British Tramway Systems

Gauges and Dates

A Short Guide to British Tramways for Tramway Modelling

The following lists give basic information on British and Irish tramways, including main towns/cities served, track gauge and opening and closing dates. (M) after a place name indicates that the tramway was municipally owned and (C) that it was company owned, although some systems that were built by companies were later taken over by their municipalities under the terms of the 1870 Tramways Act. The opening and closing dates for electric tramways refer to operating dates of electric traction. Note that many of these tramways started life with horse-drawn cars or, occasionally, were steam operated. There were also several cable-operated systems, some of which were later electrified and others not. Reference is made to the traditional 1:16 modelling scale. The links are to photographs, postcard histories or webcams showing the system.


Standard Gauge Electric Tramways


4ft 8 1/2in. gauge, equal to 3 1/2in. gauge in 1/16 scale.
(Tramways marked * had a track gauge of 4ft 7 3/4in to allow standard railway stock to run on its flanges in the tramway grooved rail. For modelling purposes, 3 1/2 in. gauge is still used.)

City/Town/District Opened-Closed
Aberdeen (M)1899-1958
Aberdeen Suburban (C) 1904-1927
Airdrie & Coatbridge* (C)1904-1956
Ashton-under-Lyne (M) 1902-1936
Ayr (M) 1901-1931
Barking (M)1903-1929
Barnsley (C) 1902-1930
Bath (C)1904-1939
Batley (M) 1903-1932
Belfast (M)1905-1954
Bexley (M)1903-1935
Birkenhead (M) 1901-1937
Blackpool (M)1885-date
Bolton (M)1899-1947
Bristol (C)1895-1941
Bury (M)1903-1949
Cardiff (M)1902-1950
Chesterfield (M)1904-1927
Croydon (M)1901-1951
Dartford (M)1906-1935
Dearne District (C) 1924-1933
Dewsbury & Ossett (C)1908-1933
Doncaster (M)1902-1935
Douglas Southern Electric (C)1896-1939
Dumbarton* (C)1907-1928
Dundee, Broughty Ferry (C)1905-1931
Dundee (M)1900-1956
East Ham (M)1901-1940
Edinburgh (M)1922-1956
Erith (M)1905-1935
Farnworth (M)1902-1906
Gateshead (C)1901-1951
Glasgow* (M)1898-1962
Glossop (C) 1903-1927
Gosport & Fareham* (C)1906-1929
Gravesend & Northfleet (C)1901-1929
Great Crosby (C) 1900-1925
Great Grimsby (C)1901-1937
Greenock & Port Glasgow* (C)1901-1929
Grimsby (M) 1925-1937
Grimsby & Immingham (C)1912-1961
Guernsey (C)1892-1934
Huddersfield* (M)1901-1940
Hull (M)1899-1945
Ilford (M)1903-1938
Jarrow (C)1906-1929
Kilmarnock (M) 1904-1926
Lanarkshire Tramways Co.* (C)1903-1931
Lancaster (M) 1903-1930
Leeds (M)1897-1959
Leicester (M)1904-1949
Leith (M)1905-1920
Leyton (M)1906-1939
Lincoln (M)1905-1929
Liverpool (M)1898-1957
Llanelly & District (C)1911-1933
London County Council (M)1903-1952
London United Tramways (C)1901-1936
Luton (M)1908-1932
Lytham St.Anne's (M)1903-1937
Manchester (M)1901-1949
Mansfield & District (C)1905-1932
Metropolitan Electric Tmys (C)1904-1939
Mexborough & Swinton (C)1907-1929
Middleton (Lancs) (C) 1902-1935
Musselborough & District (C)1904-1954
Newcastle-on-Tyne (M)1901-1950
Newport (M)1903-1937
Nottingham (M)1901-1936
Notts & Derbyshire (C) 1913-1932
Oldham (M)1900-1946
Oldham, Ashton, & Hyde (C)1899-1921
Paisley & District* (C)1904-1957
Portsdown & Horndean* (C)1903-1935
Portsmouth* (M)1901-1936
Preston (M)1904-1935
Rochdale (M)1902-1932
Rotherham (M)1903-1949
St. Helens (M)1900-1936
Salford (M)1901-1947
Sheffield (M)1899-1960
South Lancs Tramway Co. (C)1902-1933
South Metropolitan (C)1906-1937
South Shields (M)1906-1946
Southampton (M)1900-1949
Southport (M) 1900-1934
Stalybridge (C)1904-1945
Stockport (M)1901-1951
Sunderland (M)1900-1954
Sunderland District (C)1905-1925
Swansea (C)1900-1937
Swansea & Mumbles (C)1929-1960
Tyneside (C) 1902-1930
Wallasey (M)1902-1933
Walthamstow (M)1905-1939
Warrington (M) 1902-1935
West Ham (M)1904-1940
Weston-super-Mare (C)1902-1937
Wigan (M) (also 3ft.6in.)1901-1931
Yorkshire (West Riding) (C)1904-1932
Yorkshire Woollen District (C)1903-1934

