Dudley, Stourbridge & District Electric Traction Co. Ltd.
(Dudley & Stourbridge Steam Tramways Co. Ltd.)

1884-1930


Authorised under the Dudley, Stourbridge and Kingswinford Tramways Order of 1881, this 3ft 6ins steam tramway opened on the 21st May 1884 and was operated by the Dudley and Stourbridge Steam Tramways Company Ltd (who had originally been registered under the name Dudley, Stourbridge and Kingswinford Tramways Co. Ltd, on 22nd December 1880). The tramway connected the London & North Western Railway’s Dudley Station with Stourbridge, via Brierley Hill and Amblecote, and was mainly single-track. Approval for a proposed branch to Kingswinford was not given, which probably accounts for the change of name before operations began.

The initial fleet consisted of 8 (Nos. 1-8) Kitson tram locos and 8 (Nos. 1-8) Starbuck-built double-deck trailer cars liveried in crimson and cream, with four more Kitson locos (Nos. 9-12) added between 1885 and 1896.

On the 2nd April 1898, the BET purchased a controlling interest in the company, commenced electrification of the system and changed the Company’s name to the Dudley, Stourbridge and District Electric Traction Co. Ltd. By July 1899 the system was complete and ready for electric workings. On the 26th July the first electric cars – Brush-built single-deckers (Nos. 1-18) in BET mustard and ivory livery (but also reported as liveried in lake and cream) – ran along the line.

It is not known precisely when the last steam tram ran, but in June 1899 an application was made to the Board of Trade for permission to use steam for another month and it seems likely that the steam trams ran until the official opening of the electric system on 26th July 1899.

On the 19th October 1900 a 3-mile branch from Queen’s Cross in Dudley to Five Ways at the end of Cradley Heath High Street, via Blowers’ Green Road, Cinder Bank, Netherton High Street, Market Place, Halesowen Road and Old Hill, opened, followed shortly afterwards on the 7th December 1900 by the Kingswinford branch.

More extensions were opened in 1902 - Stourbridge to Lye and The Hayes (1st November); Stourbridge to Wollaston Junction (13th December) – and 1904 (Old Hill to Blackheath (19th December).

In 1902 the Company purchased outright the Kinver Light Railway, which it had worked since its opening on the 5th April 1901. It connected with the Company’s line at the Fish Inn in Amblecote and ran for just over 4 miles to the picturesque village of Kinver.

In April 1924, the Company took over operation of the South Staffordshire Tramways Company’s route from Wednesbury to Dudley, following the expiry of that Company’s lease in West Bromwich, along with the depot at Tividale. The loss of this lease prompted the collapse of much of the BET’s tram network in the Black Country and, with increasing competition from bus operators, service cutbacks were inevitable.

The Dudley to Kingswinford service was withdrawn on the 11th April 1926, followed over the next few years by the routes from Stourbridge to Kingswinford (1926), Stourbridge to Wollaston (1926), Stourbridge to Lye (1927), Old Hill to Blackheath (1927), Dudley to Cradley Heath (1929) and finally on the 1st March 1930 the tramway ceased to operate altogether with the closure of the Dudley to Stourbridge, and Dudley to Wednesbury routes.

FLEET SUMMARY

Steam Locos

Year

Fleet No.

Builder


1884

1-8

Kitson

1885

9

Kitson

1891

10

Kitson

1895

11

Kitson

1896

12

Kitson

Withdrawn by 1900 (3-4, 6-7), 1900 (1, 2, 5, 8-12; transferred to the Birmingham & Midland Tramways Co. Ltd; re-numbered 34, 1, 31, 33, 32, 10, 30, 29 respectively).

Trailer Cars

Year

Fleet No.

Type

Builder

Seating


1884

1-8

Double-deck
Canopy-top
bogie

Starbuck

32/30

Withdrawn 1900 (1-8; five of these trailer cars (fleet numbers unknown) transferred to the Birmingham & Midland Tramways Co. Ltd; re-numbered 28-32).

Electric Cars

Year

Fleet No.

Type

Trucks

Builder

Seating


1899

1-18

Single-deck
Combination
4-wheel

Peckham

Brush

28
(6+16+6)

1900

19-22

Single-deck
4-wheel

Lord Baltimore

ERTCW

26

1901

23-38

Double-deck
Open-top
4-wheel

Brill 21E

ERTCW

26/22

1901

39-42

Double-deck
Open-top
bogie

Brush

Brush

34/30

1901

43-45

Single-deck
4-wheel

Lord Baltimore

ERTCW

26

1901

46-48

Double-deck
Open-top
bogie

Brill 22E

ERTCW

??/??

