Services for the Sunderland District Electric Tramways Co Ltd (SDET) came into operation on Saturday June 10th 1905, as an unconnected extension (business-wise and track-wise) to Sunderland Corporation’s pre-existing tram network in Sunderland and surrounds, which had originated in 1879 as a horse drawn tramway.
In early 1904, property had been purchased around Houghton for the extension of the tramway. Much of the land was Glebe Land – belonging to the Church – and was purchased from Houghton Rector, Canon Frederick Brown, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, allowing for the widening of roads for the addition of the tram tracks and cabling. Three parcels of land with a total area of 307 square yards were sold for £76 15 shillings on June 17th 1904, and 30 square yards from the Rectory Glebe Farm were sold for £15 on November 27th 1905.
Grants of easement – in effect written permission – was granted by the Church for the erection of posts for the tramway’s overhead wiring on the land it owned.
SDET signed an agreement with the Newcastle upon Tyne Electricity Supply Co (later known as North Eastern Electricity Board) on January 30th 1905 for the supply of electricity. The power generating set was based at Philadelphia, behind the Lambton, Hetton & Joicey Collieries power station, and produced a direct current (DC) for the tramway. It had been due to come into operation in May 1905 but was not completed, thus delaying the opening of the route by a month. Located nearby was the tram depot and twin sheds, which could house a total of eighteen trams (nine in each shed). Remnants of the tramcar sheds remain to this day on Philadelphia Lane, having been used as a garage for the National Coal Board and as a bus depot for Wear buses. The generating station is now a grade II listed building. Nearer to Houghton centre, the Sunderland District Tramways Ltd Parcel Receiving & Left Luggage Office was housed on the corner of Church Street and Durham Road, next to the Red Lion Inn. Copyright © Books of the North 2008 - 2009.
4 ft 8½ inch gauge tracks were laid across the district as a single line by teams of workmen, who were watched by many spectators. Passing loops were spaced at half-mile intervals, giving plenty of opportunities for trams travelling in different directions to pass each other without delay.
The new trams were paraded around the district during Whit Week, when the route was officially opened on June 10th 1905. Villagers posed for photographs alongside the fleet at each of the main stops. The open top tramcar number 1 was the first to reach Fencehouses station from Houghton, and was overflowing with children and ladies in smart harts when it reached its destination. The staff uniform featured shiny nickel buttons embossed with interwoven letters S-D-T.
The Houghton to Hetton route was opened on October 20th 1905, and extended to Easington Lane in August 1906.
The tram network provided a quick and convenient link between Houghton and North Eastern Railway trains at Fencehouses and Penshaw stations (particularly when compared to today’s transport where the quickest method of getting from Fencehouses to Houghton is by foot).
It was not until 1920 that Sunderland Corporation and Sunderland District Tramways made an agreement allowing a through-route of both networks. The Grangetown termini of the two systems, which were a few yards apart, were joined on January 3rd 1921 but by this time motorised buses had already started to encroach on the tramways.
Not to be outdone by the competition, the Company operated its own fleet of motorbuses between Sunderland and South Hetton via Houghton. The buses, which still bore the words SUNDERLAND DISTRICT TRAMWAYS, became a regular sight across the district, and when purchased in 1924 caused a sensation, and were even mentioned in the press of Australia, as this extract from the Argus newspaper of Melbourne, Victoria, shows:
Tuesday September 2nd 1924
REPLACING TRAMS BY 'BUSES
The Sunderland District Electric Tramways Co. Ltd. dropped a veritable bombshell into the ranks of the motor 'bus companies, large and small, in the eastern area of County Durham. After unsuccessfully appealing to the Urban District Council to stop motor 'bus competition with their electric tramway service between Herrington and Penshaw, the company withdrew the trams altogether from that route and substituted motor 'buses. Now they have created a sensation by the purchase of 30 large 'buses, which they intend to run to a time table between Easington Lane and Sunderland, via Hetton and Houghton-le-Spring, a distance of 12 miles. It is generally believed that this move is the precedent to the abandonment altogether of electric tramway traction by the company in favour of the all-conquering motor 'bus.
