Leicester Corporation Tramways

Leicester Corporation Tramways took over tram operations (which had been running in horse drawn form since 1874) in the city in 1901. The system was electrified, being one of the last of Britain's major cities to adopt electric tramways [1], and greatly expanded. It opened for electric operation in 1904 and included the rather busy Clock Tower Junction where six tram lines converged, the junction requiring over one hundred tons of track and rather complicated overhead lines. To launch the new service fifty nine new double decker electric trams were bought in early 1904 from the Dick Kerr Electric Railway & Carriage Company of Preston, forty more coming later the same year of which Number 76 (see below) was one of.

Twenty more trams arrived in 1913/14 for a new initiative in "Pay as you enter" boarding [2] (see photo below) with colour coded pre-paid tickets. The final trams arrived in 1920. Not long afterwards the Corporation began operating motor buses and in the early 1930s started to replace trams with buses. However the tram service managed to survive until after the Second World War with the last tram running in 1949.

Information for original trams
Number built: 99
Built: 1904-05
Builder: Electric Railway & Tramway Carriage Company of Preston
Engine: 2 Dick Kerr electric motors (550v DC OHLE)
Power: 50 hp (37 kW)

One of the survivors of the Leicester Corporation fleet is Number 76 . It was originally built as an open topped tram though a cover was added as with the rest of the fleet just before the First World War, inclement weather cutting into revenue. The tram continued to have open platforms and balconies but these were covered as well in 1929.

Number 76 survived in service until 1947. The body was sold to become a cricket pavilion in Yorkshire though in 1960 it was preserved at the Crich Tramway Museum and restored to it's 1920s condition though not with the original truck. One of the original batch of trams, Number 31, also still survives and is currently being preserved after decades serving as an outbuilding on a farm.
Survivor #76 at Crich

Abbey Road Tram Shed, public domain image [1]

Building of Clock Tower Junction, public domain image [1]

The Mayor and local politicians celebrate the start of Pay As You Enter, public domain image [2]

Another view of #76

[1] "The Leicester Corporation Electric Tramways",  Street Railway Journal (Vol XXIII No. 23, June 1904) p. 830
[2] "Prepayment zone system inaugurated in Leicester", Electric Railway Journal (Vol XLI No. 16 April 1913) p. 720