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British Industrial History

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Camborne and Redruth Tramway

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Cornwall's only electric street tramway opened in 1902 for the transport of passengers and minerals.

In 1898 a proposal for a nine mile electric tramway between Camborne, Redruth and Portreath on the coast had been defeated by the Great Western Railway and others.

The tramway was a member of the Urban Electric Supply Company Ltd. Construction was by Dick, Kerr and Co commencing in February 1902 with a substantial completion by the September.

The tramway opened to passengers on 7 November 1902 and to freight in May 1903. It closed to passengers on 29 September 1927 with a final closure in August 1934 when the freight service of tin ore was replaced by an aerial rope-way.

The route length was 3.4 miles (3.7 miles with the mine and crushing plant branch lines) with a narrow gauge track of 3ft 6in as common for the smaller systems in the West Country.

Motorised rolling stock comprised of six open top double deck cars, two single deck cars and two freight locomotives. All were built by G. F. Milnes in 1902 and 1903. The depot was at Carn Brea.

The six double deck cars seated 22 passengers inside and 26 on the top deck, whilst the two single deck cars seated 34 passengers in one central enclosed, two outer semi enclosed and two end open sections by the driver. Four double deck and the two single deck cars arrived in 1902; the final two double deck cars in 1903.

All passenger cars were equipped with Milnes trucks, twin GE 28HP 58-6T motors and BTH B18 controllers.

Original livery of the passenger cars was dark green and cream with gold lining with the words "Camborne & Redruth" on the rocker panels, later to be replaced with a simpler all-over green.

Rigid frames were used for the two open sided freight locomotives built in 1903 with twin GE 25HP K60 motors and BTH B18 controllers. They were both rebuilt in the early 1920s with a more weather resistant enclosure. A total of twelve ore wagons were in use on the tramway.

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