Manchester Carriage & Tramways Company Horse Tram W24

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Photo: Jim Dignan

The first horse-drawn buses in Britain were introduced in Manchester by John Greenwood in 1824.  However, their capacity was limited by the deplorable state of the unpaved roads of the day.  Once mass-produced steel became available around 1860, however, it became possible to run horse-drawn tramcars on rails, which were capable of carrying between three and ten times the number of passengers and providing them with a much smoother ride.

Manchester Carriage & Tramway Company double-ended horse tram P4, possibly at Eccles. Photo courtesy of Crich TMS photo archive.

The first horse-drawn trams were ‘double-ended’ since they had to be capable of operating in both directions, which meant that the horses had to be detached and walked round to the opposite end of the car before being harnessed up again for the return journey.  Not just the horses but the draw-bar and pole to which they were attached likewise had to be unfastened and carried round by ‘pole-shifters’ from one end of the car to the other.

Specification

Type of tram
Eades reversible horse tram chassis
Livery
N/A
Seating capacity
Originally 34
Date built
1880
Manufacturer of body
N/A
Manufacturer of truck
Manchester Carriage & Tramways Co
Gauge
4’ 8½”
Motor
N/A
Controller
N/A
Current collector
N/A
Modification

Not known

Withdrawn from service

Not later than March 1903

Subsequent history

Arrived at Crich in November 1961 but its body was in such a dilapidated condition that it was scrapped a month later, leaving only the chassis.

Restoration history

The chassis was subsequently prepared for display in the Exhibition Hall.

Current status
Truck is on display in unrestored condition. Tram body is in storage in unrestored condition.
Date started operating at Crich
N/A
Total mileage covered at Crich
N/A
Current location
Exhibition Hall
Future plans

N/A

Timeline
  • 1880 – 1903Operational on original tramway
  • 1903 – 1961Subsequent history and whereabouts of tram chassis W24 largely unknown before its arrival at Crich in November 1961.
  • 2000 – Unrelated tram body acquired and placed in off-site storage
  • 2016 – Eades chassis belonging to W24 on display in unrestored condition in Great Exhibition Hall