Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,470 pages of information and 233,895 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Birmingham Central Tramways Co

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of Donington Houser, Norfolk Street, Strand, London

1880s. The company was using steam locomotives to haul trams.

1888 Obtained a prototype battery-powered tram from Elwell-Parker, to run on their existing system whilst avoiding the need for overhead lines. After a successful demonstration, Birmingham Council wanted a one month trial to prove reliability but the company required an order to justify investment in the recharging plant[1]. The protoype continued operating for 10 months.

1890 the Company ordered 12 cars using the Julien-method of laying out the storage accumulators in the car. Electric tramcars started operating on the line in July 1890 [2].

1893 R. H. Dickenson was to have presented a paper on "Steam Traction on Tramways for the last Ten years and its results" at a meeting of the Tramways Institute (but did not have time to prepare it)[3]

1896 The City of Birmingham Tramways Co was registered to take over the properties of the Birmingham Central Tramways Co and to substitute an improved system of traction.

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