Indeed it was. In 1924 a selection of four-wheeled trams from the fleet were sold and sent for use on the Bolton Corporation’s Church Road route, and the Houghton to Easington tram route changed to buses in June of that year. In 1925 sixteen tramcars were sold to the Grimsby Corporation Tramways Company. Other tramcars ended up with the Manchester Corporation Transport Company.
Sunderland District Tramways shut down on July 15th 1925.
The Company moved with the times and changed its name to Sunderland District Omnibus Company, and concentrated on running its fleet of blue buses. Forever remembered as the SDO Blue Bus Company, the business had an enquiry office at the corner of Church Street and Durham Road in Houghton for many years.
Sections of track were left embedded in the roads around Houghton, and one Houghtonian can remember playing on the disused tram tracks in Newbottle in the 1940s.
If you have photos or information about the Sunderland District Electric Tramways, please get in touch.
Paul Lanagan, local historian
If you have enjoyed this article and would like to make a donation towards the website's costs please click below:
:: Thanks go to Gordon Bulmer for helping to clarify the Sunderland District Tramways track route and for ongoing advice on Sunderland’s trams. Another nod to Alan Vickers for his continued help, this time with information about the tramways power supply.
:: The Tramways of Sunderland by S.A Staddon, 1964.
:: Railways of Britain: The Tramways of Sunderland by John Grant & Nathan Darroch, 2007.
:: Sunderland Corporation Transport 1900 – 1973 by Peter Gould.
:: Tyne & Wear Archives Service DU.EB/112.
:: Houghton in Old Picture Postcards by Ken Richardson.
:: British Tramway Company Buttons & Badges by Ashley Birch.
:: Vintage photos from Paul Lanagan’s collection.
:: The Bolton Evening News, November 13th 2001.
National Tramway Museum
Sunderland District Tramways model
PAGE UPDATED: 31/08/2009Number 1 Double-deck open top tram destined for Fencehouses – pictured in Houghton-le-Spring town centre, circa 1905 = I have 2 different photos of this tram. Number 22 or 21 Double-deck covered roof tram destined for Sunderland - pictured in Houghton-le-Spring town centre, circa 1915. Advertising VIROL, an old fashioned ‘strengthening medicine’ for “children and invalids”. Numbers 20 and 7 Number 20 is a double-deck covered roof tram destined for Fencehouses - pictured in Houghton-le-Spring town centre, circa 1906. Number 7 is parked behind and is destined for Grangetown. Numbers 27 and 12 Number 27 is a double deck tram destined for Fencehouses - pictured in Houghton-le-Spring town centre, circa 1910. Number 12 is an open-top double-deck tram parked behind and is destined for Grangetown. Number 12 Double-deck, open top tram destined for New Herrington - pictured in Houghton-le-Spring town centre passing White Lion pub, circa 1910.
Philadelphia Power Station shown within Tyne and Wear
OS grid reference NZ337524
Operator: Durham Collieries Power Company
Philadelphia Power Station is a defunct coal-fired power station situated outside of Philadelphia, 1.5 mi (2.4 km) north of Houghton-le-Spring in Tyne and Wear, North East England.
The station was built by the Sunderland District Electric Tramways Ltd and the Durham Collieries Power Company. It was built to provide electricity for the local district tramway and collieries, and it was planned for the station to open in May 1905, but it's opening was delayed slightly, also delaying the electrification of the tramway, and it didn't begin providing electricity for the tramway until 10 June 1905. By 1911, the station was part of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Electric Supply Company's system. After closing, the station was used as a central garage by the National Coal Board. The station's generating hall still stands today, along with two smaller associated buildings, and they are Grade II listed. The generating hall is a single-gabled yellow brick built building with red brick dressings and felt roofing, and is currently one of a number of workshops on the Philadeliphia Complex. Persimmon Homes have applied to refurbish the building and bring it into mixed commercial use, as part of a refurbishment of the Philadelphia Complex.
