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Birmingham Corporation Tramways
Locale England
Dates of operation 1904 – 1953
Track gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)
Length 80½ miles (129.6 km)
Headquarters Birmingham

Birmingham Corporation Tramways operated a network of tramways in Birmingham from 1904 until 1953. It was the largest narrow-gauge tramway network in the UK, built to a gauge of 3 ft 6 inches. It was the fourth largest tramway network in the UK after London, Glasgow and Manchester.

There were a total of 843 trams (with a maximum of 825 in service at any one time), 20 depots, 45 main routes and a total route length of 80½ miles (129.6 km).

Birmingham Corporation built all the tramways and leased the track to various companies.

Birmingham was a pioneer in the development of reserved trackways which served the suburban areas as the city grew in the 1920s and 1930s.

HistoryEdit

RoutesEdit

Route Description Abandoned Short workings
2Steelhouse Lane to Erdington4 June 195359 Steelhouse Lane to Gravelly Hill, 60 Steelhouse Lane to Aston Cross, 64 Steelhouse Lane to High Street, Erdington
3Martineau Street to Witton via Six Ways11 September 1939
3xMartineau Street to Witton via Aston Cross31 December 1949
4Station Street to Stoney Lane5 January 1937
5Lozells to Gravelly Hill30 September 1950
6Martineau Street to Perry Barr21 December 1949
7Martineau Street to Nechells
8Martineau Street to Alum Rock30 September 195061 Martineau Street to Gate Inn, Saltley
10Martineau Street to Washwood Heath30 September 19509 Martineau Street to Ward End (Sladefield Road), 62 inward working of route 10
15High Street to South Yardley2 October 194813 High Street to Small Heath Park, 56 High Street to Hay Mills
16Station Street to South Yardley6 January 193414 Station Street to Small Heath Park, 57 Station Street to Hay Mills
17High Street to Stratford Road (College Road)5 January 193719 High Street to Stratford Road (St. John's Street), 58 High Street to Stoney Lane/Stratford Road, 82 High Street to Stratford Road (Fox Hollies Road/Highfields Road)
18Station Street to Stratford Road5 January 193721 Station Street to Stratford Road (College Road)
20Station Street to Stratford Road (St. John's Road)
22Station Street to Bolton Road4 February 1930
23Colmore Row to Handsworth1 April 193928 Colmore Row to New Inns, Crocketts Lane, Handsworth
24Colmore Row to Lozells via Wheeler Street (clockwise 25)1 April 1939
25Colmore Row to Lozells via Wheeler Street (anticlockwise 24)7 August 1933
26Colmore Row to Oxhill Road1 April 1939 27 Colmore Row to Stafford Road, Soho Road, Handsworth
29City to Bearwood via Dudley Road30 September 193930 Edmund Street to Windmill Lane, Cape Hill, Smethwick, 55 Edmund Street to Dudley Road/Grove Lane
31Edmund Street to Soho30 September 1939
32Edmund Street to Lodge Road29 March 1947
33Navigation Street to Ladywood30 August 1947
34Navigation Street to Bearwood via Hagley Road9 August 1930
36City to Cotteridge5 May 195246 Navigation Street to Stirchley
37City to Cannon Hill Park1 October 1949
39City to Alcester Lanes End1 October 194938 Hill Street to High Street/Vicarage Road, Kings Heath via Balsall Heath, 49 Navigation Street to Mary Street/Park Road, Balsall Heath, 52 Hill Street to Station Road, Kings Heath via Balsall Heath, 66 Hill Street to Moseley via Balsall Heath
42City to Alcester Lanes End1 October 194943 High Street to Station Road, Kings Heath via Moseley Road, 48 High Street to High Street/Vicarage Road, Kings Heath, 67 Dale End to Moseley via Bradford Street
44Dale End/Albert Street to Acocks Green5 January 193791 High Street to Warwick Road, Tyseley
45Dale End/Albert Street to Sparkbrook5 January 1937
50High Street to Moseley Road depot1 October 194941 Havigation Street to Moseley Road Depot
51Hill Street to Alcester Lane End1 October 194940 Hill Street to High Street/Vicarage Road, Kings Heath via Leopold Street, 65 Hill Street to Moseley via Leopold Street
53Navigation Street to Dogpool Lane
63Steelhouse Lane to Fort Dunlop4 July 1953
68Villa Road to Soho Road, Lozells, Gravelly Hill and Erdington (Sundays only)1923
70Navigation Street to Rednal5 July 195235 Navigation Street to Selly Oak, 54 Navigation Street to Pebble Mill Road, 69 Navigation Street to Northfield, 72 Navigation Street to Longbridge
71Navigation Street to Rubery5 July 1952
74City to Dudley1 April 193974 Livery Street to Carters Green, West Bromwich, 76 Colmore Road to Great Bridge, 77 Colmore Row to Spon Lane/High Street, West Bromwich
75City to Wednesbury1 April 1939
78Steelhouse Lane to Short Heath4 July 19531 Steelhouse Lane to Stockland Green
79Steelhouse Lane to Pype Hayes Park4 July 195363 Steelhouse Lane to Holly Lane/Tyburn Road
81Villa Road to Soho Road, Lozells to Pype Hayes (Sundays only)1930
84City to Stechford2 October 194812 High Street to Bordesley Green (Blake Street) via Deritend and Coventry Road
87City to Dudley30 September 193985 Edmund Street to Spon Lane, West Bromwich via Smethwick, 86 Edmund Street to Oldbury via Smethwick, 88 Windmill Lane to Spon Lane, West Bromwich via Smethwick
90City to Stechford2 October 194811 High Street to Bordesley Green (Blake Lane) via Fazeley Street

