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The Green Tram...

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Came across this picture on the Picture Sheffield site. It's described as being green tram No 83 outside the General Post Office, Flat Street. There is no date but it looks 50s or 60s to me. So, whats the story behind the green tram?

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I remember seeing a green tram (or trams) when I was a child in the late 40's/early 50's. I was told that some trams were painted green during the war, and weren't repainted for quite a while. I seem to remember another version that they were brought in from elsewhere because so many Sheffield trams were destroyed in the blitz. I never knew which was right, either seem possible. But i do remember the colour, dark green, rather like army trucks.

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Edited out - duplicate posting. I'll get the hang if this soon. Sorry!

You're doing fine, Bayleaf. You wouldn't believe the tangle I got into with some early posts.

Liked the explanations re the trams colour, but the clothes people are wearing in the shot look rather like early 60s to me. Surely they'd all being painted by then? No doubt one of our tram experts will pick this up and give us the answer. :):) :)

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OOh OOOh I know this one!!

In 1952 the transport department tried a different colour on some of its trams (23 in total)

A few were painted green all over while others were painted in a two tone green. (lighter green with darker stripes)

As you can no doubt guess the travelling public were none too pleased and before too long the vehicles were painted again but this time in there usual colours.

On the evening of the last tram, at the banquet in the town hall Alderman Dyson, the chairman of the transport comittiee gave a speech in which he explained why Sheffield had chosen white for its trams and buses.

In most Cities buses were painted dark colours to hide dirt but in Sheffield.....the colour cream had been chosen deliberately as a challenge and a symbol of pride to enable the trams to stand out in the varying backgrounds of Sheffield.

I suppose then the green trams would have been just the very thing on the Abbey Lane route but a bit out of place by the time they got down to Vulcan Road!!!!

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Thanks for that Hidary, I learn something new every day. Always thought that the old crean & blue livery was a cut above those in other towns & cities.

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I seem to remember another version that they were brought in from elsewhere because so many Sheffield trams were destroyed in the blitz.

During the war Sheffield brought in trams from Newcastle and Bradford to make up for damaged trams and also because the needed to run more services to get workers to the steel works.

Newcastle supplied 14 and Bradford 10.

In some old photos I have seen the Newcastle trams were painted in Sheffield colours . I have only seen one shot of a Bradford tram and this was in allover blue with a bit of white round the windows.

This tram (No 330 in the Sheffield fleet) was became famous because when its useful days as a passenger carrying vehicle were over, the transport dept took it to Queens road and removed the top deck and turned it into a rail grinder vehicle foir the "works fleet"

This tram now lives at Crich were it is still in that state and used today as a "works car"

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In some old photos I have seen the Newcastle trams were painted in Sheffield colours . I have only seen one shot of a Bradford tram and this was in allover blue with a bit of white round the windows.

This tram (No 330 in the Sheffield fleet) was became famous because when its useful days as a passenger carrying vehicle were over, the transport dept took it to Queens road and removed the top deck and turned it into a rail grinder vehicle foir the "works fleet"

This tram now lives at Crich were it is still in that state and used today as a "works car"

Heres a picture of No 330 at the bottom of Main Road at the junction with Prince of Wales Road and Greenland Road

Photographed by R.B Parr 28th March 1956

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During the war Sheffield brought in trams from Newcastle and Bradford to make up for damaged trams and also because the needed to run more services to get workers to the steel works.

Newcastle supplied 14 and Bradford 10.

In some old photos I have seen the Newcastle trams were painted in Sheffield colours . I have only seen one shot of a Bradford tram and this was in allover blue with a bit of white round the windows.

Found this taken at Handsworth Tram terminus at Retford Road / Orgreave Lane junction, photographed by M.J. O'Connor but sadly no date given would this be one of those extra trams from other cities or indeed the green tram in question, the colour scheme looks somewhat different to normal Sheffield colours to me.

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This is a guess and I know I'm going to be wrong here but I think that is a Newcastle tram.

