Leeds City Transport No. 602

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Leeds 602

Photo: Jim Dignan

Leeds 602 was one of two prototype trams that were built in 1953 at a time when serious thought was being given to the development of a new tram subway system serving Leeds city centre as a way of avoiding the severe traffic congestion that it already suffered from. If the ambitious project had been completed, it would have seen most of Leeds’s extensive fleet of ageing double-deck trams being replaced by a new fleet of 200 continental-style single-deckers like 602 at a cost of £2 million.

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602 at Halton terminus. M.J. O’Connor, 3/7/1954.

The design of the tram was influenced in part by American-style PCC-type single deck tramcars then operating in Belgium and the Netherlands (see Hague 1147 for an example), in part by design work that had been undertaken in Glasgow by the tramway manager (A.B. Findlay) who was later to move to Leeds (1949-60) and in part by similar contemporary developments in Blackpool. The tram also bears more than a passing resemblance to an experimental tramcar – Leeds 600, also in the National Tramway Museum collection – which was purchased from Sunderland towards the end of the war and which underwent an extensive rebuild that overlapped in part with the design and construction phase for 602.

602 at Kirkstall Road works, Bob Parr, 12/5/1953.

A still new-looking 602 at Kirkstall Road works, Bob Parr, 12/5/1953.

602’s tapered ends were intended to provide increased clearances on tight curves while its continental-style central entrances were combined with reduced seating capacity to enable more standing passengers to be accommodated and loading times reduced with a view to improving operating schedules by 25%.

Specification

Type of tram
Built as a modern prototype fully enclosed single deck centre-entrance electric passenger tramcar
Livery
Purple and cream
Seating capacity
34 seated (17 in each of two saloons) with standing room for an additional 36 passengers
Date built
1953
Date entered service
1 June 1953
Manufacturer of body
Charles H. Roe, Crossgates, Leeds
Manufacturer of truck
Maley and Taunton HS44 bogies (motors mounted longitudinally)
Gauge
4’ 8½”
Motor
Crompton Parkinson CP92B2 4 x 45 hp
Controller
VAMBAC (Variable Automatic Multi-notch Braking and Acceleration Control)
Current collector
Fischer Bow collector
Modification

A foot-operated ‘shaft-brake’ was installed in each cab prior to commissioning, to prevent ‘roll-back’ on gradients.
While still in service, two additional roof pods (subsequently removed) were installed, providing extra resistance for each motor pair.

Withdrawn from service

28 September 1957 then placed in storage in Swinegate depot until the closure of the Leeds tramway in November 1959.

Subsequent history

Moved to Crich in May 1960 and ran briefly in 1967 and again 1972 though it has only operated intermittently since then.

Restoration history

The tram underwent an extensive renovation between 1963 and 1972 and sustained a serious roof leak in the mid-1990s, which damaged some of the original ceiling mouldings.

Current status
Conserved; on display
Date started operating at Crich
1972 intermittently until 2006
Total mileage covered at Crich
5,531
Current location
Exhibition Hall
Future plans

In 2014 the decision was taken to conserve the tramcar in its present non-operational condition.

Timeline
  • 1953 – 1957Fully operational on original tramway
  • 1957 – 1963In storage
  • 1963 – 1972Undergoing reconstruction
  • 1972Operational at Crich
  • 1972 – 1975On display
  • 1975 – 1976Operational at Crich
  • 1976 – 1987On display
  • 1987 – 1995Operational at Crich
  • 1995 – 2003On display
  • 2003 – 2006Operational at Crich
  • 2006 –On display

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.