THE picture of a somewhat derelict Tramcar No 113 was a sad sight indeed.

It was the first vehicle in a batch of twenty [numbered 113 to 132] produced by the Brush Electrical Engineering Co. Ltd. in Loughborough during 1926.

Tramways in Poole and Bournemouth ran on 3 ft 6in gauge track with most using a single overhead wire to provide power.

To avoid 'unsightly masts and wires' in the centre of Bournemouth, the section between St Michael's Church, Poole Hill and the Lansdowne via The Square and along Old Christchurch Road, was laid with a conduit supply in the ground between the rails. This was in use until 12th May 1911 when it was filled in and replaced by masts and wires as in the rest of the network.

Car 113 was 36 feet 6 inches long overall and could seat 30 downstairs and 38 upstairs in the open air.

This batch of trams ran on two Brill 22E four-wheel bogies powered by British Thompson Houston type 249 motors. The interior seating was upholstered but the top deck were of the standard reversible 'never-wet' type of wooden seats. The driver's position at each end was 'luxurious' for those days in that it was almost entirely enclosed with glass windscreen panels.

The purchase of new trams at this time was considered, by some, to be ill-thought-out as the first tram route was closed as early as 1929. This was the Lower Parkstone Route [opened in 1906] for services between Bournemouth and Poole. It is believed the tram rails were very worn and needed renewal - but finance was not forthcoming. Poole Council entered into an agreement with Hants & Dorset Motor Services Ltd. providing replacement bus services from 6th January that year.

This was the beginning of the end for Bournemouth/Poole trams as, in 1933, four trolleybuses were borrowed. Demonstrators from Sunbeam and Thorneycroft, as well as two from AEC, were involved in what proved to be successful trials.

I've not been able to ascertain Tram 113's exact withdrawal date but the entire batch of 20 were withdrawn between 1935 and 1936. Despite it's short operational career, and much longer life since withdrawal, Car 113 still retains, apparently, an original 'please don't spit in the carriage' sign!

I hope that the extensive Bournemouth Corporation Transport archive of photographs and records has been saved despite Yellow Buses (Bournemouth Transport Ltd) going into voluntary liquidation in August 2022. Does any reader know if they have?

Peter Sykes,

West Drive,