Torquay Tramways Co. Ltd.

1907-1934


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 1930s 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 SUMMARY

Electric Tramcars

Fleet No.

Type

Trucks

Body

Seating

1907

1-18

Double-deck
Open-top
4-wheel

Mountain & Gibson Radial

Brush

49

Nos. 1, 7, 9-10, 16-18 re-trucked with Brill 21E trucks at a later date.
Withdrawn 1934 (1-18

1910

19-33

Double-deck
Open-top
4-wheel

Brill 21E

Brush

49

Withdrawn 1934 (19-33).

1921

34-36

Single-deck
4-wheel

Brush

Brush

24

Nos. 34-36 ex-Taunton Electric Tramways (new 1905).
Withdrawn 1934 (34-36).

1923

37-40

Double-deck
Open-top
Bogie

Brush
Maximum Traction

Brush

76

Withdrawn 1934 (37-40).

1925

41-42

Double-deck
Open-top
Bogie

Brush
Maximum Traction

Brush

72

Withdrawn 1934 (41-42).

Motorbuses

Fleet No.

Reg. No.

Chassis

Chassis No.

Body

Seating

1920

?

T8188

AEC YC

14896

?

B26F

?

T8190

AEC YC

14894

?

B26F

?

T8192

AEC YC

14895?

?

B26F

?

T8194

AEC YC

14899

?

B26F

?

T8196

AEC YC

14893

?

B26F

?

T8198

AEC YC

14892

?

B26F

?

T8200

AEC YC

14897

?

B26F

?

T8202

AEC YC

14898

?

B26F

?

T8204

AEC YC

14901

?

B26F

?

T8206

AEC YC

14900?

?

B26F

To Devon General Omnibus & Touring Co. Ltd. 8/22.

1921

?

TA1004-06

AEC K

20505-07

?

O24/22RO

?

TA1168-70

AEC K

20508-10

?

O24/22RO

To Devon General Omnibus & Touring Co. Ltd. 8/22.
A number of charabancs were also operated full details are currently unknown.


In producing this history reference has been made to the following sources:
The Directory of British Tramways (Keith Turner, PSL 1996). PSV Circle Fleet History (?? - Devon General).
 


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