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I've been rather interested in trams for a long time, but more a sort of admire from a distance kind of interest. It's only now (thanks to my wonderful partner) that I'm beginning to realise that's an interest worth perusing. However, having begun to do a little research myself I'm realising quite how much there is to learn! I've found myself becoming somewhat overwhelmed with it all, and so I was wondering if perhaps somebody here could point me in the right direction as to where to start from when it comes to learning about trams.

 

(I'm also new to this site so apologies if I get confused and use it wrong!) 

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Assuming that you are talking about UK systems then regarding books covering history, there are are very many publications some going back to the nineteenth century and still being added to although many of these recycle material which was published (and sometimes better written) in earlier times.  These two fired my imagination when I was much younger but you can find much from the various links on lrta.org and the various museums. 

 

image.png.7fd0c7941cc92fc36af06421414f2eab.pngimage.png.d88af0e6a6644b2e5e00ca80d1de7290.png

 

The various regional and national film archives also bear rich fruit, e.g. BFI, British Pathé, etc and of course there are numerous museums and relics.  A promising project has recently been started on RMWeb.

If you are modelling, then 7mm scale is usually considered to be the smallest sensible scale for serious models, although there have been rare exceptions.

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27 minutes ago, Adam88 said:

Assuming that you are talking about UK systems then regarding books covering history, there are are very many publications some going back to the nineteenth century and still being added to although many of these recycle material which was published (and sometimes better written) in earlier times.  These two fired my imagination when I was much younger but you can find much from the various links on lrta.org and the various museums. 

 

image.png.7fd0c7941cc92fc36af06421414f2eab.pngimage.png.d88af0e6a6644b2e5e00ca80d1de7290.png

 

The various regional and national film archives also bear rich fruit, e.g. BFI, British Pathé, etc and of course there are numerous museums and relics.  A promising project has recently been started on RMWeb.

If you are modelling, then 7mm scale is usually considered to be the smallest sensible scale for serious models, although there have been rare exceptions.

Yes, I am predominantly talking about UK systems and all of that looks rather interesting. Thank you very much! 

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I suggest a visit to your local library. It will no doubt have a selection of books in the transport section, which may include useful research on UK systems. Also have a look in the local history section, as there are often street scenes containing trams and street furniture, (overhead wires, support poles etc.) A favourite type of shot in Edwardian days showing people posed in front of a tramcar reveal much detail useful to historians and modellers alike.

Good luck with your research and I can also recommend joining one of the tram societies, eg, The Tramway and Light Railway Society, Tramway Museum Society or the Light Rail Transit Association. Any or all are knowledgeable in all things, Tram.

 

Tod

( Solent T&LRS member)

 

 

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"The Golden Age of Tramways" by Charles Klapper is an old, but very good, primer in the subject, well written, and it sets out a cogent story, rather than diving in at the deep end of overwhelming detail.

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1 hour ago, SweenyTod1 said:

I suggest a visit to your local library. It will no doubt have a selection of books in the transport section, which may include useful research on UK systems. Also have a look in the local history section, as there are often street scenes containing trams and street furniture, (overhead wires, support poles etc.) A favourite type of shot in Edwardian days showing people posed in front of a tramcar reveal much detail useful to historians and modellers alike.

Good luck with your research and I can also recommend joining one of the tram societies, eg, The Tramway and Light Railway Society, Tramway Museum Society or the Light Rail Transit Association. Any or all are knowledgeable in all things, Tram.

 

Tod

( Solent T&LRS member)

 

 

That's an amazing idea, unfortunately all the libraries are still closed where I am, though I expect they will open soon, and my university does provide an online library so perhaps I will take a look there. Thanks for the advice, much appreciated! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

if you don't know of it, there's a Tramway Museum at Crich in Derbyshire,

 

I was lucky enough to travel on the last tram at Colwyn , North Wales, since it was at midnight, , no photo to show! 

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On 12/04/2021 at 10:47, DonB said:

if you don't know of it, there's a Tramway Museum at Crich in Derbyshire,

 

I was lucky enough to travel on the last tram at Colwyn , North Wales, since it was at midnight, , no photo to show! 

I do know actually! My partner suggested we go there once lockdown restrictions ease and we have some free time, I must say I'm rather looking forward to it. 

