For our Tyneside ancestors, earlier than the arrival of buses and, a lot later, the creation of the Metro system, the tram was the commonest type of native public transport.
Initially, trams had been pulled by horses, then had been steam-powered, earlier than they had been electrified at the flip of the twentieth century.
Seventy years ago, the last service to Low Fell, Gateshead, rumbled alongside on its closing journey.
The Gateshead Post reported that on April 7, 1951, the quantity 60 tram, constructed between 1920 to 1928, “made its means into the Low Fell terminus promptly to schedule at 11.15pm. Not greater than two dozen folks thought it was an occasion price ready for.”
Gateshead and District (*70*) had begun working in 1880. Routes had been laid from the city centre to Heworth, Teams and Low Fell – and in the first decade of the last century, there have been extensions to Dunston and Ravensworth Waggon, and later to Saltwell Cemetery and Springwell Road.
It wasn’t till 1923, after many years of dialogue, that the first trams travelled, throughout the High Level Bridge, between Gateshead and Newcastle.
After the conflict, the unstoppable rise of the ‘omnibus’ would result in the gradual demise of tram providers in Gateshead – and elsewhere.
Just months after the Low Fell service was axed in April 1951, the closing two Newcastle to Gateshead trams would make their last journey.
On August 4, as 11pm neared, a big crowd gathered at Newcastle Central Station to present the quantity 20 and quantity 16 a rousing send-off.
There had been the normal drunks and late employees on board the quantity 20, however there was additionally some decided to say they’d taken the last passenger journey.
Immediately behind this tram was the quantity 16, carrying dignitaries from either side of the Tyne who had simply dined at the Royal Station Hotel in Newcastle.
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Both trams crossed the High Level Bridge and trundled alongside Askew Road in Gateshead in direction of their Dunston terminus, cheered on by crowds of individuals.
The Gateshead Post reported: “Despite the clanging foot gong, shadowy figures dashed into the street and bent right down to the tram strains simply earlier than and after the tram.
“There weren’t touching the tram strains for luck – although some touched the tram – they had been placing down and choosing up cash.
“The flattened cash shall be stored as mementoes of Saturday night time and the last journey of quantity 16.”
Passengers making the last journey had been offered with particular tickets marking the event.
Returning that night time to their Sunderland Road depot, the two automobiles slowly reversed in and the last trams had been consigned to history.
Don’t miss our Memory Lane native history web site that is filled with archive images and has an easy-to-use image colourisation device.