Fenton, 1962: tramlines are dug up
THE workmen in the picture are uprooting a relic of the days when trains ran down the middle of the road.
They were called trams, of course, and they were last in service in the Potteries in 1928.
Workmen remove old tramlines from Victoria Road, Fenton, in 1962 – more than 30 years after they'd last been used by trams.
Yet the lines on which the tramcars ran were still visible many decades later.
The older men in our photograph may even have travelled on the trams that once rattled along this stretch of Victoria Road, Fenton.
Operated by the Potteries Electric Traction Company, electric trams took over from their steam-driven predecessors in May 1899.
A depot at Stoke was converted for the use of the electric cars, and the first section of the new system ran from Hanley to Goldenhill via Cobridge, Burslem and Tunstall.
A fleet of 17 single-deck cars, with 10 trailer cars, were painted in the two-tone scarlet and primrose livery of the PET.
There was initially room for 24 passengers, but this increased to 52 when the trailers were abandoned and larger, bogie-type cars were introduced.
Electricity was generated at a coal-fired power station at PET's headquarters in Woodhouse Street, Stoke, later augmented by a second at May Bank. The company also had sheds at Goldenhill and Fenton.
Operating on 42 miles of track, the PET's tram system was one of the largest in the country.
There were no designated stopping places. Passengers simply flagged down passing trams, and pulled a leather strap, which rang a bell above the driver's head, when they were ready to get off.
Trams were relatively safe, although there were accidents.
In 1923, a runaway tram was destroyed in an accident on Hartshill Bank, the steepest gradient on the system, and 18 passengers were injured.
A year later, a driver was fatally injured in an accident at the Granville level crossings in Cobridge.
A much happier event had occurred in 1908 when a woman gave birth to a child while riding on a tramcar from Fenton to Longton.
In July, 1928, the last tramcar ran on the Hanley to Newcastle route, and in 1933 the PET became the PMT – the Potteries Motor Traction Company.
In recent years, the tram has made an extraordinary come-back, successfully reintroduced in cities like Manchester and Sheffield – though not yet in the Potteries.
Do you have any stories of the tram system in the Potteries? Write to Colette Warbrook at Features Desk, The Sentinel, Forge Lane, Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 5SS, remembering to include your full address and a daytime telephone number. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org