1902

49-51

Single-deck
Combination
Toastrack
bogie

Brush

Brush

56
(12+32+12)

1902

52-59

Single-deck
Combination
bogie

Brush D

Brush

52
(10+32+10)

1904

39-42

Double-deck
Open-top
4-wheel

Brill 21E

ERTCW

22/22

1910

61-62

Single-deck
Combination
4-wheel

Brush L&C Radial

City of Birmingham Tramways

34
(6+22+6)

1910

63-68

Single-deck
Roofed
Toastrack
4-wheel

Brush L&C Radial

City of Birmingham Tramways

40

1912 46-47 Single-deck
bogie
Brush Brush ?38?

1913

60

Double-deck
Open-top
4-wheel

Birmingham & Midland JTC

Birmingham & Midland JTC

26/22

1913

69

Double-deck
Open-top
4-wheel

Birmingham & Midland JTC

Birmingham & Midland JTC

26/22

1915

1

Single-deck
Combination
4-wheel

Birmingham & Midland JTC

Birmingham & Midland JTC

32
(16+16)

1915

2

Single-deck
Combination
4-wheel

Birmingham & Midland JTC

Birmingham & Midland JTC

32
(16+16)

1915

7

Single-deck
Combination
4-wheel

Birmingham & Midland JTC

Birmingham & Midland JTC

32
(16+16)

1915

10

Single-deck
Combination
4-wheel

Birmingham & Midland JTC

Birmingham & Midland JTC

32
(16+16)

1916

6

Single-deck
Semi-open
Combination
bogie

Brush D

Birmingham & Midland JTC

56
(16+24+16)

1916

21

Single-deck
Semi-open
Combination
bogie

Brush D

Birmingham & Midland JTC

56
(16+24+16)

1916

32

Single-deck
Semi-open
Combination
bogie

Brush D

Birmingham & Midland JTC

56
(16+24+16)

1916

70

Single-deck
Semi-open
Combination
bogie

Brush D

Birmingham & Midland JTC

56
(16+24+16)

Nos. 23-38; some fitted with Bellamy top-covers and later had open-canopies; five of these cars (numbers unknown) were transferred to the South Staffordshire Tramways Co. Ltd c.1911 (re-numbered 3, 32, 33, 35, 38).
Nos. 39-42 (of 1901) had reversed staircases.
Nos. 39-42 (of 1904) ex-Wolverhampton & District (nos. 1-4, new 1901); each had a short roof and direct staircase.
Nos. 43-45 were loaned to the Kinver Light Railway April 1901 (where they became Nos. 1-3) in exchange for three ERTCW double-deckers – see below; they were later returned (dates unknown) and allocated their former fleet numbers.
Nos. 46-48 on loan from Kinver Light Railway; they were converted to 38-seat single-deck cars and later returned (dates unknown) for use on the Kinver Light Railway (after it was purchased outright by the Dudley, Stourbridge & District company) retaining their Company fleet numbers. 
Nos. 49-51 ex-Kinver Light Railway c.1902 (Nos. 1-3, new 1901).
Nos. 46-47 (of 1912) ex-South Staffordshire Tramways Co. Ltd. (from the 10-27 batch (numbers unknown) cut down to single-deck from original double-deck, new 1902).
Nos. 61-62 ex-Birmingham & Midland Tramways Co. Ltd. (Nos. 51-52, new 1904).
Nos. 63-68 ex-City of Birmingham Tramways Co. Ltd. (Nos. 257-262, new 1900 as cable cars). 
Withdrawn c.1904 (39-42 (of 1901); transferred to Wolverhampton & District (re-numbered 1-4)), 1908 (two of Nos. 39-40, 42 (of 1904); returned to Wolverhampton District as their Nos. 31-32), c. 1911 (46-47 of 1901), 1916 (63-68), c.1918 (48), c.1925 (46-47 (of 1912)), 1925 (41; to Wolverhampton District Electric Traction Co. Ltd; 61-62; to Birmingham District Power & Traction Co. Ltd. retaining same numbers), remainder unknown. 


In preparing this history reference has been made to the following sources;
The Directory of British Tramways (Keith Turner, PSL 1996); PSV Circle Fleet History 2PD2 (1979).
 


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