Depots and WorksEdit

  • Arthur Street Depot see Coventry Road
  • Birchfield Road Depot, acquired from Handsworth District Council 1911, converted to motorbus use 28 Oct 1925
  • Bournbrook, Dawlish Road, acquired 1 Jan 1912, closed 11 July 1927 (replaced by Selly Oak)
  • Cotteridge Depot, acquired from Kings Norton and Northfield District Council 1912
  • Coventry Road Depot (also known as Arthur Street Depot), opened 1907, converted to motorbus use 1 July 1951
  • Handsworth Sub-Depot
  • Highgate Road Depot, opened 25 Nov 1913
  • Hockley Depot, acquired from Handsworth District Council 1912, converted to motorbus use 2 Apr 1939
  • Kyotts Lake Road Works, opened 1907, closed August 1953
  • Miller Street Depot, opened 4 Jan 1904, converted to motorbus use 4 July 1953
  • Moseley Road Depot, opened 1907, converted to motorbus use 2 Oct 1949
  • Rosebery Street Depot, opened 1 July 1906, converted to motorbus use 31 Aug 1947
  • Selly Oak Depot, opened 8 July 1927, converted to motorbus use 6 July 1952
  • Trafalgar Road Depot
  • Tividale B.M.T.C.J. Works
  • Washwood Heath Depot, opened 1907, converted to motorbus use 1 Oct 1950
  • West Smethwick Depot
  • Witton Depot, acquired 1912. Now Aston Manor Transport Museum [1]