The Tramways of Sunderland
Compiled By Mr John Grant and Nathan Darroch
The Sunderland Transport Company started Sunderland's first horse drawn tram service on the 28th April 1879 under the authority of the Sunderland Tramways Order 1878, the first section of single line tramway ran from the Royal Hotel at Monkwearmouth to Roker, services operated by three horse drawn single deck trams. From 11th June 1879 the company opened an extension to Christ Church where there was a one way loop along Gray road and Tatham Street to bring the tramway back on to the original line at Fawcett street. A branch heading in a northerly direction from Tatham road saw trams head to the docks and Adelaide Street, the terminus, for this extension two double deck cars purchased, the tramway system equating to 3 1/2 miles in length. Between 1880 and 1881 the Corporation seeing the benefit the tramway had on the towns transport constructed new branches, one from North Bridge street to Southwick along Southwick road with two further branches one along the High street eastwards and the other southwards along Durham road, when completed the Corporation leased the lines to the Company who experimented with steam tram engines and trailers, though these only lasted about seven months.
By 1894 the tramway operated thirty three tram cars though there had been no extensions to the tramway since the completion of the Durham road route. The company realized that the town was growing outwards and saw the benefit of applying for permission for further extensions. Though a contract lease was drawn up it was never signed and in 1900 the Corporation purchased the tramway under the "Sunderland Corporation Act 1899" the corporation taking over on the 26th March 1900. The corporations primary aim was for the electrification of the tramway and then later look at expansion to cater for those areas that had little or no public transport. The first section to re-open was that between Roker and Christchurch on the 15th August 1900, Coucillor J.Trewhitt, Chairman of the Tramways Committee, opening the first section of the electric tramways. The occasion was met with the appropriate celebration with the tramcars decked with garlands and the men wearing high silk hats for the occasion. It did not take long for the rest of the system to follow suit over the succeeding months with the final horse-drawn tram operated barely six months later on 19th February 1901.
With the completion of electrifying the old network, the Corporation turned to the building of a number of extensions:
The Roker route was extended to Seaburn via Whitburn Road 22nd May 1901
From St Barnabas to Villette Road (this route, with its low railway bridge in Suffolk Street, required the provision of single-deck trams) 16th July 1901
From Christ Church to Grangetown via Bridge Street and Ryehope Road 12th August 1901
Fulwell via Gladstone Road and Fulwell Lane opened on 27th March 1903;
Barrack Street on 23rd January 1904.
A circular route via Hylton Road and Chester Road.
The Sunderland and District Tramway: The next opening in the area was from Grangetown southwards to Ryhope in 1905 under the aegis of the Sunderland & District Tramways Co. The Sunderland and District ran from Grangetown south to Ryhope before turning westwards to Houghton Le Spring via Tunstall, Silksworth, East and West Herrington to New Herrington, where it turned south again through Philadelphia, where the company had its tramsheds. The village is perhaps more famous in railway circles for its connection to the large National Coal Board "Philadelphia" railway system. The tramway then continued on past Penshaw and Fence Houses to Houghton Le Spring 8 1/2 miles east of Sunderland and in 1906 extended to Easington Lane or Lyons another out lying village.
The start of the District services was slightly delayed due to power station at Philadelphia not being completed by the may of 1905 as had been anticipated, services not actually starting until 10th June 1905. Despite the proximity of the Corporation and District Tramways at Grangetown, it was not until 1920 (and the threat from the new motorbuses) that agreement was reached between the the two for operation of through services. These lasted barely five years as the Sunderland & District trams were abandoned on 15th July 1925, its sixteen trams purchased by the Great Grimsby Street Tramways Company.