Narrow Gauge Electric Tramways


3ft 6in. gauge, equal to 2 5/8in. gauge in 1/16 scale.

City/Town/District Opened-Closed
Aberdare (M)1913-1935
Birmingham & Midland (C)1904-1930
Birmingham, City of (C)1901-1911
Birmingham Corporation (M)1904-1953
Bournemouth (M)1902-1936
Brighton (M)1901-1939
Burton & Ashby (C)1906-1927
Burton-on-Trent (M)1903-1929
Cambourne & Redruth (C)1902-1927
Carlisle (C) 1900-1931
Chatham & District (C)1902-1930
Cheltenham & District (C)1901-1930
Chester (M)1903-1930
Colchester (M)1904-1929
Coventry (M)1895-1940
Cruden Bay (C) 1899-1932
Darlington (M) 1904-1926
Dover (M)1897-1936
Dudley & Stourbridge (C)1899-1930
Dunfermline (C)1909-1937
Exeter (M)1905-1931
Gloucester (M)1904-1933
Great Yarmouth (M)1902-1933
Halifax (M)1898-1939
Hastings (C)1905-1929
Ilkeston (M) 1903-1931
Ipswich (M)1903-1926
Isle of Thanet (C)1901-1937
Kidderminster & Stourport (C)1898-1929
Kinver Light Railway (C)1901-1930
Kirkcaldy (M) 1903-1931
Leamington & Warwick (C)1905-1930
Llandudno & Colwyn Bay (C)1907-1956
Lowestoft (M)1903-1931
Maidstone (M)1904-1930
Merthyr (C) 1901-1939
Middlesbrough (C then M) (3ft 7in)1898-1934
Northampton (M)1904-1934
Norwich (C)1900-1935
Perth (M)1905-1929
Peterborough (C) 1903-1930
Plymouth (M)1899-1945
Pontypridd (M)1905-1931
Rhondda (C) 1908-1934
Rothesay (C)1902-1936
Scarborough (C)1904-1931
Sheerness (C)1903-1917
Snaefell Mountain (C)1895-date
South Staffordshire (C) 1893-1930
Southend (M)1901-1942
Stockton (M) (3ft 7in) 1898-1931
Swindon (M)1904-1929
Taunton (C)1901-1921
Torquay (C)1907-1934
Tynemouth (C) 1901-1931
Walsall (M)1902-1933
Wemyss & District (C)1906-1932
West Hartlepool (M) 1896-1927
Wigan (M) (also 4ft 8½in )1901-1931
Wolverhampton (M)1902-1928
Wolverhampton District (C)1900-1928
Worcester (C) 1904-1928
Wrexham & District (C) 1903-1927
York (M)1910-1935

Intermediate Gauge Electric Tramways


4ft 0in. gauge, technically equal to 3in. gauge in 1/16 scale, but some modellers use the 2 5/8in. of narrow gauge for convenience of running on various tracks.

