London United Tramways Cars 81 and 133

London United Tramways Cars 81 and 133, Shepherd's Bush

This postcard shows Shepherd's Bush Tram Terminus with London United Tramways car 81 on the left bound for Kew Bridge and Hounslow, and car 133 on the right on the Uxbridge route. The postcard is No.901 in the "Empire Series", London, and was posted on the 5th September 1905, but dates from about one year earlier. Note the misprint "Shepsherd's" in its caption.

Tram 81 is of the series 1-100 open top cars, known after 1914 as type "Z". They were built in 1901 to an order placed in 1899 with British Thomson-Houston Co. Ltd. Trucks were "maximum traction" type 14D2 from the Peckham Motor Truck & Wheel Co. They had two 25 horse power BTH GE58 motors and BTH B18 controllers, which as BTH had not at this time started manufacture in the UK, were made by the General Electric Company at Schenectady, USA. Body construction was sub-contracted to Hurst, Nelson & Co. Ltd. of Motherwell, Lanarkshire. They seated 69, 30 on the lower deck, 39 on the upper. In 1910, 66 cars were fitted with top covers, these being classified in 1914 as type "Y". The colour for these cars was Venetian red and white, with gold and red lining.

During 1909 and 1910 car 52 of this type (see Historic Photo) was fitted with a three axle radial truck of 12 foot wheelbase from British Radial Axle Cars Ltd., designed by Thomas Walter Barber of South Norwood. The centre axle with smaller wheels "steered" the end ones. A similar truck (possibly the same one modified to 11 foot wheelbase) was tried from 1911 to 1913 under sand car 05 of the Metropolitan Electric Tramways.

Car 133 was of type "X" which has been described elsewhere. (see postcard of Car 135).

Although later all LUT trams were painted vermilion and white, at the commencement of electric tramways they were coloured according to route, to aid recognition by those who were illiterate. From the Shepherd's Bush and Hammersmith inner London termini, the Southall and Uxbridge Road route cars were at first white and from 1904 when Uxbridge was reached yellow and white. Cars to Kew Bridge and Hounslow were red and white. Trams that went to Twickenham and Hampton Court via Chiswick and Brentford (type "W" 151-300) were royal blue and white.

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