112 years since it last carried passengers, 107 took to the rails at Middleton with two lovely black Friesan Stallions pulling it.   We started with hand pushed brake test runs at about 9.30 and then a test run with the horses to prove the method of operation.  It was then signed off by the Railway as fit to run and at 11.00am it carried its first load of passengers.  The horses were a little startled at the load and took a while to settle down to pulling together using the correct trace harness without a pole but once they learnt the trick of leaning into the tram to start they worked brilliantly under Duncan Jaggers expert hands.

This was the view from the top deck on the historic first run.

The tram settled down to doing a trip every 15 minutes, not helped by us having mislaid one of the drawhooks, so till after lunch the drawhook had to be moved from end to end.  Middleton's chief engineers then found the said drawhook, neatly hung up on the scaffolding by where we had done the final work.

Mike Waring did a sterling job as conductor, punching the souvenir tickets and collecting the old penny fares in the Kaye's Patent Fare Box.

Geoff Senior from Heaton Park tramway acted as brakesman all day and his son Matt marshalled the upper deck passengers and helped them down the stairs.  Altogether the tram performed some 19 round trips plus test runs and carried nearly 200 passengers, on one trip it had the full load of 34.  The suspension worked as designed and the tram proved very stable with a smooth ride.

Afterwards there were some very strange marks on the trackbed of the worlds oldest railway.

This must have been what the original railway looked like between 1758 when it opened and 1812 when it was converted to steam haulage.  Thanks to our great friends at the Middleton Railway for putting on such a marvellous event.




We seem to have never been away from Middleton over the last few days but it's all worthwhile.  Todayt was the first day of the Festival of Transport and all sorts of things were going on.   Unfortunately the weather decided to be rather damp and we felt that sitting outside in the rain wasn't the best thing for 107 so we spent the day doing various snagging jobs.  On my part all therse seeme3d to be inderneath ion the swdust and oil of the road normally used for servicing steam locos.  Whilst doing these it proved of great interest to the people doing the workshop tours.  Anyway by late afternoon the dirty work was finished and the weather got a bit better so we poushed 107 out into the light.

This was the result,

Well worth waiting for even if it did ahve to go away soon after.  Anyway it will be running in the mornign hauled by two horses so come along for a unique tramway experience of riding a horse tram in Leeds for the first time in 112 years.


Even closer to completion.

We've worked nearly every day since the last update and the tram is now nearly finished.   The rocker pnels are fully lined and the number and garter put on each side, together with the other lettering and vinyls.  Much last minute painting has been done and various bits of mechanical work were completed.   The floors have been painted and for the next two days no one is allowed in the tram. Roger Mills of Hetherington Lamps deliverd the two lamps last week and these have been trial fitted.  They are now being painted and will be fitted on Friday.  The last pieces of the running gear, namely the guard irons and the horse hitch ahve been amde and re being painted.    Today we were finally freed from our close confines and in the afternooin we shunted up the line and then dropped back down into the other side of the workshop.  This remonstrated that the brakes work fine but need to release a little quicker.    All in all a very satisfactory few days work.   There will be no pictures of the completed tram releaaed until the festival of trasnpirt starts.  So if you wnat to see the tram in all it's glory come along to the Middelton Railway on Saturday Sunday or Monday this week.



We're Nearly there

Just nine more days to finish the tram and all sorts of things happened today.   A team of five of us turned up.   Paul Abell spent the day putting brass bearing brackets on the bell rods and cleaning the windows.  These are really looking nice.  Paul Brearley arrived back from holiday and fitted the refurbished door locks.  Mike worked on the upper deck, which is now out of bounds and got two thirds of the floor painted.  Jim did various finishing jobs lower down and then followed me around the dashes touching in and filling as I fitted various bolts and pieces to the dashes.  The ever helpful team from Middleton moved the crane outside the shed so that we could get the tram out a little way and this gave us access to both ends, which was a great help.

We think it's starting to look pretty good and the good light helped.

yesterday we fitted the lamp frames to their apetures then glazed them and last night I collectd the two new lamps from Roger Mills of Hetherington Lamps.

Here are the two beautiful new lamps.

One was then trial fitted.

The red glass is part of the route indicator system which used different colours to show which route the tram was travelling on.

Neil from Middleton then started to help us by doing some of the black lining on the sides and my last job was to fit the first vinyls at B end.  This was the result.

All in all another good days work.


What's this? Two updates in a week.   Well we are working about five days each week to get everything finished.  Yesterday Paul Abell Mike, Jim and I were there.  I made a start on the second long decency board and by 10.00 am the vinyls were all applied, apart from a missing letter which the company will have to send.    We then hung the board and I spent time securing it.  Meanwhile Jim was applying size and masking tape to the staircase stringers. Two hours later he applied the gold leaf lining.  Paul set to work cleaning the glass and by the end of the day had scraped the edge of all the windows.   Mike spent the day tidying up the black lining on the various mouldings around the windows.  By the end of the day the paint was complete down to the rubbing strake.   Meanwhile I put the long handrail along C side which just left the B end staircase to do.   Jim then did a tidy of the top deck before varnishing the seat backs. Today Jim and I went back and Jim took the masking tape off the stringers.  The gilding looked great.   I spent the morning trying to sort out the upper brass handrail on B staircase.   Jim and I got flummoxed by it and then asked Middleton's CME Steve Roberts for help.   He suggested using the gas axe in situ on the tram.  Despite the rather horrendous thought of this it went well and by lunchtime the rail was in place and all the spigots in their proper place.  There is just one kink for me to get out on Tuesday before the rail is rivetted in place.   Away from the tram the final steelwork has been ordered.  Things are coming together.