Gosport & Fareham Tram 11

Gosport & Fareham Tram 11, Fareham Post Office

Gosport in Hampshire is a town on the south coast of England lying on the western side of Portsmouth Harbour, opposite the city of Portsmouth to which it is linked by a ferry, and Fareham is a town about four miles to the north-west. Gosport has had a long and strong association with the Royal Navy stretching back to at least the 17th century, although today greatly diminished. It is still home to HMS Sultan, a shore base which is the main Royal Navy establishment for engineering.

Courtesy of a subsidiary of the Provincial Tramways Company, horse trams came to Gosport in 1882 when a short 3ft-gauge line opened which was soon extended to run from Gosport Beach to Brockhurst, a distance of 2¼ miles.

As early as 1901 there were plans to replace the horse tramway with an electric one but, because of delays, public service did not start until January 1906. The statutory owner was the Portsmouth Street Tramways Company (a subsidiary of the Provincial Tramways Company) but it used the trading name of "Gosport & Fareham Tramways".

The electric tramway was laid to 4ft 7¾in gauge and comprised a route length of 7¾ miles. The main route was extended north from the original Brockhurst horse tram terminus to Fareham Station, via Hoeford where the eight-road depot and power station were built.

Rolling stock consisted of 22 double-deck, open-top cars with delivery in three batches. Cars 1-12 were built in 1905 by Brush for the opening of the Fareham route and had Brush 21E trucks. There was seating for 22 inside and 33 upstairs. Cars 13-18 were later deliveries of the same type but were followed later in 1906 by similar cars 19-22 which were built by Milnes Voss & Company on Mountain & Gibson 21EM trucks.

The tramway operated uneventfully until 1929 when the system was cut back in stages until the last tram (No.1!) ran on 31 December 1929, services being replaced by buses. Seven trams then passed to the nearby Portsdown & Horndean Light Railway and another six went to the Great Grimsby Street Tramways Company, both companies being part of the Provincial Tramways Company.

Our postcard shows tram 11 at Fareham Post Office as it turns into West Street from Portland Street (out of view to the right) for the final half-mile run, through two passing loops, to the terminus close to Fareham Station. It hints at the emerald green and cream livery of all the parent company's trams, although the green is shown somewhat darker in this picture. The card was published by William Smith of Gosport as part of a short series highlighting the new trams in 1906. This example was posted from Fareham to Gosport in October 1906 bearing birthday greetings for a Mrs Wilkins. The picture would have been taken earlier in the year, probably just after the tram service had commenced.

The post-1929 fate of tram 11 is unknown, other than it was presumably and ultimately scrapped, but it was not one of those transferred to the Portsdown & Horndean Light Railway for further service.

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