Torquay Tramways Co. Ltd.
Authorised by the Torquay Tramways Act of 1904, this 3ft 6ins gauge tramway was constructed by the Torquay Tramway Construction Co. Ltd (a subsidiary of the National Electric Construction Co. Ltd.) and operated by the Torquay Tramways Co. Ltd.
The first section of track opened on the 4th April 1907, and consisted of three mainly single-track routes connecting Torre Station, St. Marychurch and Beacon Quay in a triangular system almost 4 miles in length and using the Dolter Surface Contact system.
The initial rolling stock consisted of Nos. 1-18, Brush-built open-top, double-deckers liveried in maroon and cream (also described as brown and yellow).
On the 11th November 1907 a fourth section between St. Marychurch and Beacon Quay via Babbacombe opened.
An double-track extension from Beacon Quay along the seafront to Torquay Station was opened on 16th April 1908. The Company had plans to extend the line further along the coast to Paignton, however, due to the persistent failure of the Dolter system it was proposed to change to the more conventional overhead system. This provoked a dispute with Torquay Council who maintained that the overhead wires and infrastructure would be unsightly and detract from the scenic beauty of the resort. The dispute went to arbitration, which found in favour of the Company, and the conversion went ahead. The line to Paignton opened on the 17th July 1911, necessitating an increase in the tramcar fleet for which a further 15 (Nos. 19-33), Brush-built, open-top, double-deckers were delivered.
In 1920, following increased competition from motorbus operators (including the Devon General Omnibus and Touring Co. Ltd.) the Tramways Company, purchased a number of motorbuses, which operated on services over a wide area of South Devon. They were housed in the main tram depot at Westhill Avenue (there was also a smaller depot at Preston, which housed the cars for the Paignton route – the later bogie cars were always confined to this depot and route). In June 1922 the Company acquired the controlling interest in the Devon General Company and in August 1922 the motorbuses were transferred to the new acquisition.
By the early 1930’s the tramway was becoming increasingly unremunerative and faced severe competition from the motorbus. On 14th January 1934 the Paignton route was replaced by motorbuses of the Devon General Company, followed on 31st January by the remainder of the system, bringing tramway operation in the resort to a close.
FLEET SUMMARYElectric Tramcars
Nos. 1, 7, 9-10, 16-18 re-trucked with Brill 21E trucks at
a later date.
Withdrawn 1934 (19-33).
Nos. 34-36 ex-Taunton Electric Tramways (new 1905).
Withdrawn 1934 (37-40).
Withdrawn 1934 (41-42).
To Devon General Omnibus & Touring Co. Ltd. 8/22.
To Devon General Omnibus &
Touring Co. Ltd. 8/22.
In producing this history
reference has been made to the following sources:
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