The Leamington and Warwick Tramway

The Leamington & Warwick Tramway was opened in late 1881 running from the High Street in Warwick through Milverton and terminating at Leamington Spa railway station [1]. The trams were horse drawn. Seven horse trams were operated, one of which has been preserved at the National Tramway Museum (see below).

Information (Electric Trams)
Number built: 13
Built: 1905, 1921
Builder: Brush Traction, English Electric
Motor: 2 Brush electric motors (460v DC OHLE)
Power: 60 hp (48 kW)

The tramway was taken over by British Electric Traction in 1900 with the tramway rebuilt for electrification in 1905 and to 3' 6" gauge in common with other electric tramways in the Midlands[2]. A power station to feed it built next to the Grand Union Canal in Leamington Spa. The tramway changed hands again in 1912, being bought by Balfour Beatty. The tramway was closed in 1930 due to competition with motor buses, plus it had never caught on with the public. Indeed the tramway had been rather unpopular, generating many complaints from the public to Leamington Town Council. Relations between the company and the council also being rather strained.

For electrification twelve Brush double decker trams were bought, six coming from the Taunton Electric Tramway [3]. An extra tramcar built by English Electric was introduced in 1921 to replace car 7 which had been scrapped after an accident in 1916 [4] where it demolished a pub. One tramcar was also converted into a works car with equipment fitted for scrubbing the track. None of the electric trams escaped scrapping after closure in 1930 though the works car was transferred to the Llandudno & Colwyn Bay Electric Railway where it served in a similar role until 1936.
Surviving horse tram car, at Crich Tramway Museum
Postcard of tram in Warwick (KD Collection)

Postcard of tramway in Leamington Spa (KD Collection)

[1] S.L. Swingle & K. Turner, The Leamington & Warwick Tramways (Oakwood Press Locomotion Papers No. 112, 1978) p. 9
[2] Ibid. p. 25
[3] R.W. Rush, British Electric Tramway Design 1885-1950 (Oxford Publishing, 1976) p. 32
[4] Swingle & Turner, p. 31