Bid to save Burton & Ashby 14 launched

Tram enthusiasts are uniting in an attempt to rescue Burton & Ashby 14 from Detriot, following the recent announcement that this historic open-top tramcar is to be sold at auction on November 5th. There has been considerable interest in this tram shown by the enthusiast community and local people in Burton, prompting action to be taken. A meeting is being held at Burton-upon-Trent on Saturday 1st November to discuss an initial proposal to try and purchase the tram, with a possible view to returning it to the UK – although it must be stressed that this is a very early outline proposal at this stage.

British Trams Online has received the following statement, which is reproduced in full below, regarding the attempt to acquire Burton & Ashby 14:

A bid is to be made to save a Burton and Ashby Tram and return it to the UK from Detroit in the USA, where it is being sold by auction. If enough support is forthcoming, it is hoped to bring it home to the Midlands. The tram was one of 20 built by Brush of Loughborough in 1906 for operation by the Midland Railway Tramway between Burton, Newhall, Swadlincote, Castle Gresley, Woodville and Ashby-de-la-Zouch. It was withdrawn when the line closed in 1927. It then took the part of a garden shed – cum – greenhouse until the 1970s when it was rescued and rebuilt by enthusiasts in Swadlincote. No 14 subsequently went to the USA where it operated on a heritage tramway in Detroit. When that city’s activities collapsed in 2003, the tramway was closed and since then the car has been in store.

Anyone interested in the project to purchase the car and return it to the UK, is invited to a meeting on Saturday 1st November to be held at 3pm in the Academia Room at the National Brewery Centre, Horninglow Street, Burton upon Trent. Otherwise please e-mail any expressions of interest to

We would like to wish everyone involved with this project the very best of luck, and anyone who is able to attend this meeting is urged to go along and show your support. This could well be a unique opportunity to repatriate the only surviving tram from a long-lost British system and so the support of enthusiasts is absolutely vital to ensure the best possible chance of a happy outcome for car 14.



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3 Responses to Bid to save Burton & Ashby 14 launched

  1. Malcolm says:

    I have emailed Tim Stubbs to pledge money towards the rescue of this tram. If you can do the same, do it quickly! They will need to know how much they can raise in a very short space of time.

    How are the finances to be arranged?

  2. Alexander Pollock AIA AICP says:

    In 1978, I was responsible for obtaining financing ($80,000) from the Michigan Bell Yellow Pages to acquire the Burtoin and Ashby tramcar from Peter White and his associates. Incidently, tram 14′s motorman immigrated to Windsor, Canada (just across from Detroit, USA) only to see the tram arrive in Detroit some decadea later. Also, my good friend (cartoonist) Rowland Emett did a sketch of Tram 14 flying over the Atlantic Ocean asking for directions to Detroit from a seagull!

    The car operated successfully for many years and was featured on national television (1980 Republican Convention) when the soon to be Vice President George Bush was seen shaking hands with the President of the Michigan Bell Telephone Co. on the upper deck of tram 14.

    Sadly, the trolley line fell on hard economic times through the City of Detroit bankruptcy with three trams being placed on the auction block. I did not offer a bid for tram 14 as my interest was to purchase the open summer tram that I was successful to acquire.

    As a City of Detroit architect and community planner for 42 years, I have a file on tram No. 14 starting with communication with Peter White that I will send to you for the archives associated with tram 14.

    I regret the loss of numerous parts taken from No. 14, and hope you will be able to replace them over time. It was very painful for me (as the creator of the Washington Blvd. Citizens Railway) to see the degradation of the system, but perhaps there will be a new beginning.

    Alexander Pollock AIA AICP

  3. Thank You, Alex (we have met once at the Mount Clemens Depot) for your info. Also, thank you for 247. There is much that the museumcan assist. 14 will have a good home. Having inspected 14, it was in the worst condition of the three being auctioned.
    Gary J