Tramcar fleetEdit

Numbers Year Seating capacity Withdrawn Notes
1 to 2190328/281940-41Destroyed in air raids
3190328/281949
4 to 7190328/281940-41Destroyed in air raids
8 to 9190328/281949
10 to 12190328/281940-41Destroyed in air raids
13190328/281949
14190328/281940-41Destroyed in air raids
15190328/281949
16190328/281940-41Destroyed in air raids
17 to 20190328/281949
21 to 40190526/221930-37
41 to 701905-626/221930-37
71 to 106190628/241937-39
107190628/241937-39Under restoration at Aston Manor Transport Museum
108 to 2201906-728/241937-39
221 to 270190726/221930-37
271 to 300190826/221930-37
301 to 302191128/241950
303191128/241940Damaged in air raid
304 to 306191128/241950
307191128/241940Damaged in air raid
308 to 323191128/241950
324191128/241940Damaged in air raid
325 to 359191128/241950
360191128/241940Damaged in air raid
361 to 3891911-1228/241950
3901911-1228/241940Damaged in air raid
391 to 3941911-1228/241950
3951911-1228/241950Preserved at Birmingham Thinktank
396 to 4001911-1228/241950
401 to 438191230/241949
439191230/241941
449 to 450191230/241949
451 to 452191234/341949
453 to 468190326/221937-39
469 to 472190426/221925-38
473190329/261924
474 to 475190329/261938
476 to 477190329/261924
478190329/261938
479190329/261924
480190329/261938
481 to 483190426/221938-39
484 to 5011904-0526/221937-39
502 to 5111904-0526/221913-1928
512 to 5241913-1434/281950-53
5251913-1434/28????Withdrawn during WWII
526 to 5371913-1434/281950-53
5381913-1434/28????Withdrawn during WWII
539 to 5631913-1434/281950-53
5641913-1434/281941Destroyed in air raid
565 to 5661913-1434/281950-53
567 to 5681913-1434/281941Destroyed in air raid
569 to 5731913-1434/281950-53
574 to 5751913-1434/281941Destroyed in air raid
576 to 5811913-1434/281950-53
5821913-1434/281941Destroyed in air raid
583 to 5861913-1434/281950-53
587 to 6361920-2134/281949-53
637 to 6611923-2435/281952-53
662192435/281952-53
663192435/281941Destroyed in air raid
664 to 668192435/281952-53
669 to 670192435/281941Destroyed in air raid
671 to 679192435/281952-53
680 to 681192435/281941Destroyed in air raid
682 to 6841924-2535/281952-52
6851924-2535/281941Destroyed in air raid
686 to 6961924-2535/281952-53
6971924-2535/281941Destroyed in air raid
6981924-2535/281952-53
6991924-2535/281941Destroyed in air raid
700 to 7011924-2535/281952-53
702 to 703192535/281940-41
704 to 706192535/281952
707 to 708192535/281940-41
709 to 710192535/281952
711192535/281940-41
712 to 713192535/281952
714192535/281940-41
715 to 717192535/281952
718192535/281940-41
719192535/281952
720192535/281940-41
721 to 722192535/281952
723 to 724192535/281940-41
725 to 726192535/281952
727192535/281940-41
728 to 731192535/281952
732 to 761192635/281952
762 to 784192835/271952
785192835/271941Destroyed in air raid
786 to 811192835/271952
812 to 8201928-2935/271952
8211928-2935/271941
822 to 8411928-2935/271952
842192936/271952
843193033/271952

StatisticsEdit

Year No of vehicles Miles run Passengers Revenue
1904 to 190520266,5264,709,798£19,103
1913 to 191455114,268,244146,930,986£635,471
1923 to 192465817,521,741214,338,365£1,337,093
1933 to 193476217,368,227201,442,970£1,171,481
1943 to 194449911,206,698130,665,152£1,088,824
1953 to 19541203,391,58035,554,412£398,122