A further extension of the Corporation tramway took place on the 2nd December 1925 when a new line was laid to Barnes Park along the Durham Road, west of the town. 1927 brought the Corporation permission to operate motorbuses in and around the town the first tram route to be replaced being the dock line on the 6th February 1928, though the Corporation did not operate the service itself contracting the route out to the Northern General Omnibus Company. Despite this incursion of buses the Corporation stuck with its trams and even extended the route from Barnes Park on the 4th August 1929 with the building of the Humbledon Hill estate. There were also minor changes to tram routes in the form of re-alignment as roads especially the Ryhope road were widened. With the arrival of May 1929 the Corporation received delivery of its own buses though it kept its dedication to tram routes by replacing track and trams when necessary unlike many other councils at the time that were only to eager for the new economical mode of public transport in the form of buses. There were even more extensions of the tram routes with the Fulwell lane route extended on the 10th May 1937 to Seaburn, via Dykelands Road. It was to be another 10 years until the next extension took the line along Durham road to Grindon Lane on the 21st February 1948 with another extension to Thorney Close Road the in 1949, to serve new housing estates in the area.
By then the Corporation had decided that its tram system would have to go the way of most of the countries other tramways and on the 5th November 1950 the Villette Road-Suffolk Road loop line to the east of the city centre was closed followed by the Southwick route and on 2nd September 1951, the remaining routes lasted until the 1st of October 1954 with Sunderland's last tram being the 1932 built No.86.
The Sunderland closures were as follows:
Villette Road to Suffolk road loop 5th November 1950
Southwick 2nd September 1951
Grangetown 30th November 1952
The Hylton Road and Chester Road Circle route 3rd January 1954
Seaburn (via Roker) 3rd January 1954
Durham Road 28th March 1954
Seaburn (via Fulwell) 1st October 1954
Car No.86: The last Sunderland tram to run was Car No 86. This double deck car had been built in the Corporations workshops over 10 weeks being rolled out in 1932. It was of an experimental design as the town tramway needed more modern cars for the 1930's. It had a streamline paint job and with flat sides looked every bit modern, able to hold 62 passengers with all the seats fully upholstered. It was mounted on an EMB truck with a wheel base of 8 feet 6 inches long and powered by two 50hp motors, controlled by English Electric controllers and air brakes with a weight of 13tons. The car was such a success the corporation ordered 12 more of similar design nine from English Electric and 3 from the corporation workshops and on introduction to service were numbered 87-98 these latter cars having more powerful motors. The last car of the fleet was the first Sunderland tram to carry a pantograph instead of a trolley pole and was to set the precedent for the future Sunderland cars. Most of the Sunderland fleet were 4 wheelers due to the many tight curves on the system.
Generating Station, Philadelphia, Houghton le Spring, Tyne and Wear
© Crown copyright.NMRReference Number: AA93/01387 Comment on image Enlarge
Caption: Built around 1906 for the Durham Collieries Power Company of yellow brick with red brick dressings and a felt roofing, this generating station is now a series of workshops. It became incorporated into the Newcastle Electricity Supply Company's (NESCO) system by 1911.
Photographer: B Skingle Date Taken: January 1993
Archive Holder: English Heritage NMR
Sunderland Corporation Transport
The Sunderland Tramways Company operated horse trams in Sunderland from 28th April 1879, under the authority granted by the Sunderland Tramways Order of 1878. The first route was a short section from the Royal Hotel in Monkwearmouth along Roker Avenue to Roker itself, which was supplemented on the 11th June 1879 by two additional routes. The first route was a continuation of the original line, which travelled across the river via North Bridge Street, Bridge Street, Fawcett Street and Burdon Road to Christ Church, before turning east along Gray Road to Tatham Street, then turning north to rejoin Fawcett Street. The second route was a short branch line northwards from Tatham Street, via Nicholson Street and Cousin Street, terminating in Adelaide Street in the docks area. The total length of the tramway was 3½ miles, principally of single-track line. The initial rolling stock consisted of three single-deck cars, which were joined by two double-deck cars when the extensions to the system were opened.
