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Chance to read about tram history

PUBLISHED: 10:31 30 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:13 06 July 2010

A BOOK detailing the intriguing history of the Lowestoft tramways has had its official launch ­ - in the best possible venue. Lowestoft Tramways, by David Mackley, pictured below, was unveiled on Saturday at the classic and vintage weekend at East Anglia Transport Museum, Carlton Colville.

A BOOK detailing the intriguing history of the Lowestoft tramways has had its official launch ­ - in the best possible venue. Lowestoft Tramways, by David Mackley, pictured below, was unveiled on Saturday at the classic and vintage weekend at East Anglia Transport Museum, Carlton Colville.

The 96-page book tells the history of the tramway, which was at the heart of the town's transport network from 1903 to 1931, in words and a collection of 120 pictures.

“The Lowestoft tramways were distinctive in a number of ways,” said Mr Mackley, who has been helping to restore Lowestoft's old number 14 Milnes 1904 tram at the museum. “Arguably, they had the most elaborately-appointed fleet of electric cars in East Anglia. The line crossed a swing bridge on which the overhead power lines moved with that bridge.

“Passage of trams was controlled by railway-type signals. It was the most easterly tramway in the British Isles. It was also the smallest electric tramway in East Anglia and had only a single route.”

Trams served passengers in the town along a four-mile stretch of single track with passing loops. It ran from Yarmouth Road, along High Street, London Road North, over the bridge, along London Road South and down to Pakefield Street, with a depot and power station at Rotterdam Road.

It formed part of the proposed East Anglian tramway, but a scheme to create a 20-mile link from Great Yarmouth to Southwold by tramway never fully materialised. However, from July 22, 1903 to May 8, 1931, trams rumbled through the streets of Lowestoft, carrying shoppers and business people.

Mr Mackley's book includes pictures of virtually every aspect of the route, telling the story of the Lowestoft Corporation Tramways and the impact it had on townsfolk.

The hardback book is on sale at the East Anglia Transport Museum and bookshops. To check availability call 01730 813169.

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