City/Town/District Opened-Closed
Accrington (M)1907-1932
Barrow-in-Furness (M)1904-1932
Blackburn (M)1899-1949
Bradford (M)1898-1950
Burnley (M) 1901-1935
Colne & Trawden (M)1903-1934
Darwen (M)1900-1946
Derby (M)1904-1934
Falkirk (C) 1905-1935
Keighley (M)1904-1924
Nelson (M) 1903-1934
Potteries (C)1899-1928
Rawtenstall (M)1909-1932
Reading (M)1903-1939

Miscellaneous Gauge Electric Tramways



City/Town/District [Gauge] Opened-Closed
Bessbrook & Newry (C) [3ft 0in]1885-1948
Brighton & Rottingdean [2 x 2ft 8 1/2in]1896-1901
Cork Electric Tmy (C) [2ft 11 1/2in]1898-1931
Dublin United Tmy Co. (C)
[5ft 2 3/16in but usually quoted as 5ft 3in]
1896-1949
Eastbourne (C) [2ft 0in]1954-1969
Giant's Causeway (C) [3ft 0in]1883-1949
Hill of Howth (C) [5ft 3in]1901-1959
Manx Electric (C) [3ft 0in]1893-date

Horse Tramways Never Electrified



City/Town/District [Gauge] Opened-Closed
Cambridge [4ft 0in]1880-1914
Cork [5ft 3in] 1872-1875
Derry [4ft 8 1/2in] 1897-1919
Douglas, Isle of Man [3ft 0in]1876-date
Fairbourne [2ft 0in]1890-1915
Fintona [5ft 3in] 1853-1957
Folkestone, Hythe & Sandgate [4ft 8 1/2in]1891-1921
Galway & Salthill [3ft 0in]1879-1918
Glenanne & Loughgilly [1ft 10in]1897-1918
Inchture [4ft 8 1/2in] 1895-1916
Kew Bridge & Richmond [4ft 8 1/2in]1883-1912
Lancaster & District [4ft 8 1/2in]1890-1921
Morecambe [4ft 8 1/2in]1887-1926
& petrol from 1912
Neath [4ft 8 1/2in] 1875-1920
gas after 1899
Oxford [4ft 0in]1881-1914
Pwllheli [2ft 6in]1899-1919
Pwllheli & Llanbedrog [3ft 0in]1894-1928
Stirling & Bridge of Allan [4ft 8 1/2in]1874-1920
& petrol from 1913
Warrenpoint & Rostrevor [3ft 0in]1877-1915

Steam Tramways Never Electrified



Town/District [Gauge] Opened-Closed
Alford & Sutton [2ft 6in]1884-1889
Arigna [3ft 0in] 1887-1959
Portstewart [3ft 0in]1882-1926
Rye & Camber [3ft 0in]1895-1939
Wantage [4ft 8 1/2in]1875-1925
(goods 1946)
Wisbech & Upwell [4ft 8 1/2in]1883-1927
(goods 1966)
Wolverton & Stony Stratford [3ft 6in]1887-1926

Cable-hauled Tramways


(those then electrified marked *)

City/Town/District [Gauge] Opened-Closed
Birmingham - Hockley Hill [3ft 6in]1888-1911*
Douglas - Upper Douglas, IoM [3ft]1896-1929
Edinburgh [4ft 8 1/2in] 1888-1922*
London: Brixton Hill [4ft 8 1/2in]1892-1904*
London: Highgate Hill [3ft 6in]1884-1909*
Llandudno - Great Orme [3ft 6in]1902-date
Matlock [3ft 6in]1893-1927
Swansea: Constitution Hill [3ft 6in]1898-1902

Transporter Bridges



City/Town/District Opened-Closed
Newport, Gwent1906-date
Middlesbrough1911-date
Warrington (private at Crosfield's)1916-date
Widnes-Runcorn1905-1961

'Second Generation' Tramways and Light Railways


All to standard gauge of 4ft 8 1/2in., equal to 3 1/2in. gauge in 1/16 scale.

City/Town/District Opened
Dublin Luas 2004
Edinburgh2014
London: Croydon Tramlink2000
London: Docklands Light Railway1987
Manchester Metrolink1992
Nottingham Express Transit2004
Midland Metro1999
Sheffield Supertram1994
Stourbridge (Parry People Mover)2009
Tyne & Wear Metro1980

Current Tourist Lines



City/Town/District [Gauge] Opened
Birkenhead [4ft 81/2in] 1995
Brighton: Volks Electric Railway [2ft 8 1/2in] 1883
Seaton & District [2ft 9in] 1970

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