Author Topic: Birmingham Corporation Tramways  (Read 25239 times)

motorman3494

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Birmingham Corporation Tramways
« on: January 07, 2011, 01:09:10 AM »
I worked from Miller St. depot as conductor and driver (motorman)from 1951 -1953. I worked mainly on the 78 Shortheath line but I also worked the 79 Pype Hayes Park and 2 Erdington.  I also trained as a bus driver but did not work on a service bus as I left Birmingham before the trams were taken off.  I have many memories of that time-most of them happy though times were tough.How I would love to run a tram to Aston Cross --Salford Bridge and on to "The Navigation" and on to Pype Hayes!

Phil

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Re: Birmingham Corporation Tramways
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2011, 10:08:33 AM »
Hi Motorman
 
Welcome to the forum, I think we will have to wait quite some time before we see trams running across Salford Bridge again, myself I think it would be a good thing.
 
So until then a couple of photos that might refresh your memory of those days that you wish would return.
 
A No 79 Tram at the Pype Hayes Terminus opposite the Bagot Arms public house, and another of a 79 Tram negotiating Salford Bridge.
 
Phil
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blackrose

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Re: Birmingham Corporation Tramways
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2011, 09:37:40 PM »
Here is a picture of the tram on the Warwick Road in Acocks Green in 1935, going up the hill away from the Green towards town.  A new tram terminus was built circa  1930 on what is now the island in the middle of the village, but within a few years the trams were gone - once they invented the pneumatic tyre buses became much more flexible and economically viable and the trams went into decline.

blackrose

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Re: Birmingham Corporation Tramways
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2011, 09:39:34 PM »
Sorry meant to explain where this was .... the house on the left is now a block of flats, the building on the right is the "Churchill Citizens Club" which is still there and doesn't appear to have changed at all, althouh it has ben shut for many years.

motorman3494

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Re: Birmingham Corporation Tramways
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2011, 10:24:21 PM »
HI Phil,
Thanks for the photos. They bring back many memories especially Salford Bridge. That was a tricky junction to negotiate There were two sets of powered points there and you had to get them right.The first set turned for Pype Hayes and the second turned for Erdington or Short Heath.If you crossed on to he wrong track it was very difficult to get back. There was also a very tricky set at the Dunlop factory spur because if you turned on to the spur it swung you over the mainline down track .The points were worked by approaching them either with power on or power off ,depending on which way you wanted to turn. The Dunlop points closed for power on so if you forgot to switch off you would turn across the down line possibly into the way of a city bound tram.  The Dunlop spur was used at rush hour and we all hated going there cos the workers would rush the door and fill the tram to bursting point in seconds
  Nuff for now

Phil

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Re: Birmingham Corporation Tramway's
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2011, 10:42:52 PM »
Hi Motorman
 
Glad you liked the photos, I have spoken and knew many bus drivers over the years, but I think you are about the only tram driver I can remember speaking to. It's very interesting to hear your reminisces and I'm sure they are of interest to other members. Did you change over to buses after 1953 or did you go on to something else?
 
Not wishing to be indelicate, but if your were driving trams prior to 1953 then you must have a few years under your motorman's cap now. So you must have many tales about this ever changing city of Birmingham that would be of great interest to us all. I do hope that you will share some of them with us.
 
Phil
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motorman3494

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Re: Birmingham Corporation Tramways
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2011, 01:00:46 AM »
Hi Phil,
In preperation for the change over all of us were given training as bus drivers  I qualified as a driver and drove buses in service from time to time to keep in practice but for family reasons I returned home to Ireland just before the end of the trams and never returned to work in England' I visit London regularly, I have a sister there and I have grandchildern in Newcastle On Tyne area . With hindsight tram driving was a tough job. The open platform was very cold in winter and the handbrake needed strength There were no windscreem wipers so in heavy rain or snow we opened the window and froze but I loved it and would go back to it any time----No chance of that in my 80th year!!!
Dublin of course has a modern "tramway" system,but they are not proper trams.Imagine!-the driver SITS in an enclosed cab!and never has to get out and use the point bar.

Phil

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Re: Birmingham Corporation Tramways
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2011, 11:05:42 AM »
Motorman
 
I don't suppose the training for buses (PSV) was anything like it is today. I know that when I took my HGV I found it very hard. I could have gotten it through the grandfather rule as I had a full driving licence when it came into force but I never bothered at the time.
 
It seems to get harder every year, we put several drivers through HGV training and I have to be honest I don't think I would stand an earthly of passing the test today. Mind you the same could be said of the ordinary driving test.
 
Phil
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omninan

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Re: Birmingham Corporation Tramways
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2011, 01:20:02 PM »
i too recall the trams going down streetly road from salford bridge . as  a child i was on the " last tram " in brum . they put it in the old science museum dnt know if its in the think tank museum .
there was a cafe by the terminus at streetly road called macs my mom used to run it . many tram drivers , milk men coal men and the like used it .
the tram in dublin is like bhams metro usefull but not nostalgic .

trapio

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Re: Birmingham Corporation Tramways
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2011, 04:11:33 PM »
Hello motorman,

As a lad, I much preferred the tram to the bus - it was bigger and there was so 'much
more to it'.   Flipping the seats at the terminus was not 'officially' allowed - but like others, I did it anyway. We had the choice on Moseley Rd - I lived in Balsall Heath.

Faviurite tram rides were bank holidays with granddad to the Lickeys...first into town and join the long, but quick queue, then the 72 Rednal...as they were full and few got off on the way, the driver could give it some welly, and the swaying rattle was a beautiful dancing tattoo..all the way there!

As there were so many trams used on 72 on bank holidays, especially August, were you ever put on it for the day?

trapio
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roy one

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Re: Birmingham Corporation Tramways
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2011, 06:56:44 PM »
hi trapio
             the lickeys trip in a tram   the best two part's of the trip was when you come out of sallyoak down to bournbrook the tram got a hop on then and from northfeild to longbridg police station it seems has if the tram was going to come off its tracks it would be rocking from side to side  it may not have been fast but to us kids it was  i would love to see a tram type thing back in use i wonder if any of the tracks are still there i seen some at the lickys a few years back
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