up. I think its great though, better than just letting it go or demolishing it all together.

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Great collection of pictures. Can't remember the title, but I have a copy of a film made in I think, the 60s. It features a tram journey from Tinsley to Millhouses. Nice to see the old place as it used to be!

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is it on dvd ?

Yes. Not sure about the copyright position though. I did the transfer from film to videotape for the Local Studies library some years ago.

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We went to Bemish a few years back and one of the trams running around it was a Sheffield Tram to Firth Park.

Was in very good condition too.

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I used to get the tram from the bottom of Eccy road up to endcliffe park..

I used to let it move away from the stop and race it up the road jumping on cos' it was that slow

I think it was a penny, although it could have been a halfpenny cos' i only got 6d a week pocket money :lol:

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Got the footage now (thanks Tsavo) and here's a screengrab from it showing Firth Park roundabout and the tram stops !

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Got the footage now (thanks Tsavo) and here's a screengrab from it showing Firth Park roundabout and the tram stops !

WOW I have just regressed forty Five or so years with that picture.

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Tram story

My father use to be a tram driver and one thursday afternoon he was parked up at the terminus (think he said Abbey Lane). Thursdays at that time was half day closing. It was a double decker tram and was waiting to start back towards town when he saw up the road coming down the hill(what he found out later to be a bulk coal lorry) a large lorry. As it got closer he could see that it was a run away no driver and it was heading for the tram. He got under the stairs to protect himself and the lorry hit the tram taking it up the frontage of a near by shop and into the shop window. After the dust settled he looked to see if any passangers were hurt as he opened the saloon door he could see a woman up to the shoulders in coal. He shouted out to her are you alright. To which she said I am but it's my littlr boy. As he looked round he could see two legs wiggling out of the coal at the far end.

Apart from being knocked about everyone was ok.

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There used to be Trolley Buses in Sheffield as well

Rotherham had trolley buses but not Sheffield.

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When teaching me to drive, my father always said, "There are two things you don't want to hit, a tree or a tram. Neither are going to move out of the way"!

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Thinking about trams, I started to wonder, what was the steepest hill on the old tram system? My money would be on the last part of Barber Road, Walkley. Anyone suggest anywhere else that was steeper?

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