Tramways

My interest in urban transport led me to tramways. Growing up in Sheffield in the '70's meant being in a city where the traditional tramway had not been long gone and was still regarded with great affection by many. My father was one of them, and so visits to the National Tramway Museum were a regular occurrence. Blackpool was visited less frequently, but enough to keep me satisfied. I don't suppose many people ever expected to see trams (or at least the rather more modern descendents of trams) on the streets in the UK again, but Manchester, Sheffield, West Midlands, Croydon and Nottingham are up and running, and others are maybe in the pipeline, despite to the government's changeability with regards to funding projects. I don't have to go across the Channel to see modern tramways in operation anymore, although trips to Germany and Holland are worthwhile because of the number of systems. There is also a reason to go to France these days, as well. Someday I may even go across the  English Channel to see some of these systems. There are a few photos here, and more will follow when I get myself back on the road. I am currently working on scanning the best of my "traditional" photos, which will eventually lead to pictures on this page depicting the early years of Manchester Metrolink, Sheffield trams in battleship grey, lots of those traditional (and less traditional) trams from Blackpool, and new shots from September 2005 of the Manx Electric and Snaefell Mountain Railways. Meanwhile....
 

Manchester: The first, highly successful new system. Not enough street running for my liking, although the Eccles line has a good length, albeit with a rather long distance between stops. The whole thing would be improved by having a brighter livery and by smartening up the shockingly run down stations left over from the heavy rail days. At least the ticket machines accept notes now. The only digital photos I have so far are of the terribly slow Eccles extension.

Metrolink 2002, 9th July 2000 Manchester Metrolink 2002, one of the new cars bought for the Eccles line, approaching Broadway station from the Eccles direction on 9th July 2000. At this time the public service terminated at Broadway but the cars continued empty to Eccles, operating a shadow service, returning empty to Broadway to take up public service. I am baffled at to why only six new trams were bought for the Eccles service, which is supposed to require six trams in service, with the subsequent adaptation of some of the original trams to operate on the new line. This, presumably, means that there are fewer available for the grossly overcrowded peak hour service on the Altrincham and Bury lines.


Metrolink 2002, 9th July 2000 The same car a few seconds later, waiting for departure time at Broadway.
 
 
 
 


 

Metrolink 2002 Metrolink 2002 yet again, this time approaching the Regent Street terminus in Eccles on 12th September 2000.
 
 
 



Sheffield: a spot of bias, perhaps, as I was born and raised in Sheffield, but I like the South Yorkshire Supertram a lot. It has lots and lots of street running, conductors to collect fares so there is no need for complicated off car ticketing (after the initial system was wisely abandoned), warning bells that sound like tramcars and a nice bright livery (after the initial battleship grey almost anything would be an improvement). I am amazed that I am praising the Stagecoach corporate livery, so reviled by myself, like all the corporate liveries, but I think it works well on the Sheffield trams, without the bouncy stripes.

Supertram 102 Stagecoach Supertram 102 at Malin Bridge terminus one day in late December 1999, about to depart to Halfway with me on board as far as Gleadless Townend.
 
 
  


Supertram 105 Supertram 105 trundling up High Street Sheffield on 25th July 2000, about to use the crossover, reverse at Cathedral and continue its journey to Herdings Park.
 
 
 
 


Supertram 106 Supertram 106 departing from Cathedral on a Halfway - Malin Bridge service at the end of 1999. Until I relocate my notebook I can't be more specific.
 
 
 


 

Supertram 108 Supertram 108 at the City Hall stop on 25th July 2000.
 
 
 
 
 


Supertram 110 Supertram 110 waiting at traffic lights at Holme Lane Junction, Hillsborough, 24th July 2000, on a Middlewood - Meadowhall journey.
 
 
 
 


Supertram 112 Supertram 112 at Cathedral, 25th July 2000.
 
 
 
 


 

Supertram 113 Supertram 113 at the Infirmary Road stop on 24th July 2000, on its way to Malin Bridge. The full size image is 640x480 pixels.
 