Sunderland Corporation constructed further extensions to the tramway system in 1880 -1881, leasing them to the Company. The lines served Southwick, via Southwick Road, from North Bridge Street, with two branch lines running along High Street East and New Durham Road to the south. At the same time an experiment using three steam trams took place, although it was abandoned after just seven months.
By 1894 the fleet had grown to 33 tramcars and extensions to the system, which had remained unaltered since1881, were contemplated and permission was sought by the Company for the expansion, along with a request for a new lease. Although Sunderland Council actually drew up a new agreement, it was never signed, and, eventually, Sunderland Corporation obtained authority (under the Sunderland Corporation Act 1899) to operate its own tramways and purchased the Company on 26th March 1900.
Immediately, Sunderland Corporation set about electrifying the lines, closing down the former horse-drawn tram routes as reconstruction progressed. The first route operated by electric traction opened in August 1900, from Roker to Christ Church, with other lines following. By 1904, routes to Southwick, via Sunderland Road and Southwick Road; to Seaburn from Roker via Whitburn Road; and via Gladstone Road and Fulwell Lane, were all operating, along with a line to Grangetown, via Bridge Street and Ryehope Road; a new line to the docks; and a circular route via Hylton Road and Chester Road. Subsequently there was little further expansion of the system and it remained substantially unaltered for the next twenty years.
The tramcar fleet consisted initially of Nos. 1-12, 56-seat, open-top, double-deck cars from the Electric Railway and Tramway Carriage Works of Preston, and Nos. 13-18, 64-seat, double-deck, bogie open-top cars from the same manufacturer. Later, in 1901, ERTCW supplied Nos. 19-26, 26-seat single-deck tramcars and Nos. 27-50, more 56-seat, open-top, double-deck cars.
On the 3rd January 1921, through running to Houghton-le-Spring, via Grangetown commenced, jointly with the Sunderland District Electric Tramways, who had operated the tramway since 1905. The line ran south from Grangetown to Ryhope, then west through Tunstall, Silksworth, East and West Herrington to New Herrington, where it turned south again through Philadelphia (where the Company had their depot) and Newbottle to Houghton-le-Spring.
A new route to Barnes Park, via Durham Road was opened on 2nd December 1925 and further extended on 4th August 1929 to serve the new estate at Humbledon Hill. By this time the Corporation had been authorised (under the Sunderland Corporation Act of 1927) to operate motorbuses and the first service, a tram replacement route serving the docks area, commenced on 6th February 1928. Interestingly, the service was operated on the Corporation's behalf by the Northern General Transport Company, as was the second service, introduced on 7th May 1928 between Sea Lane and Humbledon. It was not until May 1929 that Sunderland Corporation took delivery of its first motorbuses, a batch of 12 Leyland Lion LT1's (Nos. 1-12), with Leyland B32F bodywork, which replaced the Northern General buses on the docks route.
Throughout the 1930's the motorbus network continued to expand, with the new estates built at Ford, Marley Potts, Plains Farm, Pallion, Fulwell and Seaburn being served by new bus routes. Early purchases for the bus fleet consisted of Leyland single-deckers and Dennis and Daimler double-deckers. In 1937 the name of the undertaking was changed to Sunderland Corporation Transport.
Although motorbuses had been introduced, the tramway system continued to be extended. On the 10th May 1937 the Fulwell Lane route was extended east to Seaburn, via Dykelands Road and on the 21st February 1948 the Durham Road line was extended along a central reservation to Grindon Lane, and then subsequently to Thorney Close Road the following year, to serve the new housing estates there. However, the decision had already been taken to abandon the tramway system in favour of motorbuses and on 5th November 1950 the Villette Road-Suffolk Road loop line was closed and on 30th November the following year, the Southwick route closed. The remaining routes survived until 1954 before they were gradually run down over the year, the system finally closing, amidst much ceremony, with the last tram (No. 86) running on 1st October 1954.
