Electric Tramcars in the
The very first electric tramcar to
run on a street in the West Midlands, ran on a section
of the line from Wolverhampton to Willenhall towards the
end of 1887. It was a trial run of a car built by the
Midland Railway Carriage & Wagon Company Limited for
Elwell-Parker Limited of Wolverhampton who manufactured
and fitted the motor and all of the electrical
Two years earlier, Elwell-Parker
Limited had designed and constructed all of the
electrical plant, equipment, and motors etc. for
the Blackpool Tramway, the first English electric
tramway of any size. It was the first time that electric
tramcars had run on British streets.
The Wolverhampton trial
took place on the Willenhall line, presumably
because it was close to Elwell-Parker’s factory
in Walsall Street, Wolverhampton. The car was
designed on the Julien accumulator system, which
used lead-acid cells mounted beneath the seats,
and accessible from the outside, so that a bank
of batteries could be removed for charging. The
drive from a single motor was transmitted to the
wheels by gears. The body was much the same as
used on a double deck, four-wheeled horse tram.
The first trial took place
on 15th December, 1887 and appears to have been
a great success. A second trial took place on
4th January, 1888 in the presence of
representatives from various tramways, including
Birmingham. After the trial runs, the tramcar,
which had been ordered by the Australasian
Electric Tramways Company was transported to
Australia, and ran in Sydney, Melbourne and Ballarat.
The Elwell-Parker tramcar.
From the Town And Country Journal, 16th June,
|Elwell-Parker Limited held the UK patent rights to
the Julien and Sprague systems of electric traction.
Although Elwell-Parker, Limited was absorbed into
the newly formed Electric Construction Corporation
Limited on 30th September, 1888, their tram development
work continued. On 7th November, 1888 one of their
electric tramcars was tested in Birmingham. The
following description is from a newspaper cutting,
The Trial of the First Elwell-Parker
7th November, 1888
Important Trial in Birmingham
Yesterday the Directors of the Birmingham Tramways Company
afforded to the Public Works Committee of the Corporation, and
to a number of eminent men who are interested in electrical
engineering, an opportunity of witnessing the trial of an
electric tramcar of the type recently produced by Mr. Thomas
Parker (Elwell-Parker and Company Limited), of Wolverhampton, in
conjunction with Mr. Alfred Dickinson, M.I.C.E., the consulting
mechanical engineer of the company. The car in question is the
same, which has been the subject of one or two previous trials
lately noticed in our columns.
Yesterday it was run from Station Street to the Sparkbrook Depot
and back with a full load of passengers, and in the course of
the journey ascended the long and severe incline of Bradford
Street, a feat the like of which, the engineers allege has never
been performed by any self-contained tramcar.
|In 1890 the company supplied all of the electrical
equipment, including tramcars for the Bristol Road
accumulator tramway in Birmingham.
To be continued.
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