LiteratureEdit

  • Great British Tramway Networks, Wingate H. Bett and John C. Gillham, Light Railway Transport League 1st edition 1940 and 2nd edition 1944
  • The ABC of Birmingham City transport. Parts 1 & 2, W. A Camwell, Ian Allan 1950
  • City of Birmingham Transport Department. 1904-1954: Brochure to commemorate the undertaking's jubilee, Birmingham Transport Committee 1954
  • The demise of Birmingham's Trams, Gordon P. Laker - copy in Birmingham Central Library
  • Birmingham Trams and Tramways, Colin Andrew Purdue - copy in Birmingham Central Library
  • Memories of Birmingham's steam trams, C Gilbert, Light Railway Transport League 1966
  • Short review of Birmingham Corporation tramways, Peter Laurence Hardy, H.J. Publications1971 ISBN 0-9502035-0-5
  • Birmingham (British tramways in pictures, 3), R.J.S. Wiseman, Huddersfield, Advertiser Press, 1972, ISBN 0-900028-11-4
  • Birmingham Transport, Alec G Jenson, Birmingham Transport Historical Group 1978 ISBN 0-905103-00-9
  • Birmingham City Transport, Malcolm, etc. Keeley, Transport Pub. Co 1978 ISBN 0-903839-18-0
  • Birmingham Corporation Trams and Trolleybuses, Archie Mayou, Senior Publications 1982 ISBN 0-903839-83-0
  • Birmingham Corporation Tramway Rolling Stock. The story of Birmingham tramcar design, development and maintenance, P.W. Lawson, Birmingham Transport Historical Group 1983
  • Last Tram Down the Village and Other Memories of Yesterday's Birmingham, Ray Tennant and Jim Lyndon, BiginInk Ltd 1984 ISBN 0-948025-01-8
  • Memories of Birmingham's transport, A.N.H Glover, 1987 ISBN 0-905103-06-8
  • Birmingham in the Electric Tramway Era, D.F. Potter, Birmingham Transport Historical Group 1988 ISBN 0-905103-10-6
  • Memories of Birmingham Transport, D.R. Harvey Birmingham Transport Historical Group 1988 ISBN 0-905103-09-2
  • Birmingham Trams on Old Picture Postcards, John Marks, Reflections of a Bygone Age 1992 ISBN 0-946245-53-3
  • A Nostalgic Look at Birmingham Trams, 1933-53: The Northern Routes Vol 1, Norman Painting, Silver Link Publishing Ltd 1993 ISBN 1-85794-014-8
  • A Nostalgic Look at Birmingham Trams, 1933-53: The Southern Routes - Bristol Road Routes, Cotteridge and the Moseley Road Routes, Plus Nechells and Bolton Road Vol 2, Tony Britton, Silver Link Publishing Ltd 1994 ISBN 1-85794-021-0
  • A Nostalgic Look at Birmingham Trams, 1933-53: The Eastern and Western Routes - Including the Stechford Routes, the West Bromwich, Wednesbury and Dudley Routes and the Smethwick, Oldbury and Dudley Routes v. 3, David Harvey, Silver Link Publishing Ltd 1995 ISBN 1-85794-037-7
  • Birmingham Trams, Silver Link Publishing Ltd 1995 ISBN 1-85794-992-7
  • Birmingham Transport (Archive Photographs: Images of England), Keith Turner, Tempus Publishing Ltd 1998 ISBN 0-7524-1554-9
  • The Tramways of the West Midlands, LRTA handbook 1999 ISBN 0-948106-23-9
  • Birmingham Corporation Transport, 1904-39, Paul Collins, Ian Allan Ltd 1999ISBN 0-7110-2627-0
  • Birmingham Corporation Transport, 1939-69, Paul Collins, Ian Allan Ltd 1999ISBN 0-7110-2656-4
  • Birmingham Transport (Sutton's Photographic History of Transport), Mike Hitches, Sutton Publishing 1999 ISBN 0-7509-1670-2
  • Seeing Birmingham by Tram, Eric Armstrong, Tempus Publishing Ltd 2003 ISBN 0-7524-2787-3

Video and DVDEdit

  • Birmingham trams and trolleybuses, Birmingham Transport Historical Group 1992, VHS, 90min, also DVD published by Online Video
  • Another look at Birmingham's trams and buses, John Stanford, 1999 VHS

Surviving artifacts and infrastructureEdit

TramcarsEdit

DepotsEdit

  • Moseley Road Depot - Grade II listed
  • Selly Oak Depot, Harborne Lane - now Storage Units
  • Witton Depot - now Aston Manor Road Transport Museum

TrackEdit

  • Edmund Street, Birmingham City Centre
  • Rednal Terminus


Historic town tramway systems in the United Kingdom (v/t)

England

Alford and Sutton - Barnsley and District - Birmingham Corporation - Blackpool - Brill - Bristol - Chesterfield - City of Birmingham - Dearne District - Derby - Doncaster - Grimsby & Immingham - Grimsby District - Heaton Park - Hull - Ilkeston - Liverpool - London County Council - London United - Maidstone Corporation - Mansfield & District - Matlock - Mexborough & Swinton - Nottingham Corporation - Nottingham & District - Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire - Rotherham - Scarborough funiculars - Sheffield - Southampton - Volks Electric - Warrington - Wisbech and Upwell - Wolverton and Stony Stratford

Wales

Great Orme - Swansea and Mumbles Railway - Pwllheli and Llanbedrog

Scotland

Glasgow - Scottish Tramway and Transport Society

Northern Ireland

Giant's Causeway Tramway

Isle of Man

Douglas Bay Horse Tramway - Douglas Southern Electric Tramway - Manx Electric Railway - Snaefell Mountain Railway - Upper Douglas Cable Tramway

Industry

Maley & Taunton

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