Leeds City Transport No. 345

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Leeds 345

Photo: Jim Dignan

Leeds 345 was originally built in-house by Leeds City Transport in 1921 as a typical open balcony four wheeler with reversed stairs, in common with virtually the entire Leeds passenger fleet at the time. When first introduced it sported the livery currently displayed by 399 and only acquired its dark blue livery during the following decade..

As the Leeds fleet was modernised during the 1930s, however, the open balcony cars appeared increasingly obsolete even though they were still by this stage less than 20 years old. As this was also an era of financial stringency, the transport committee decided that instead of replacing them all with new trams they would convert the later ones such as 345, with the aim of modernising their appearance and thereby extending their working lives. Many other tramway operators adopted a similar policy, though the extent (and resultant cost) of the conversion process was very variable.

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Fellow ‘Convert’ 351 at Cardigan Road terminus. H.B. Priestley, 26/5/1939.

Specification

Type of tram
Double deck fully enclosed four wheel electric tramcar
Livery
Princess blue and white
Seating capacity
62 (40 upper saloon, 22 lower saloon)
Date built
1921
Date entered service
27th March 1921
Manufacturer of body
Leeds City Transport
Manufacturer of truck
Hurst Nelson 21E
Gauge
4’ 8½”
Motor
DK 30 B1 2 x 50 hp
Controller
DK DB1 K3
Current collector
Fischer bow collector
Modification

1939 Rebuilt by Leeds City Transport which involved a conversion from an open balcony car with reversed stairs into a fully enclosed car with platform doors and added vestibules. The original trolley pole was replaced by the current bow collector and direct stairs were also installed. The upper deck bulkheads were removed and seats upholstered at the same time.

Withdrawn from service

Officially withdrawn on 17/9/1948 (while still in operational condition) and converted into a joiners’ shop for use at Swinegate Depot

Subsequent history

Acquired by Leeds Transport Historical Society in 1959, which saved it from the scrap-yard for preservation. Transported to Crich on 17/12/1959.

Restoration history

Initially (1963) intended for restoration in its original condition as an open-balcony car but then in 1978 it was resolved to restore it as a ‘Convert’ car. Placed in off-site storage in 1982; returned to Crich in 2002 and entered service in 2006 after a full restoration.

Current status
Restored in operational condition. Commissioned for service as part of the operational fleet during the current season.
Date started operating at Crich
2006
Total mileage covered at Crich
7,240
Current location
Depots
Timeline
  • 1921 – 1948Fully operational on original tramway
  • 1948 – 1959Requisitioned as a joiners’ shed
  • 1959 – 1982On display at Crich
  • 1982 – 2002Off-site storage
  • 2002 – 2006Undergoing restoration
  • 2006 – 2010Operational at Crich
  • 2010 – 2012Undergoing further repairwork
  • 2012 –Operational at Crich

Crich Tramway Village is a brand name for the National Tramway Museum (Accredited with Arts Council England), solely owned and operated by The Tramway Museum Society, incorporated in England with liability by guarantee (no. 744229). Registered charity number 313615. Our ICO number is Z6700136.