Birmingham Corporation Tramways

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For the football club, see Birmingham Corporation Tramways F.C..
Birmingham Corporation Tramways
Birmingham Tram.jpg
Birmingham Corporation Tram in 1953, shortly before the service was scrapped.
Operation
Locale Birmingham
Open 4 January 1904
Close 4 July 1953
Status Closed
Infrastructure
Track gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)
Propulsion system(s) Electric
Statistics
Route length 80.5 miles (129.6 km)
Map of the tram routes in 1930
Remains of tram track in Edmund Street, 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 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 80 12 miles (129.6 km).[1]

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.

Model of a BCT tram, at the National Tramway Museum

History[edit]

Routes[edit]

Route Description Abandoned Short workings
2 Steelhouse Lane to Erdington 4 June 1953 59 Steelhouse Lane to Gravelly Hill, 60 Steelhouse Lane to Aston Cross, 64 Steelhouse Lane to High Street, Erdington
3 Martineau Street to Witton via Six Ways 11 September 1939
3x Martineau Street to Witton via Aston Cross 31 December 1949
4 Station Street to Stoney Lane 5 January 1937
5 Lozells to Gravelly Hill 30 September 1950
6 Martineau Street to Perry Barr 21 December 1949
7 Martineau Street to Nechells
8 Martineau Street to Alum Rock 30 September 1950 61 Martineau Street via the Gate Inn, Saltley to Pelham Arms (Sladefield Road)
10 Martineau Street to Washwood Heath 30 September 1950 9 Martineau Street to Ward End Fox & Goose Pub, 62 inward working of route 10
15 High Street to South Yardley 2 October 1948 13 High Street to Small Heath Park, 56 High Street to Hay Mills
16 Station Street to South Yardley 6 January 1934 14 Station Street to Small Heath Park, 57 Station Street to Hay Mills
17 High Street to Stratford Road (College Road) 5 January 1937 19 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)
18 Station Street to Stratford Road 5 January 1937 21 Station Street to Stratford Road (College Road)
20 Station Street to Stratford Road (St. John's Road)
22 Station Street to Bolton Road 4 February 1930
23 Colmore Row to Handsworth 1 April 1939 28 Colmore Row to New Inns, Crocketts Lane, Handsworth
24 Colmore Row to Lozells via Wheeler Street (clockwise 25) 1 April 1939
25 Colmore Row to Lozells via Wheeler Street (anticlockwise 24) 7 August 1933
26 Colmore Row to Oxhill Road 1 April 1939 27 Colmore Row to Stafford Road, Soho Road, Handsworth
29 City to Bearwood via Dudley Road 30 September 1939 30 Edmund Street to Windmill Lane, Cape Hill, Smethwick, 55 Edmund Street to Dudley Road/Grove Lane
31 Edmund Street to Soho 30 September 1939
32 Edmund Street to Lodge Road 29 March 1947
33 Navigation Street to Ladywood 30 August 1947
34 Navigation Street to Bearwood via Hagley Road 9 August 1930
36 City to Cotteridge 5 May 1952 46 Navigation Street to Stirchley
37 City to Cannon Hill Park 1 October 1949
39 City to Alcester Lanes End 1 October 1949 38 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
42 City to Alcester Lanes End 1 October 1949 43 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
44 Dale End/Albert Street to Acocks Green 5 January 1937 91 High Street to Warwick Road, Tyseley
45 Dale End/Albert Street to Sparkbrook 5 January 1937
50 High Street to Moseley Road depot 1 October 1949 41 Navigation Street to Moseley Road Depot
51 Hill Street to Alcester Lane End 1 October 1949 40 Hill Street to High Street/Vicarage Road, Kings Heath via Leopold Street, 65 Hill Street to Moseley via Leopold Street
53 Navigation Street to Dogpool Lane
63 Steelhouse Lane to Fort Dunlop 4 July 1953
68 Villa Road to Soho Road, Lozells, Gravelly Hill and Erdington (Sundays only) 1923
70 Navigation Street to Rednal 5 July 1952 35 Navigation Street to Selly Oak, 54 Navigation Street to Pebble Mill Road, 69 Navigation Street to Northfield, 72 Navigation Street to Longbridge
71 Navigation Street to Rubery 5 July 1952
74 City to Dudley 1 April 1939 74 Livery Street to Carters Green, West Bromwich, 76 Colmore Road to Great Bridge, 77 Colmore Row to Spon Lane/High Street, West Bromwich
75 City to Wednesbury 1 April 1939
78 Steelhouse Lane to Short Heath 4 July 1953 1 Steelhouse Lane to Stockland Green
79 Steelhouse Lane to Pype Hayes Park 4 July 1953 63 Steelhouse Lane to Holly Lane/Tyburn Road
81 Villa Road to Soho Road, Lozells to Pype Hayes (Sundays only) 1930
84 City to Stechford 2 October 1948 12 High Street to Bordesley Green (Blake Street) via Deritend and Coventry Road
87 City to Dudley 30 September 1939 85 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
90 City to Stechford 2 October 1948 11 High Street to Bordesley Green (Blake Lane) via Fazeley Street

