Leeds Tramway

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This article is about a tramway closed in 1959. For the proposed replacement, see Leeds Supertram.
Leeds Tramway
OldTram 700.jpg
A 1925 Leeds tram at the National Tramway Museum in Crich, Derbyshire
Locale England
Dates of operation 29 October 1891–7 November 1959
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification overhead catenary
Headquarters Leeds
A 1931 Leeds tram, in the later red livery
Construction of the Leeds Tramway on Roundhay Road, Harehills, Leeds
Leeds Tramway on Briggate.

Leeds Corporation Tramways formerly served the city of Leeds, England. The original trams were horse-drawn, but, by 1901, electrification had been completed. The tramway opened on 29 October 1891[1]

Routes[edit]

There were several lines running between the city centre[2] and Cross Gates,[3] Chapel Allerton,[4][5] Moortown,[6] Roundhay,[7] Middleton,[8] Beeston,[9] Armley,[10] Hunslet[11] and Kirkstall.[12] The network, of which certain sections were on reserved track, was far more extensive than that of the proposed Leeds Supertram, which has not been built after a funding shortfall from central government.

Trams[edit]

The earliest trams were single decker horsedrawn trams, but later purchases were double deckers, operated by Leeds Tramways Company. The last of these ran in 1901. Steam trams were also used until full electrification. Throughout most of the twentieth century the tramway used a mixture of bus style and balloon trams, both in double-decker formation.[13] The system of collection by trams from the overhead wiring was unusual in that it used pantographs rather than poles, obviating the need to turn the pole round at each terminus.

Even when other cities were abandoning their tramways in the 1940s, Leeds continued to modernise its system. Two prototype modern single-deck trams (somewhat similar to those used in continental European cities) were built in the early 1950s, but never put into full production.

In the early 1950s, Leeds purchased 90 "Feltham" secondhand trams (dating from 1931), from London Transport. By this period, Leeds tramcars were normally painted in red.

Closure[edit]

After the closure of the Leeds system on 7 November 1959,[1] Sheffield became the last city in England operating trams (closing in 1960), with Glasgow (Scotland) the last in the UK (closing in 1962). The Blackpool tramway then became the UK's only commercial tramway, until the opening of the Manchester Metrolink in 1992.

Preservation[edit]

Several Leeds electric trams are now preserved at the National Tramway Museum at Crich. The last remaining [Leeds horse tram no 107] is now being restored by the Leeds Transport Historical Society.[14] There are what are commonly thought to have been original tram poles remaining in Roundhay were actually lighting standards in a bus park. There is an old electricity sub station used for the tramway on Abbey Road in Hawksworth.[15]

Queens Hall

Queens Hall was the central tram shed, situated off Swinegate. This was used as a concert hall from the trams closure until 1989, when it was demolished. Queens Hall became a renowned punk venue and hosted other artists such as Elton John, however the venue's poor acoustics and high upkeep costs brought about its closure. The site is an unmade car park, the proposed Criterion Place development was to be built here.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "LRTA – Electric Tramways of Yorkshire". Retrieved 16 September 2009. 
  2. ^ a photographic archive of Leeds – Display. Leodis (12 July 1952). Retrieved on 19 October 2011.
  3. ^ a photographic archive of Leeds – Display. Leodis (9 January 1956). Retrieved on 19 October 2011.
  4. ^ a photographic archive of Leeds – Display. Leodis. Retrieved on 19 October 2011.
  5. ^ a photographic archive of Leeds – Display. Leodis (16 December 1954). Retrieved on 19 October 2011.
  6. ^ a photographic archive of Leeds – Display. Leodis (2 April 1936). Retrieved on 19 October 2011.
  7. ^ a photographic archive of Leeds – Display. Leodis. Retrieved on 19 October 2011.
  8. ^ a photographic archive of Leeds – Display. Leodis (22 February 1937). Retrieved on 19 October 2011.
  9. ^ a photographic archive of Leeds – Display. Leodis (15 March 1910). Retrieved on 19 October 2011.
  10. ^ a photographic archive of Leeds – Display. Leodis (6 February 1929). Retrieved on 19 October 2011.
  11. ^ a photographic archive of Leeds – Display. Leodis (28 November 1958). Retrieved on 19 October 2011.
  12. ^ a photographic archive of Leeds – Display. Leodis (11 April 1928). Retrieved on 19 October 2011.
  13. ^ http://johnlawontherails.fotopic.net/p24610499.html
  14. ^ Leeds Horse car 107 restoration project. Leedshorsecar107.squarespace.com (16 September 2009). Retrieved on 19 October 2011.
  15. ^ a photographic archive of Leeds – Display. Leodis (20 May 2007). Retrieved on 19 October 2011.

External links[edit]