 



West Midlands: I have only spent about two hours on this system, but I found it something of a let down, being very much based around old railway alignments. The ticketing arrangements seemed to be complex, with several of the machines I encountered being out of use. The Birmingham terminus, in the depths of Snow Hill Station did not help. Surely an extension into Birmingham City Centre is a necessity. This visit was prior to the acquisition of my digital camera, so I have no pictures yet.

Croydon: I was very impressed with the Tramlink system, apart from the erratic service being provided on the day I visited. I understand that this was due to a carnival or festival taking place in Croydon that day. The off car ticketing seemed somewhat elaborate, and there was some confusion about which Travelcards were valid on the system. In several hours of riding the system I never saw a ticket inspector, which worries me somewhat. I recall the early days of the Manchester and Sheffield systems when the trams were seemingly awash with inspectors. I find it odd that the experience of Sheffield, where the introduciton of conductors lead to increased revenue and passenger numbers has not been noted and copied anywhere else. From a photographic point of view, the Croydon trams were so bright and shiny that some reflective glare was experienced occasionally. They look very impressive, however, so long may they continue to be clean and shiny.


Croydon Tramlink 2534 Croydon Tramlink 2534 leaving East Croydon Station heading towards West Croydon on 1st July 2000.
 
 
 
 
 


Croydon Tramlink 2536 Croydon Tramlink 2536 at East Croydon Station on a journey to West Croydon and WImbledon, 1st July 2000.
 
 
 
 


Croydon Tramlink 2538 Croydon Tramlink 2538 in George Street, 1st July 2000, blinds already set for the journey round the loop and back to Beckenham Junction.
 
 
 
 
 


Croydon Tramlink 2539 Croydon Tramlink 2539 speeding along George Street across the end of Wellesley Road on 1st July on route 1 to Wimbledon.
 
 
 
 



Croydon Tramlink 2540 No 2540 in George Street on 1st July on its way round the one way system to West Croydon and then New Addington.
 
 
 
 


Croydon Tramlink 2550a Croydon Tramlink 2550 at Elmers End Station on 1st July, displaying corporate First Group livery instead of the rather more sedate standard red and white.
 
 
 
 


Croydon Tramlink 2550 The rear end of no. 2550 later in the day, diving down Crown Hill in the centre of Croydon. The barriers are something to do with the Croydon Carnival, or some such festival.
 
 
 



Nottingham: The latest (and given the appalling attitude of the government to public transport in general, and light rail in particular, perhaps the last) new system is in Nottingham. A job interview in Nottingham on 10th March 2004 gave me the opportunity (I thought) to photograph Nottingham's buses and the pending light rail system. I was more than pleasantly surprised to discover the trams were up and running, so not a single bus was photographed. Few trams were, as I had limited time and wanted to ride the system. All seemed fine and dandy, apart from the overcrowding, and some of the seats seemed rather oddly positioned. But I liked what I saw. If only the government could grasp the meaning of the phrase "PUBLIC  transport" and see beyond the short-term costs of these systems to the long-term benefits.

Nottingham 208

Nottingham 208 waiting at the Station terminus for departure to the park and ride site at Phoenix Park. The interchange with the Railway Station is very good, being a short walk across a bridge





Nottingham 212 At the other end of the line, at Hucknall, is 212. I didn't have time to check out the distance from the tram terminus to Hucknall town centre, so I can make no comment. Despite the railing, this view was better than from the other side of the tram due to light conditions (highlighted by the brightness of the electronic indicator reflected on shiny new tram).





Nottingham 215 At the Beastmarket stop in central NOttingham (with a very handily located travel shop behind) is 215, en route to Hucknall. It is my intention to return very soon, and photograph the trams at various other locations, particularly the street-runing sections.



 
 

Manx Electric Railway and Snaefell Mountain Railway


Links

As with the buses section, I have rather neglected browsing other sites recently as much of my time has been spent updating my own.

National Tramway Museum Largely concerned with the museum's photographic collection. Be warned, you could spend hours looking through all these images.
Light Rail Transit Association. news, a world wide system list, factsheets for campaigning purposes, photos and a lot more.
Blickpunkt Strassenbahn A German magazine, with lots of information and many links.
 
 


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Last update 13th November 2004