Depots and Works[edit]

Former tram depot, Selly Oak
Witton Tram depot
  • Arthur Street Depot see Coventry Road
  • Birchfield Road Depot, acquired from Handsworth District Council 1911, converted to motorbus use 28 October 1925
  • Bournbrook, Dawlish Road, acquired 1 January 1912, closed 11 July 1927 (replaced by Selly Oak)
  • Cotteridge Depot, acquired from King's 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 November 1913
  • Hockley Depot, acquired from Handsworth District Council 1912, converted to motorbus use 2 April 1939, (Motor buses ceased 2006)
  • Kyotts Lake Road Works, opened 1907, closed August 1953
  • Miller Street Depot, opened 4 January 1904, converted to motorbus use 4 July 1953
  • Moseley Road Depot, opened 1907, converted to motorbus use 2 October 1949
  • Rosebery Street Depot, opened 1 July 1906, converted to motorbus use 31 August 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 October 1950
  • West Smethwick Depot
  • Witton Depot, acquired 1912. Until 2011, Aston Manor Road Transport Museum [3]

Tramcar fleet[edit]

Numbers Year Seating capacity Withdrawn Notes
1 to 2 1903 28/28 1940-41 Destroyed in air raids
3 1903 28/28 1949
4 to 7 1903 28/28 1940-41 Destroyed in air raids
8 to 9 1903 28/28 1949
10 to 12 1903 28/28 1940-41 Destroyed in air raids
13 1903 28/28 1949
14 1903 28/28 1940-41 Destroyed in air raids
15 1903 28/28 1949
16 1903 28/28 1940-41 Destroyed in air raids
17 to 20 1903 28/28 1949
21 to 40 1905 26/22 1930-37
41 to 70 1905-6 26/22 1930-37
71 to 106 1906 28/24 1937-39
107 1906 28/24 1937-39 Under restoration at Aston Manor Road Transport Museum
108 to 220 1906-7 28/24 1937-39
221 to 270 1907 26/22 1930-37
271 to 300 1908 26/22 1930-37
301 to 302 1911 28/24 1950
303 1911 28/24 1940 Damaged in air raid
304 to 306 1911 28/24 1950
307 1911 28/24 1940 Damaged in air raid
308 to 323 1911 28/24 1950
324 1911 28/24 1940 Damaged in air raid
325 to 359 1911 28/24 1950
360 1911 28/24 1940 Damaged in air raid
361 to 389 1911-12 28/24 1950
390 1911-12 28/24 1940 Damaged in air raid
391 to 394 1911-12 28/24 1950
395 1911-12 28/24 1950 Preserved at Birmingham Thinktank
396 to 400 1911-12 28/24 1950
401 to 438 1912 30/24 1949
439 1912 30/24 1941
449 to 450 1912 30/24 1949
451 to 452 1912 34/34 1949
453 to 468 1903 26/22 1937-39
469 to 472 1904 26/22 1925-38
473 1903 29/26 1924
474 to 475 1903 29/26 1938
476 to 477 1903 29/26 1924
478 1903 29/26 1938
479 1903 29/26 1924
480 1903 29/26 1938
481 to 483 1904 26/22 1938-39
484 to 501 1904-05 26/22 1937-39
502 to 511 1904-05 26/22 1913–1928
512 to 524 1913-14 34/28 1950-53
525 1913-14 34/28 ???? Withdrawn during WWII
526 to 537 1913-14 34/28 1950-53
538 1913-14 34/28 ???? Withdrawn during WWII
539 to 563 1913-14 34/28 1950-53
564 1913-14 34/28 1941 Destroyed in air raid
565 to 566 1913-14 34/28 1950-53
567 to 568 1913-14 34/28 1941 Destroyed in air raid
569 to 573 1913-14 34/28 1950-53
574 to 575 1913-14 34/28 1941 Destroyed in air raid
576 to 581 1913-14 34/28 1950-53
582 1913-14 34/28 1941 Destroyed in air raid
583 to 586 1913-14 34/28 1950-53
587 to 636 1920-21 34/28 1949-53
637 to 661 1923-24 35/28 1952-53
662 1924 35/28 1952-53
663 1924 35/28 1941 Destroyed in air raid
664 to 668 1924 35/28 1952-53
669 to 670 1924 35/28 1941 Destroyed in air raid
671 to 679 1924 35/28 1952-53
680 to 681 1924 35/28 1941 Destroyed in air raid
682 to 684 1924-25 35/28 1952-52
685 1924-25 35/28 1941 Destroyed in air raid
686 to 696 1924-25 35/28 1952-53
697 1924-25 35/28 1941 Destroyed in air raid
698 1924-25 35/28 1952-53
699 1924-25 35/28 1941 Destroyed in air raid
700 to 701 1924-25 35/28 1952-53
702 to 703 1925 35/28 1940-41
704 to 706 1925 35/28 1952
707 to 708 1925 35/28 1940-41
709 to 710 1925 35/28 1952
711 1925 35/28 1940-41
712 to 713 1925 35/28 1952
714 1925 35/28 1940-41
715 to 717 1925 35/28 1952
718 1925 35/28 1940-41
719 1925 35/28 1952
720 1925 35/28 1940-41
721 to 722 1925 35/28 1952
723 to 724 1925 35/28 1940-41
725 to 726 1925 35/28 1952
727 1925 35/28 1940-41
728 to 731 1925 35/28 1952
732 to 761 1926 35/28 1952
762 to 784 1928 35/27 1952
785 1928 35/27 1941 Destroyed in air raid
786 to 811 1928 35/27 1952
812 to 820 1928-29 35/27 1952
821 1928-29 35/27 1941
822 to 841 1928-29 35/27 1952
842 1929 36/27 1952
843 1930 33/27 1952

