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Fiftieth anniversary of the end of trams in Sheffield


Fiftieth anniversary of the end of trams in Sheffield

On the 8th October 1960 the electricity was turned off for the last time and the tramcars sent for scrap in Sheffield. BBC Look North's Tom Ingall has been looking at the 50th anniversary.

By Tom Ingall
BBC Look North Repoter

It was by all account a filthy wet night. Yet the footage recorded by the BBC Television Children's newsreel is living witness to the thousands who turned out to wave Sheffield's trams goodbye.

The late Rolling Stones guitarist, Brian Jones, as a young man was among those who made the pilgrimage to the city to see the end of an era.

Since 1873 they had given faithful service, condemned to under investment and making do by two world wars.

As Howard Turner, a transport enthusiast who was there said: "The atmosphere of the city changed forever that night".

Fortunately, as the last English city to give up its streetcars of desire, preservation beckoned for a number of Sheffield's finest trams at the recently established national tramway museum, including the last tramcar - number 510.

A whole range of artefacts from souvenir tickets to commemorative dinner invitations also remain to tell the story of the farewell day.

Ironically the last city to say goodbye was among the first to welcome trams back.

The 29 kilometre Supertram network was opened in 1994 and the last part was completed in 1995, 15 years ago this month.

Initially, the people of Sheffield were reluctant to have them back and the system struggled with poor riding numbers against a chorus of negative headlines.

But now it carries 15 million passengers a year and there are hopes of expansion. It could also take part in an innovative Tram Train project which would see new vehicles running out onto the railway network.

The last 50 years have been quite a journey. Few who stood in the rain on the 8th of October 1960 would believe it.

Sheffield's last tram on 8th October 1960
Sheffield's last tram on 8th October 1960


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