Sunderland's first 8ft wide buses were delivered in 1951. Numbered 116-127 they were Daimler CVG6 chassis with Roe H31/25R bodywork.
Route numbers were introduced for bus services in 1953 and experiments with one-man operation were carried out that paved the way for its later introduction on other services. Eight more Daimler's (Nos. 140-147), this time with CVG5 chassis were delivered in 1953, again with Roe bodywork. They sported a new green and cream livery, which replaced the hitherto red and cream livery applied to both buses and trams, although the original livery had been chocolate and cream until the 1930's. In 1954 the antiquated Bell Punch ticket system was replaced by the Setright Speed system and 61 new buses were delivered to speed up the tramway abandonment programme.
Two specially manufactured vehicles were purchased in 1956 and 1957, from Atkinson Vehicles. Nos. 30 and 31 were specifically built to Sunderland Corporation's requirements, of lightweight construction with Roe 41-seat forward entrance bodywork, and were the only such vehicles built by Atkinson.
In 1962 Sunderland Corporation took delivery of their first new double-decker for four years. No. 250, a Daimler Fleetline CRG6LX, was the first rear-engined vehicle in the fleet and carried a Roe H39/31F body. It was followed later in the year by a further five similar vehicles.
Three Atkinson single-deckers (Nos. 46-48) with Marshall B45D bodywork were delivered at the end of 1963 and early 1964. The PL746HF chassis were notable in that they were the very last Atkinson passenger chassis placed in service in the United Kingdom and could be seen operating on a new route introduced on the 17th August 1964 (route No. 25) to Carley Hill, via Newcastle Road.
From the 5th September 1966 several of the established services were converted to one-man operation, necessitating the purchase of a number of new single-deck vehicles. Nos. 52-84 were Leyland PSUR1/1R's with Strachan B47D bodywork, whilst 85-87 were Daimler SRC6 Roadliners with similar bodywork. Subsequent purchases were all single-deck vehicles equipped for one-man operation as the Corporation committed itself to this type of operation. In 1969 a new one-man operated service commenced to Doxford Park, Sunderland's newest estate, using the new Central Bus Station.
By the early 1970's Sunderland Corporation was faced with rising operational costs and heavy financial losses. Consequently the undertaking was passed to the Tyneside Passenger Transport Executive on 1st April 1973, some twelve months before the formation of the Tyne and Wear county, which would have included Sunderland Corporation in an extended passenger transport area from the 1st April 1974, under the auspices of the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive. At 11.00pm on the 31st March 1973, the last buses were ceremoniously 'whistled off' from Crowtree Road Bus Station by the Mayor, bringing to an end 73 years of municipal operations in Sunderland.
In producing this history reference has been made to the following sources;
The Directory of British Tramways (Keith Turner, PSL 1996); The Buses of Sunderland Corporation Transport 1929-1973 (Kirtley, Author 1993); PSV Circle Fleet History PA17 (1987).
| History 1900-1973 | Tram Fleet List 1900-1954 | Bus Fleet List 1929-1973 |
Land for Sunderland District Tramways
Ref No. EP/Ho 98
Letter from James Bradford at Vigo, Chester-le-Street, to Canon Brown at Houghton discussing Hill Farm damages and the enclosed letter from D. Balfour, Civil Engineer at St. Nicholas's Buildings, Newcastle, and Trewhitt and Robson at Fawcett Street, Sunderland, regarding land needed for road widening in connection with the Sunderland District Tramways, 12 - 16 January 1900
Ref No. EP/Ho 99
Letters received by Canon Brown from J.G. Wilson at 5 North Bailey, Durham, and from the Ecclesiastical Commission re. sale of glebe land to tramways company; application to, and approval of, Board of Agriculture; investment of proceeds, 22 February 1904 - 15 December 1905
Ref No. EP/Ho 100
Correspondence between J.G. Wilson at 5 North Bailey, Durham, D. Balfour and Son, Civil Engineers at St. Nicholas’ Buildings, Newcastle, and Canon Brown at Houghton re. sale of further land to the tramway Company for £l5, 25 August - 18 September 1905
Ref No. EP/Ho 101
Plan of lands at Dairy Lane, Houghton, required for the Sunderland District Tramways, n.d.