Statistics[edit]

Year No of vehicles Miles run Passengers Revenue
1904 to 1905 20 266,526 4,709,798 £19,103 (£1,789,826 in 2014),[4]
1913 to 1914 551 14,268,244 146,930,986 £635,471 (£53,211,183 in 2014),[4]
1923 to 1924 658 17,521,741 214,338,365 £1,337,093 (£66,539,410 in 2014),[4]
1933 to 1934 762 17,368,227 201,442,970 £1,171,481 (£72,565,659 in 2014),[4]
1943 to 1944 499 11,206,698 130,665,152 £1,088,824 (£41,843,607 in 2014),[4]
1953 to 1954 120 3,391,580 35,554,412 £398,122 (£9,510,551 in 2014),[4]

Surviving artifacts and infrastructure[edit]

Tramcars[edit]

  • Vehicle 107 (1906) under restoration at Aston Manor Road Transport Museum
  • Vehicle 395 (1911) rescued by City of Birmingham Museums and Galleries. Restored in 1953 and presented to Birmingham Science Museum. Now preserved in Birmingham Thinktank

Shelters[edit]

Tramway shelter from Birmingham preserved at the Crich Tramway Museum

Depots[edit]

  • Moseley Road Depot - Grade II listed.
  • Selly Oak Depot, Harborne Lane - now Storage Units.
  • Witton Depot
  • Silver Street, Kings Heath - now International Stock.
  • Miller Street - First Corporation built depot.
  • Highgate Road. Closed to trams 1937. Used for buses until the 1950s
  • Steam Tram coke yard, 1899 - Stratford Road/ College Road junction.

Track[edit]

Remains of tram track, Rednal Terminus

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Birmingham City Transport, Malcolm, etc. Keeley, Transport Pub. Co 1978 ISBN 0-903839-18-0
  2. ^ Tramways of the Black Country: Company-operated Lines of South Staffordshire and North Worcestershire, J S Webb Staffs., 1954
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ a b c d e f UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2014), "What Were the British Earnings and Prices Then? (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.

Literature[edit]

  • 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, David Harvey, 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, David Harvey, 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
  • Roads & Rails of Birmingham 1900-1939, R.T. Coxon, Ian Allen Ltd. 1979 ISBN 0-7110-0913-9

Video and DVD[edit]

  • 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