On this day … 26 December 1903

Preston Corporation Tramways Route Map
The Preston electric tram network

The Preston Guardian advertised the sale, by auction, of William Harding and Co.’s Preston horse trams and other equipment formerly used on the old horse tram system.

The end of the era of horse-drawn trams featured in an earlier post. The new era of electric trams was embarked on by the corporation ‘in fear and trembling’, councillors having decided to operate the enterprise themselves, according to the Preston historian Henry Clemesha in his history of the town. They found they had backed a winner.

Clemesha wrote:

‘… this venture has proved the most successful of all the town’s municipal enterprises. There is an excellent service of well-appointed cars at small fares, and arrangements have been made whereby workpeople may make use of them during certain hours at reduced rates. The system has cost no less a sum than £187,269. 4s. 11d., but its popularity, combined with strict economy in working, has not only enabled the Tramways Committee to pay into the sinking fund the sum of £32,450. 12s. 1d., but to establish a reserve fund of £25,225. 8s. 0d.’

If only Preston Dock had proved as successful.

The route map abovereveals that there were plans to extend the network by building tramways to Blackburn, Lytham and Chorley, which would have anticipated Manchester’s tram system by a century.

Read Clemesha’s History of Preston here

This item was prompted by an entry in Preston historian Henry L. Kirby’s four-volume digest of articles in the Preston Guardian covering the period from 1844 to 1905.

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