Leeds horse tram set to operate at Middleton

A story in the Yorkshire Evening Post on the recent impressive progress on the restoration of Leeds horse tram 107 by members of the Leeds Transport Historical Society, has included details on plans for the car’s future. Surprisingly, the tram is expected to operate at the Middleton Railway – where it is currently under attention – next summer, before transferring to a more permanent home at the National Tramway Museum in 2014.

Earlier this year, Leeds 107 was moved to the Middleton Railway near Leeds for completion of its reconstruction, which has taken about seven years. This was because the building where most of the restoration had been carried out was not much larger than 107 itself, meaning that assembling the tram inside would not be possible. Since it moved to Middleton, the car has made excellent progress, first being mounted on its rebuilt truck, and then undergoing further work, such as the fitting of its top deck seats and staircases. Having been so helpful with the project to return the last surviving Leeds horse tram to operating condition, it is highly fitting that the Middleton Railway is to be the venue for the launch of the completed tram. This is expected to take place next summer, when the tram will be pulled by horses for the first time in well over a century! It is not known yet whether this will be a one-off event or if 107 will operate regularly, but it is sure to be a huge attraction when it runs again.

107 will then join the many other superbly restored Leeds trams at Crich Tramway Village in 2014, where it is expected that it will also be operated. Hopefully this will allow Crich to run two horse trams together, as of course Sheffield 15 is also part of their running fleet. If this happens it would be the first time that two horse trams had operated at the same tramway since Chesterfield 8 and Sheffield 15 last ran together at Crich in 1991, and it would also be the museum’s first opportunity to demonstrate both single-deck and double-deck horse trams together. 107‘s arrival will also create numerous photographic opportunities which will hopefully be exploited – such as 107 and Leeds 399 posed together in matching primrose and chocolate livery, and the oldest preserved Leeds tram displayed next to the most modern, Leeds 602. Whatever happens, the next few years look set to be very eventful for this remarkable survivor and the efforts of the dedicated few who are working so hard to bring the tram back to life should soon be rewarded by the sight of the completed tram operating with appropriate motive power.

This entry was posted in Leeds Transport Historical Society. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Leeds horse tram set to operate at Middleton

  1. Steve Hyde says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice to see the MTMS Eades car L53 at a horse car event with 15 and 107 at Crich in 2014?

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      Steve – it certainly would! I’m sure the costs of hiring in horses would be considerable, although perhaps a couple of horses could alernate between the three trams to save on costs? Either way, anything is possible and if the right people get behind the idea?

  2. Jamie Guest says:

    Thanks for the above Gareth, just a few points though.
    1) 107 does not have a truck as such but has been fitted to it’s completely new running gear. It is believed that the LTHS is the first group ever to recreate the running gear of a tram in preservation rather than rebuilding an exiting set or truck.
    2) The stairs were already fitted when 107 ws moved to Middleton but we ahve since fitted the upper deck seats and the first handrail stanchions.

    Lastly the intention is to use 107 at Middleton for some months and for it to take part in events there as a means of repaying their hopitality and generosity in providing space for us to finish 107.

    As a final piece 107 is no longer on public display in the Engine House as the space is needed for other things. We are now inside the carriage workshop and no public access is allowed. Hopefully we will be back in the Engine House in the spring.

    Jamie