 

Lucky you! Shame about the lack of photo but that sounds good, shame it was the last one.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had the Lesney Matchbox London E Class tram as a kid, 3 of them in fact. I'd seen the model Corgi trams, they're to 1/64th but have standard OO/H0 gauge wheel spacing.

 

What got my interest was the Original Omnibus (OOC) Felthams which I came across in the local model shop and thought they would look good with my London Transport model railway. The OOC models are in 1:76/4mm scale with standard OO wheel spacing and are made by Corgi but are sold under the Original Omnibus brand. They are static models but can be motorised. 

 

As I'm interested in the London systems I found several books were around, though many/all of them may well now be out of print but can be found on the internet at places like AbeBooks (Amazon in drag). In case you're interested, I've listed them below:

 

The Metropolitan Electric Tramways Vol 1 by C.S. Smeeton ISBN 0 900433 94 9

The Metropolitan Electric Tramways Vol 2 by C.S. Smeeton ISBN 0 948106 00 X

both published by the LRTA.

 

North London Trams by Robert J. Harley ISBN 978 1 85414 314 3

LCC Electric Tramways by Robert J. Harley ISBN 185414 256 9

London Tramway Twilight 1949-1952 by Robert J. Harley ISBN 185414 234 8 

London Tramways by John Reed ISBN 185414 179 1

all 4 are published by Capital Transport.

 

Tramway Memories London by Paul Collins ISBN 0 7110 3037 5 or ISBN 978 0 7110 3037 4

London's Trams - A View from the Past by Paul Collins ISBN 0 7110 2741 2

Lost Voices of the London Trams by Michael H.C. Baker ISBN 978 0 7110 3685 7

all 3 are published by Ian Allan.

 

The Middleton Press also have a number of illustrated books on individual tramway systems.

 

I' m sure that there are plenty of other books on other systems around.

If you're thinking of modelling trams, I found David Voice's How to go Tram & Tramway Modelling ISBN 1874422 53 2 a useful starting point.

 

There used to be an annual "Festival of Model Tramways", but  sadly, that seems to be no more, the last one being held in 2018.

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On 29/03/2021 at 15:59, 483006Terry said:

I've been rather interested in trams for a long time, but more a sort of admire from a distance kind of interest. It's only now (thanks to my wonderful partner) that I'm beginning to realise that's an interest worth perusing.

Are you intending to make a model tramway or are you just interested in the full size ones? A visit to Crich would be useful in both cases, it is currently open from Saturday through to Thursday each week, check their website. There are plenty of knowledgeable people there who can help you out.

I was intending to make a model tramway in the early 1990's, so went there to get ideas and information, trouble was I ended up being a volunteer, and nearly thirty years later the model tramway is still not started, too much time spent with the real ones!

 

Nigel L

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A selection of reading matter (biased towards the Midlands!)

 

Silver Link (SLP) have published a set of 3 large paperbacks on the trams of Birmingham:

"A Nostalgic look at Birmingham Trams 1933-53" by David Harvey, the 3 volumes cover three areas of Brum and is full of photos as well as descriptive texts.

There is some coverage of routes abandoned before 1933

 

Also by David Harvey are these 2 volumes about Birmingham:

"From the City to the Maypole" where there is some tram coverage as the trams didn't get as far as the Maypole! (Amberley Publishing)

"Birmingham before the Electric Tram" about the horse/cable/battery/steam trams that preceded the overhead electric ones. (Tempus Publishing)*

 

Then there is the "Directory of British Tramways" by Keith Turner (3 volumes: 1; Southern England, 2; Central England plus Wales & Ireland and 3; Northern England plus Scotland & IOM (pub The History Press)*

 

*Part of the same company

 

Some/most are probably out of print

 

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It is a massive topic, from horse drawn 4 wheelers, to the 20 years that’s steam commanded the urban street, to the polished Edwardian electric open toppers, then with balconies, then upper deck roofs, enclosed balconies ( upstairs) to enclosed vestibule (lower deck - the driver was thought of last) to air brakes, forced air ventilation, regenerative braking, electric doors, pantographs and a bunch of crazy ideas, schemes realised and dreamt.  Find out what rocks your boat if you have something in mind, something you like, tell us, a photo, something written let us know and I am sure we can name it, bag it and find you more of the same.

 

was your interest current / historically or do you have a desire to make model?  It doesn’t matter which I just want to tailor my responses.

 

andy

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