Scale: 25.346 inches to 1 mile
(76 cm. x 26 cm., oiled linen, ink)
Ref No. EP/Ho 102
17 June 1904
(1) Rev. Canon Frederick Brown, Clerk, Rector of Houghton
(2) The Sunderland District Electric Tramways Ltd.
Duplicate Conveyance of 3 parcels of land at Houghton (307 square yards in total) as described, for road widening connected with the works of (2)
Ref No. EP/Ho 103
10 January 1905
(1) Canon F. Brown.
(2) The Sunderland District Electric Tramways, Ltd.
Grant of an easement for the erection of posts for tramway overhead wiring
Rental: 1s. p.a.
Ref No. EP/Ho 104
27 November 1905
(1) Canon F. Brown
(2) S.D.E.T. Ltd.
Duplicate Conveyance of a strip of land of 30 square yards, part of the Rectory Glebe Farm, Houghton, for road widening related to the works of (2)
(Parchment, 1 membrane)
ELECTRIC No.1 K. GEE The present area Stores of the National Coal Hoard at Philadelphia, Co. Durham, stands on the site of an old Power Station built to supply electricity to the local collieries. ELECTRIC No. 1, purchased new in 1919 to shunt this Station, was a four-wheel battery electric locomotive built by Dick, Kerr & Co. Ltd. of Kilmarnock, works number 9537. Brief dimensions were as under: Wheelbase : 9' 0" Driving Wheels : 2' 3¾" Weight : 27½ tons Length : 23' 7" Height : 11' 8" The locomotive was of neat proportions, having a centrally mounted cab with a door on either side, and no fewer than eight windows. The bonnets sloped away from the centre and had rounded ends jutting out some nine inches over the buffer beams, Chaldron blocks were fitted inside the usual spring buffers Under the running plate at each end were mounted triangular shaped sandboxes, and electric lamps were fitted both at the front and rear of the cab. Mechanically it was quite sound‚ apart from a tendency to break cranks, for it was a violent starter. Its running speed was rather slow. ELECTRIC No. 1 was kept on the most easterly road of the 1917 steam locomotive shed, but in 1919/1920 a new shed with inspection pit and battery charging facilities was built for it on the adjacent road. (This road is still known as the "electric road".) When absorbed by the Lambton, Hetton & Joicey Collieries Ltd. in 1924 ELECTRIC No.1 was included with the steam locomotive stock and renumbered 51. L. H. J. C. and 51 were painted on the bonnet sides and the livery was changed from green to unlined black. With the coming of the National Grid System, the Philadelphia power station was closed down and 51 put out of work. Later, between 1934 and 1938, it was sent to Tanfield Lea colliery on the old Joicey section of the L. H. & J. C, where it survived to be taken over by the National Coal Board in 1947, It was allotted number 40 in the stock of the Durham Division, No. 6 Area, when a renumbering scheme was drawn up in 1949. However, as 51 was scrapped in that year and replaced by a steam locomotive‚ it is most unlikely that this new number was ever carried. In conclusion I would like to thank Messrs. D. Comrie and G. Hutchinson of the National Coal Board, and also the late Mr. E. Curr.
