Ipswich tram restored to full glory

A FORMER Ipswich electric tram has been restored to its new condition after years of work by a team of dedicated enthusiasts at the Ipswich Transport Museum.

David Kindred

A FORMER Ipswich electric tram has been restored to its new condition after years of work by a team of dedicated enthusiasts at the Ipswich Transport Museum.

After a relatively brief history of around twenty three years the Ipswich electric trams were taken out of service in 1926. Maintenance to the ten miles of tracks and 26 trams and equipment had been neglected during the First World War period due to shortages. Many of the staff left on war service. By the end of the war the tracks were in poor condition causing the trams to sway violently. In 1919 motor buses, from the Easter Counties Road Car company started operating, affecting income. Trolley buses were introduced on the adapted overhead power lines and the trams were taken out of service. The trams were sold, seven went to Scarborough. The lower deck of one was used on Felixstowe Pier and several were sold as garden sheds and workshops. Tram 33 was used a workshop, shed and apple store at Claydon. The Ipswich Transport Preservation Group purchased the remains for �5 in March 1976 and it was put into storage. In 1988 the Ipswich Transport Museum gave the tram a permanent home. Another tram was found at Flowton. Although mostly rotten some parts were useable in the rebuilding project of tram 33. Restoration began in 2003 and is now nearing completion with beautiful brass and paintwork gleaming again. The interior has fine cabinet and crafted wood work as that which greeted passengers on the first run in 1903.

- A new book, “Ipswich Tramways” by Colin Barker, featuring the history of the Ipswich tram service in photographs, has gone on sale recently.


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Tram noise an abomination:-

In April 1921 the editor of the Evening Star, then based in Carr Street, Ipswich, wrote in a leader column. “If the authorities are really anxious to reduce the traffic noises and it would appear to be so since they are constantly worrying motorcyclists concerning their silencers, they might turn their attention to electric trams which are deafening in certain districts.”

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“A correspondent in sending us the above, cut from a cycling paper, writes that he was recently staying in Ipswich, which struck him as being the worst town for street noise that he had ever visited and that the trams were responsible for most of it. We quite agree with our correspondent, but fear that the narrowness of the streets helps to concentrate the noise. If he were an enemy we would invite him to spend a day shut up in a room facing Carr Street. The noise made by the rushing past of trams over broken rails is an abomination.”

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