Birmingham Corporation Tramways

Birmingham Corporation Tramways

Infobox rail
railroad_name=Birmingham Corporation Tramways
length=80½ miles (129.6 km)

Birmingham Corporation Tramways operated a network of tramways in Birmingham from 1904 until 1953. It was the largest narrow-gauge tramway network in the UK, built to a gauge of 3 ft 6 inches. It was the fourth largest tramway network in the UK after London, Glasgow and Manchester.

There were a total of 843 trams (with a maximum of 825 in service at any one time), 20 depots, 45 main routes and a total route length of 80½ miles (129.6 km).

Birmingham Corporation built all the tramways and leased the track to various companies.

Birmingham was a pioneer in the development of reserved trackways which served the suburban areas as the city grew in the 1920s and 1930s.


* 4 January 1904 - commence tramway at Aston Road North
* 1 January 1907 - took over City of Birmingham Tramways Company Ltd, a British Electric Traction controlled company - majority of the company's routes having been owned by Birmingham Corporation from their inception
* 1 January 1912 - took over lines owned by Erdington Urban District Council, but operated by Birmingham Corporation Tramways, which subsequently passed into the hands of Birmingham Corporation following expansion of the city's boundaries in 1912
* 1 January 1912 - took over City of Birmingham Tramways Company Ltd - remainder of the company's routes, ownership of which had passed to Birmingham Corporation from local councils [Aston Manor, Handsworth, Kings Norton and Northfield] , following expansion of the city boundaries in 1912
* 1 April 1924 - took over operation of West Bromwich Corporation-owned lines previously leased to the Birmingham and Midland Tramways Joint Committee South Staffordshire Lessee Co, a British Electric Traction subsidiary
* 1 April 1928 - took over Birmingham and Midland Tramways Joint Committee Birmingham and District Power and Traction Co Ltd - main line to Dudley
* 18 October 1927 - name changed to Birmingham Corporation Tramway and Omnibus Department.
* 9 November 1937 - name changed to Birmingham City Transport.



* "Great British Tramway Networks", Wingate H. Bett and John C. Gillham, Light Railway Transport League 1st edition 1940 and 2nd edition 1944
* "The ABC of Birmingham City transport. Parts 1 & 2", W. A Camwell, Ian Allan 1950
* "City of Birmingham Transport Department. 1904-1954: Brochure to commemorate the undertaking's jubilee", Birmingham Transport Committee 1954
* "The demise of Birmingham's Trams", Gordon P. Laker - copy in Birmingham Central Library
* "Birmingham Trams and Tramways", Colin Andrew Purdue - copy in Birmingham Central Library
* "Memories of Birmingham's steam trams", C Gilbert, Light Railway Transport League 1966
* "Short review of Birmingham Corporation tramways", Peter Laurence Hardy, H.J. Publications1971 ISBN 0-9502035-0-5
* "Birmingham (British tramways in pictures, 3)", R.J.S. Wiseman, Huddersfield, Advertiser Press, 1972, ISBN 0-900028-11-4
* "Birmingham Transport", Alec G Jenson, Birmingham Transport Historical Group 1978 ISBN 0-905103-00-9
* "Birmingham City Transport", Malcolm, etc. Keeley, Transport Pub. Co 1978 ISBN 0-903839-18-0
* "Birmingham Corporation Trams and Trolleybuses", Archie Mayou, Senior Publications 1982 ISBN 0-903839-83-0
* "Birmingham Corporation Tramway Rolling Stock. The story of Birmingham tramcar design, development and maintenance", P.W. Lawson, Birmingham Transport Historical Group 1983
* Last Tram Down the Village and Other Memories of Yesterday's Birmingham, Ray Tennant and Jim Lyndon, BiginInk Ltd 1984 ISBN 0-948025-01-8
* "Memories of Birmingham's transport", A.N.H Glover, 1987 ISBN 0-905103-06-8
* "Birmingham in the Electric Tramway Era", D.F. Potter, Birmingham Transport Historical Group 1988 ISBN 0-905103-10-6
* "Memories of Birmingham Transport", D.R. Harvey Birmingham Transport Historical Group 1988 ISBN 0-905103-09-2
* "Birmingham Trams on Old Picture Postcards", John Marks, Reflections of a Bygone Age 1992 ISBN 0-946245-53-3
* "A Nostalgic Look at Birmingham Trams, 1933-53: The Northern Routes Vol 1", Norman Painting, Silver Link Publishing Ltd 1993 ISBN 1-85794-014-8
* "A Nostalgic Look at Birmingham Trams, 1933-53: The Southern Routes - Bristol Road Routes, Cotteridge and the Moseley Road Routes, Plus Nechells and Bolton Road Vol 2", Tony Britton, Silver Link Publishing Ltd 1994 ISBN 1-85794-021-0
* "A Nostalgic Look at Birmingham Trams, 1933-53: The Eastern and Western Routes - Including the Stechford Routes, the West Bromwich, Wednesbury and Dudley Routes and the Smethwick, Oldbury and Dudley Routes v. 3", David Harvey, Silver Link Publishing Ltd 1995 ISBN 1-85794-037-7
* "Birmingham Trams", Silver Link Publishing Ltd 1995 ISBN 1-85794-992-7
* "Birmingham Transport (Archive Photographs: Images of England)", Keith Turner, Tempus Publishing Ltd 1998 ISBN 0-7524-1554-9
* "The Tramways of the West Midlands", LRTA handbook 1999 ISBN 0-948106-23-9
* "Birmingham Corporation Transport, 1904-39", Paul Collins, Ian Allan Ltd 1999ISBN 0-7110-2627-0
* "Birmingham Corporation Transport, 1939-69", Paul Collins, Ian Allan Ltd 1999ISBN 0-7110-2656-4
* "Birmingham Transport (Sutton's Photographic History of Transport)", Mike Hitches, Sutton Publishing 1999 ISBN 0-7509-1670-2
* "Seeing Birmingham by Tram", Eric Armstrong, Tempus Publishing Ltd 2003 ISBN 0-7524-2787-3

Video and DVD

* Birmingham trams and trolleybuses, Birmingham Transport Historical Group 1992, VHS, 90min, also DVD published by Online Video
* Another look at Birmingham's trams and buses, John Stanford, 1999 VHS

urviving artifacts and infrastructure


* Vehicle 107 (1906) under restoration at Aston Manor Road Transport Museum
* Vehicle 395 (1911) rescued by City of Birmingham Museums and Galleries. Restored in 1953 and presented to Birmingham Science Museum. Now preserved in Birmingham Thinktank


*Moseley Road Depot - Grade II listed
*Selly Oak Depot, Harborne Lane - now Storage Units
*Witton Depot - now Aston Manor Road Transport Museum


* Edmund Street, Birmingham City Centre
* Rednal Terminus

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