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.