Early Buses and Trams 1863-1919

It is difficult for anyone today to imagine what life must have been like in the days before public transport when most of the population was effectively confined within their immediate neighbourhood. In the middle of the 17th Century the stage coach made its first appearance, but it was limited to those who could afford the fare. The railways came 150 years later and this gave the public the ability to make long journeys. But it was not until the 1830’s, and the tramcar 30 years later, that they could enjoy the advantages of local public transport. The street railway (or tramcar) had much lower rolling resistance which meant it could carry twice as many people as the minibus and therefore spread to most cities where it was able to provide cheap transport for the masses. Trams continued to dominate, except in the countryside, until the “B” type standard motor bus was developed in 1910. Its successor, the K type, appeared in 1919 and with it the rapid abandonment of tramways until almost all had disappeared. But a few continental cities upgraded their old tram systems and today trams are slowly returning to cities here and around the world as excessive traffic and pollution from motorised transport is discouraged.

The prints measure 47.5 cm wide x 34.5 cm high (18 ½ ″ x 13 ½ ″). Minor variation in size is possible based on the actual guillotine cut made by the printer over 50 years ago. Shown here are photographs which have been carefully corrected to remove most distortion. Published in 1964 by © Hugh Evelyn Limited, London; drawn by David J. Trussler.

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