Sunday, 18 January 2015

Trams, Trolleys & Trains.

In the 1940's and 50's there weren't many cars on the roads of Cleethorpes and Grimsby.  Kids could play in the side streets without the fear of being run over and it was generally much quieter. 
Trams operated from Grimsby to Immingham along the coast of the
The route of the Grimsby & Immingham
Electric Railway.
Humber Estuary.  They ran from 1921 to (surprisingly for me) 1961!  Now I don't remember travelling on them for general day to day purposes but I can remember my mam taking me on a "pleasure ride" from Grimsby, along the Humber bank to Immingham and then back on the return service.  From memory we got on near Corporation Bridge in Grimsby but I don't have any memory of  the Immingham end.  I
A Grimsby/Immingham tram, built in 1915
passing the Pywipe depot outbound for Immingham.
can remember the trip along the sea bank close to the River Humber, it seemed really close to the tracks.
The trams were standard gauge and ran for 7 miles between Grimsby & Immingham which was a developing seaport needing lots of contract workers so the tram system was well used.  
The headquarters for the trams was in Victoria Street, Grimsby and that was where the tramsheds were.  They are still there to this day having been utilised as the towns' bus depot and workshops when busses replaced the trams.     
The former Tramsheds of the Grimsby Corporation Tramways.  I took this photo in 2014, until
recently it was still being used as the Grimsby and Cleethorpes Bus Depot and workshops.
New, modern premises have been built next door. 

Trolley busses also operated in Grimsby and Cleethorpes while the
A trolley bus operating in
Cleethorpes, the overhead wires
can be seen, they were suspended
on steel poles.
trams were still in use and ran from Corporation Road, Grimsby to The Bathing Pool at the South end of Cleethorpes.  Trolley busses were powered by overhead wires as trams were but whereas trams ran on rails a trolleybus ran  on pneumatic tyres along the roads.

Trolley busses ran in from the 3rd of October 1936 until the 4th of June 1960.  They were replaced with petrol engined busses, noisier and smellier than the electric trolley busses and nowhere as pleasant to travel on.
At Sandtoft in Lincolnshire is the National Trolley bus Museum where restored examples of these
lovely old vehicles can be seen and ridden on.  This image shows the overhead system of wires
suspended from the arms on the distribution poles.
Some of the splendidly restored trolley busses at Sandtoft showing the arms on the top of the vehicles that take the power supply from the overhead wires.  
From time to time the arms would drop from the wires, usually if a driver took a corner too wide, the conductor would take a long wooden pole from under the bus and manually re-attach the take off arm back onto the wires! 

For all other long distance journeys people would take the train. 
Trains played a very big part in the development of Cleethorpes as a seaside resort.  Cleethorpes Railway Station was opened in 1863 and Cleethorpes soon became a popular destination for the Victorians to bathe in the sea.  It was later in the 20th century that the resort enjoyed it's boom times when the workers in the coal mines and steelworks of Yorkshire  came to Cleethorpes in their thousands for the annual "Wakes Weeks".  This was because the government declared that a working man required a paid holiday and so they could afford to take their families away for a break!  
The owners of the mines, steelworks and cotton mills took this opportunity to carry out necessary maintenance so they all shut down for the same two weeks in the summer, the last week in July & the first week in August and the whole workforce headed, by train, to Cleethorpes. 
I intend to devote a whole posting to this annual invasion so will finish here.

Photo's used in this posting: The 3 large colour images are my own, all others are courtesy of Wikipedia.