ELECTRIC No. 1 There are a few errors in the account of ELECTRIC No.1 (RECORD 7, page 155) which was not taken over by the National Coal Board as it was scrapped in 1934. The statement that it had a tendency to break cranks is very odd as the motor (or motors) would have to be slung under the frame to allow the batteries to be housed under the bonnets. Photographs give no indication of any cranks. The usual things which happen as a result of violent starting are the stripping of gears or the shearing of keys. Confusion seems to have arisen about renumbering. Three locomotives went from Philadelphia before 1947. These were 37 (R. & W. Hawthorn 1430), 38 (R. & W. Hawthorn 1478) and 30 (Robert Stephenson 1919). No.37 was in the Stanley district on "Vesting Day" (1st January 1947) and was included in the stock of N.C.B. No.6 Area. When scrapped in 1949 it had not been renumbered although very probably allocated No.40 in the book list which had always been blank. (it would seem that Mr Gee has confused ELECTRIC No.1 with No.37.) No.38 finished up at Beamish (No.5 Area) and was scrapped there in October 1951, while No.40 worked principally at Grange Villa and was scrapped in November 1955. The present No.51 arrived in 1948/1949 and filled the gap in the No.2 Area locomotive list. The power station at Philadelphia stood on part of the site of the present garage of the Sunderland District Omnibus Co. Ltd. A little of the old building still stands on the south side of the garage, and remnants of the track are still in situ across the road leading to the locomotive shed and stores. The site of the present storeyard was formerly occupied by sidings. The station supplied power to the Sunderland District Electric Tramways but became defunct long before the National Grid came on the scene. Yours etc., NEWCASTLE-ON-TYNE. L. G. CHARLTON (This letter raises some interesting points, and it will be seen that the Club’s records of the allocations and scrapping of nos.37, 38 and 40, need to be amended in the light of this fresh information. According to S. A. Staddon’s "The Tramways of Sunderland" the Sunderland District Electric Tramways ran from Easington Lane to Grangetown (connection with Sunderland Corporation Tramways) with branches to Penshaw and Fence Houses, the car sheds and power house being at Philadelphia. "By May 1905 the Company were ready to start a service but for the fact that their Power House was incomplete". Trams commenced running on 10th June 1905 but the system lasted only until 12th July 1925 when buses took over. Readers may care to comment on these facts, but it would seem to us that the power station was not colliery property - at least, not originally. With ELECTRIC No.1 becoming L.H.J.C. No.51 the suggestion is that it was not supplied new to L.H.J.C. but was obtained after No.50 (1924) and before No.52 (1929). Could it be that it too was owned initially by the Sunderland District Electric Tramways Limited? - Hon. Eds.)
In Station Avenue and the Dubmire and Front Street area possibly also along North View the poles were later used to carry the domestic electricity supply that was supplied from Lambton Colliery (a very poor 210V or less)and this was provided until sometime about 1953-4 when the supply was changed over to a new supply from the North Eastern Electricity Board. (240V). I do recall that the bottom 3 ft or so of the poles had to be coated with a thick bitumastic material on account of dog's urinating. Before the bitumen was applied if there was an electricity fault at the top of the pole then the poor dog got a nasty electric shock, apart from this there was severe corrosion of the base of the pole.
BYE-LAWS AND REGULATIONS made by the Promoters under the powers conferred on them by the Houghton-le-Spring and District Tramways Order, 1900, and the Tramways Act, 1870. 25.—Number 6 of the Bye-Laws made by the United Kingdom Tramway Light Railway and Electrical Syndicate Limited, on the thirtieth day of June, 1905, as such promoters as and under the powers aforesaid shall be repealed'as on and from the date for the coming into force of these bye-laws. 26.—No person shall swear or use obscene or offensive language whilst in or upon any carriage, or spit or commit any nuisance in, from, upon or against any carriage or wilfully interfere with the comfort of any passenger. Any person offending against or committing a breach of this bye-law shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding 40s. (forty shillings). 27.—These bye-laws shall extend and apply in like manner and to the same extent as set forth in Bye-law No. 1 of the before mentioned Bye-Laws made on the thirtieth day of June, 1905, with respect to such last mentioned Bye-Laws. 28.—These Bye-Laws shall come into force on the first day of March, 1916. THE SUNDERLAND DISTRICT ELECTRIC TRAM- '36 WAYS Limited.