Over the years practically all of the operating heritage tramways have developed in the Midlands and north of England but if a small group of enthusiasts’ ambitious plans come about all of that could be about to change! With the exception of the narrow gauge Seaton Tramway in Devon there are no operational tramways in the south but the area does have a rich history of trams particularly in Bath, Bristol, Gloucester, Swindon, Southampton and Cardiff (yes, the last one isn’t in England but you get the idea!) and the idea of this project is to draw attention to that and to develop a major tourist attraction for the area.
At the present time the plans are at a very early stage with only a couple of enthusiasts’ involved and before the plans can be developed much further they need to find out if the project is viable. To do this they are seeking support from tram enthusiasts (both local and further afield) and if you are interested in joining in you can contact Chris Auckland by email at chris.aucklandsatoutlook.com (replace at with @).
Early discussions have been undertaken in relation to some of the surviving artefacts of the numerous south western tramways, including the excellent collection of the Southampton Tram Project. It should be stressed however that discussions between interested parties are at a very early stage. No specific gauge has been identified for the long-term tramway, although there is precedent for both standard gauge and 3′ 6″ in the south west.
At this stage no definite base for the project has been selected although the project is currently based in the Bath area.
This could be a potentially exciting development for tram preservation in the UK so if you would like to see this project get off the ground please email Chris offering your support.