Camborne and Redruth Tramways

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Camborne and Redruth Tramways
Redruth Centenary Wesleyan Chapel car 1.jpg
Car 1 at the Camborne terminus
Locale Camborne, Redruth
Open 7 November 1902
Close August 1934
Status Closed
Track gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)
Propulsion system(s) Electric
Depot(s) Carn Brea
Route length 3.7 miles (6.0 km)
Camborne and Redruth Tramway.jpg

The Camborne and Redruth Tramways company operated an electric freight and passenger tramway service in the Cornish towns of Camborne and Redruth between 1902 and 1934.[1]


A mineral train at East Pool Mine

The proposal for Camborne and Redruth, put forward by the Urban Electric Supply Company, was for a combined lighting scheme and tramway. The Urban Electric Supply Company was a subsidiary of Edmundson's Electricity Corporation.

The construction of the generating station and distribution system cost £38,500 (equivalent to £3,835,819 in 2016) [2] and the tramway and vehicles cost £35,000 (equivalent to £3,487,108 in 2016).[2] The tramway was constructed by Dick, Kerr & Co. in around 6 months. Track-laying started on 7 April 1902,[3] and the network was single-tracked with eight passing loops and double tracks at each end. The sharpest curve was 40 ft radius and the steepest section on East Hill was 1:15.

It was mostly complete by September 1902.[4] Members of Camborne and Redruth Councils visited on 1 October 1902. The first trial run of the system took place on Wednesday 8 October 1902, with a delegation of local dignitaries invited by the company manager Mr. F.C. Hanning[5] The trial car arrived at the Camborne terminus at 11.30am driven by the manager, accompanied by William Ward, the electrical engineer. The West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser for 9 October 1902 reported that those passengers who caught hold of a certain brass rod, to get on to the car, experienced a mild electric shock, the effect of which caused them to quickly release their hold, and this brought a smile to the face of Engineer Ward.

The Board of Trade Inspector passed the tramway for use on 25 October 1902. The formal opening was held on 7 November 1902 when Mrs. Wigham, wife of an Edmundson's Director was the guest of honour.

The tramway opened for passenger service on 7 November 1902,[6] and for freight in May 1903.

Vehicles were obtained from G.F. Milnes & Co. in 1902 and 1903, and comprised 6 open top double deck cars (48-seaters), 2 single-deck cars (34-seaters) plus 2 freight locomotives. The company livery was dark green and cream. Between 7 November 1902 and 30 September 1903 the passenger service carried one million passengers.[7]

The freight locomotives moved 12 ore wagons on the tramway from East Pool mine.


Around 1926, the Cornish Motor Transport Company inaugurated a 15-minute bus service between Redruth and Camborne, which reduced the patronage of the passenger tram service. Despite a reduction in fares and an amended service, it was not commercially viable[8] and the service closed to passengers on 29 September 1927. The freight services continued.

In August 1934 the freight service of tin ore was replaced by an aerial ropeway.[9]


  1. ^ The Golden Age of Tramways. Published by Taylor and Francis.
  2. ^ a b UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 6 November 2017. 
  3. ^ "Redruth Camborne Electric Trams". Cornubian and Redruth Times. England. 11 April 1902. Retrieved 17 April 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  4. ^ "Redruth Camborne Electrical Tramway". Cornishman. England. 11 September 1902. Retrieved 17 April 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ "Camborne-RedruthTramway". West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser. England. 9 October 1902. Retrieved 17 April 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  6. ^ "The Official Opening". Cornishman. England. 13 November 1902. Retrieved 17 April 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  7. ^ "Redruth Tram. One Million Passengers". Cornubian and Redruth Times. England. 31 October 1903. Retrieved 17 April 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  8. ^ "Camborne tram cars to stop. Passenger service ceases end of month". Cornishman. England. 14 September 1927. Retrieved 17 April 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  9. ^ Gamble, Barry (2011). Cornish mines: St Just to Redruth. Penzance: Alison Hodge. p. 62. ISBN 0-906720-81-8. 

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