Southend Tramways
The order from the Light Railway Commissioners for the construction of the tramway system was obtained in 1898, and the first car ran on 4th June 1901. At first the undertaking showed a financial loss, but during 1908 1910 a great improvement had taken place, and it was now a paying concern. In the financial year ending 31st March 1910, 5,839,243 passengers had been carried. The routes were the same as laid down originally (High Street being the terminus), with the exception of the extensions that were opened in 1908 and 1909 from the Kursaal to the Half-way House, Southchurch Beach. Traction was supplied by a over- head trolley system and the current was generated at the Corporation Electricity Works, London Road, which also supplied electricity to the towns lights. The capital expenditure in respect of both departments amounted to nearly £250,000 by 1910. The cars were double-decked; the open platform on top being most popular. The tram system would later be extended with a service to Thorpe Bay and Leigh. The last tram ran on the 8th April 1942.
Building of the tramway in the High Street, Southend Image from the Terry Herbert Collection
Tram on it’s journey along Southchurch Road
The tram terminus in the High Street, Southend
Colourised Postcard of a tram in the Boulevard, Thorpe Bay

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