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Found this colour photo of a green tram (copyright Richard Wiseman), on Orgreave Lane ,Handsworth. During 1952 ,this experimental livery was applied to 14 "standard" and 9 "domed - roof " trams , as well as several buses . There was TWO variations of this livery -one in overall green - and the other in lighter green, relieved by dark green bands. Such was the public outcry ,all the vehicles were repainted back to the much loved cream and blue within the following 14 months.

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Found this taken at Handsworth Tram terminus at Retford Road / Orgreave Lane junction, photographed by M.J. O'Connor but sadly no date given would this be one of those extra trams from other cities or indeed the green tram in question, the colour scheme looks somewhat different to normal Sheffield colours to me.

The tram is ex- Bradford (built 1920s) which were purchased by Sheffield in 1943 -nos , 325-334. No. 330 was withdrawn from public service in 1951 and was converted to single-deck and equiped for use as a rail grinding vehicle until tramway closure in 1960 , afterwhich it was acquired by Crich Tramway Museum where it still resides . The ex-Newcastle trams were the older trams as built in 1901 , Nos ,311-324 , and were purchased by Sheffield in 1941.

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Found this colour photo of a green tram (copyright Richard Wiseman), on Orgreave Lane ,Handsworth. During 1952 ,this experimental livery was applied to 14 "standard" and 9 "domed - roof " trams , as well as several buses . There was TWO variations of this livery -one in overall green - and the other in lighter green, relieved by dark green bands. Such was the public outcry ,all the vehicles were repainted back to the much loved cream and blue within the following 14 months.

......and a b/w photo of a green bus version (but not of the enviromently friendly type!).

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The livery went partly due to public opintion

With referance to the war : remmeber the grey added to bus roofs up to the end of the 60s was a war time measure to make it more dificult for german bombers to see them

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Found this colour photo of a green tram (copyright Richard Wiseman), on Orgreave Lane ,Handsworth. During 1952 ,this experimental livery was applied to 14 "standard" and 9 "domed - roof " trams , as well as several buses . There was TWO variations of this livery -one in overall green - and the other in lighter green, relieved by dark green bands. Such was the public outcry ,all the vehicles were repainted back to the much loved cream and blue within the following 14 months.

A b/w photo of a green tram from "Do you remember old sheffield no5" which backs up your story Transit!

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If I may add my thoughts very belatedly to an old thread which seems to have got a bit convoluted

 There were  a few grey trams and buses as a wartime expedient which were rapidly repainted as soon as practicable. Later came the wartime Mark 1 austerity buses in at least two shades of grey. Their horrible wood slatted seats were of more concern than the colour. There were green trams in 1952  which caused a furore at the time . That rules out the Bradford trams which were all withdrawn in 1951

Sheffield looked into buying trams from a number of operators to cope with wartime demand particularly to the East End and to cover for  the fourteen lost in the blitz.. Both the Newcastle and the Bradford trams were  surplus to their requirements and were in a poor state. Both types needed body rework plus enclosing  the balconies and the Bradford trams also needed regauging from 4 foot to 4 foot 8.1/2 gauge. Neither would be easy with wartime shortages but needs must.

Mega monty's hphoto of 325 ex Bradford is perhaps a fortunate choice as it was actually the first one to be reconditioned.  The normal colour was the odd one variously described but certainly not green which gives the wrong impression or all over blue if that is what Hjdary is suggesting.  I remember them as brown which they carried throughout their  service in Sheffield. As originally out shopped  in 1943 they had headlamp masks, white fenders and side stripes on the bottom edge of the body so we wouldn't trip over them in the dark.. These markings were removed quite quickly after the war and  are missing on the photo of 325,  so 1947-1951. However  only 325 came  out horiginally in  allover grey apart from  the white  visibility markings, a scheme which I must admit I never remember seeing . The shade in the photo seems to me to be the usual brown  with white window surrounds so has it been repainted at some time.

