North Metropolitan Horse Tram

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North Metropolitan horse tram being extracted from the farm site in Powys. Photo: Mike Crabtree.

The North Metropolitan Tramways Company was incorporated on 12th July 1869 and opened for traffic on 9th May 1870 with just 2½ miles of track. The first tramcars were imported from the New York firm of John Stephenson & Co. but by February 1881 domestic demand was so great that the firm had priced itself out of its former export markets and from this date the North Metropolitan Tramways obtained all its new stock either by building its own or by purchasing from other British suppliers.

By June 1884, the track mileage had increased to 34¾ miles (most of which was double track), serving districts in the north and east of London. By this stage, the tramway owned a stud of 2,474 horses and 253 horse trams of various sizes, of which around 200 were likely to be in service on any given day. The tramway’s Building and General Workshop at Leytonstone was capable of producing 57 horse trams per year at a cost of £135 each. Other tramcars for the fleet were obtained from the Falcon Works at Loughborough.

Unidentified North Metropolitan horse trams. Photo courtesy of Crich TMS photo archive.

A horse tram that was built at one or other of these premises in 1885 and withdrawn in 1906 is known to have ended up as a children’s playhouse on a farm in Newtown, Powys, after it was bought by a local farmer and transported to its new location by the Great Central Railway. When the surrounding land was ploughed up for arable crops to support the war effort during the second world war, the playhouse became a cereal store.

 

Specification

Type of tram
Double deck open-topped horse tram with garden seats on the upper deck
Livery
Green
Seating capacity
Probably 46
Date built
1885
Manufacturer of body
North Metropolitan Tramways Co (or Falcon Works, Loughborough)
Manufacturer of truck
Falcon Works, Loughborough
Gauge
4’ 8½”
Motor
N/A
Controller
N/A
Current collector
N/A
Modification

?

Withdrawn from service

1906

Subsequent history

Purchased by a North Wales farmer and transported by rail to Newtown in Powys, for use as a children’s playhouse, before conversion to a grain store during the second world war.

Restoration history

Recovered from field and placed in long-term storage in 2016 pending a decision on its future.

Current status
Stored in dismantled ‘flat-pack condition’
Date started operating at Crich
N/A
Total mileage covered at Crich
N/A
Current location
Off-site storage facility
Future plans

LCCTT has expressed interest in restoring the tramcar and a fund has been established for this purpose.

Timeline
  • 1885 – 1906Operational on original tramway
  • 1906 – 1916Converted to summer house
  • 1916 – dateIn storage at off-site storage facility.

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.