 No Bradford ever carried either of the passenger car liveries. . No.  330 came out in azure blue and cream but  then only  after being cut  down  for use as a works car  on withdrawal with the rest in 1951. One odd minor mystery.  David Voice in "Works Tramcars of the British Isles" lists some 50 Sheffield  works cars in total,  no mention of a railgrinder. Three including 330 are  listed as water cars which may be the same though other undertakings list both types. Rather late in the day to be doing a conversion perhaps which I remember being described at the time as a railgrinder. We did hope it would do something about the perpetual bad patch inbound just short of Summerfield  Street on Ecclesall Road  but with only a couple of years left on that route nothing happened.

The Newcastle trams entered service in 1941 and as posted were always in the azure livery which was rather odd as a number of the regular cars and some buses had appeared in genuine grey livery. They had acquired  closed balconies which  oddly had  expensive curved corner windows. (wartime shortages, not easy come by and all that) and closely resembled the existing U.E.C. cars, the obvious differences  being not only the azure blue but the fact that all but three had no end destination  boxes. That caused some wartime difficulties  at stops where several routes loaded. Fitzalan Square, top of Angel Street or Church Street  had dedicated stops for specific routes. At places like Moorhead out bound there were passengers waiting for Ecclesall, Fulwood, Millhouses, Beauchief, and Meadowhead in a mass. Only when  the Newcastle tram was actually at the stop could  the side indicators  be read so anybody knew whether it was going their way. Then there was a scrum as the queue broke up to board, and if the tram was full, another one as the unlucky ones tried to slot back where thythought they had been in the queue to start with. Things often got a bit fraught. Overall the Newcastle trams were generally accepted by passengers as being as good as ours. Bradford trams were not so popular but it was them or nothing particularly if wet. The problem  for crew and passengers was that being built for 4 foot gauge they were noticeably narrower. Upstairs was passable, no standing. Downstairs with only the conductor's idea as to how many standing passengers to allow  (Forget five or eight, well into double figures was common at least in the war) passing in the gangway to get off or collect fares was difficult to say the least. Passing your fare down the car to a conductress on the platform and hoping for a ticket and change to come back was not uncommon.. Some slight help came from the Auxiliary Conductor scheme. They were not over popular with the natives either. Volunteers, they could walk to the head of a queue., put on their armband, take over the platform duties. and travel home free. Another endearing trait originally was the Bradford's tendency to tail wag to which fortunately Queens Road found a solution. Couple that with the fact that they could move when pushed made for an interesting ride at times. 

Ultimately both types were only used for morning and evening rush hour traffic or to and from Bramall Lane or Owlerton. Rarely were they seen in normal service. No doubt building replacements  for  the blitzed cars helped the situation. My regular contact in  the years I came home from High Storrs was to wait for one of each which arrived on weekdays at Ecclesall terminus at 4.30., often  together. We liked the Newcastles,  the half turn stairs being a novelty. They also had  upper deck bulkheads with a sliding door so we travelled in state on the front balcony with the door shut looking down on the driver.  Leaving Eclesall with City Fitzalan Square on the indicator craftily got them empty in town to pick up for a journey to the East End, pick up  from the works, one journey  to the south using Paternoster Row and Furnival Street , then home for the night. Again,  a Bradford tram regularly came up to Ecclesall at about 8.30 for the morning rush and there was an earlier short working turning at Rustlings Road. 

Both types  when purchased  were stored  as being surplus and life expired. Both required a deal of work to get them useable, including laying a length of 4 foot gauge  track in the wheel shop to  assist in the regauging of the Bradfords. Altogether it must have cost,    particularly as the rebuilds were not bodged up in any  way. Then suddenly they had gone. As closure loomed various  route tours or last type journies were organised by the enthusiasts. There was a four tram tour of the generally similar U.E.C. four window cars but nobody seems to have marked the passing of the Newcastles and the Bradfords. Little seems to have  been noted down. They were a stop gap with  a short life expectancy  and that was that.

  One aspect I have so far not found was which routes were they allowed on or banned from.  Walkley and City Road spring to mind as possible no-go. There may not have been prohibitions as the intention was for to  be used on the level routes to the East End.  I have already speculated elsewhere that nobody  would know and been immediately flooded. So..........

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