Author Topic: Trams in Gillingham  (Read 158 times)

Offline Smiffy

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Re: Trams in Gillingham
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2021, 01:08:50 AM »

According to "Maidstone and Chatham Tramways" published by Middleton Press, Maidstone trams finished on 11th February 1930 when the last remaining tram route was closed. April 1967 saw the end of the trolley bus service.

The Medway tram system came to an end on 30th September 1930.

Offline Pete

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Re: Trams in Gillingham
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2021, 06:47:31 PM »
They were still running 1964 I used to go from Oakwood Rd to Maidstone GS for 1.5d

Offline grandarog

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Re: Trams in Gillingham
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2021, 04:29:26 PM »
Dave Smith ,I thought the old Brown corporation Trolley Bus,s with overhead wires.were operational from the 1930's running out to loose and along Sutton road.


Offline Pete

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Re: Trams in Gillingham
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2021, 01:52:19 PM »
The one good thing about the Maidstone trollies was that they kept going through the floodwater. I remember going over the bridge when it flooded from the Pie shop to Wilkinsons, water just creeping onto the platform. The bad thing was when they u turned at the Monument and the pickups came off and the bus was stuck in the middle of the road while the conductor pulled out the long bamboo with a hook on it to refit to te overheads. IIRC some of the M/stone buses went to Bournemouth

Offline MartinR

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Re: Trams in Gillingham
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2021, 12:52:55 PM »
It is mainly problems with the overhead.  For a summary see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolleybus#Disadvantages
The overhead is more complex that for trams, two wires are required instead of one.  When trolleybuses were in use in the UK battery technology was at a much earlier state than today and the only way to allow trolley buses of the wire was to use a heavy lead-acid battery with limited range.  With limited on-board batteries any attempt to divert around roadworks or to take a non-standard route could be a problem.Unfortunately the book I have on trolley buses is (1) American based and (2) stops at the outbreak of war (1941 over there).  The 1960 revision chickens out with "To discuss adequately the various postwar developments would require a major addition to this book", I'm afraid Wiki is the best explanation.

Offline Dave Smith

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Re: Trams in Gillingham
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2021, 12:20:40 PM »
grandarog. A different animal entirely, on rubber tyres for starters, so smooth running & quiet. When I returned to Kent in '66/68, there were no trolley's in Maidstone & they hadn't been introduced when I left home in 1947. I often wondered why trolley's were discontinued- electric power would now be all the rage! I suppose it was the expense of putting in the overhead power cables & their maintenance ( I'm sure someone will correct me?). In the 50's/60's I lived in W. London & trolley buses were very prevalent.  castle261. Do you remember the noise & rattling & juddering? If not, definitely not a tram!

Offline grandarog

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Re: Trams in Gillingham
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2021, 06:13:26 PM »
The only trams I can remember were at Maidstone .They were really trolley bus,s with over head wires ,Not on tracks tracks .


Offline castle261

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Re: Trams in Gillingham
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2021, 05:33:43 PM »
i may have been on a tram age 3 I remember the seats on the top deck had a bar across the seats,
which were reversed by pulling the bar forward - making that bar where you rested your back, on
the return journey - May have been M&D bus with no centre corridor - on top deck ?

Offline MartinR

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Re: Trams in Gillingham
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2021, 12:37:19 PM »
Dave, the reason I asked about links is so that I check the facts and get the WP article corrected for you.  Obviously you must have had the links at some time, but if you would care to share them with the forum on this thread then it might be helpful.

Offline Dave Smith

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Re: Trams in Gillingham
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2021, 12:23:14 PM »
Stewie. Thinking about it, I have no actual knowledge of the situation, I wonder whether the trams were on an out & back with the one driver to & from Rainham? How long would that leg have taken? I'm sure the schedule wouldn't have been every 10/15 minutes? As you say, & I remember, fog was quite usual, especially in the evenings. Maybe the passing loops were there in case one broke down? More questions than answers I'm afraid!

Offline Dave Smith

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Re: Trams in Gillingham
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2021, 12:05:48 PM »
MartinR. I did at one point, hence my comments.

Offline Stewie

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Re: Trams in Gillingham
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2021, 06:16:12 PM »

Thanks for that memory Dave, the only trams  have ever been on are those on the Blackpool and Croydon networks and I guess these are a world away from the Medway trams which look like real 'boneshakers'!  Being a retired railway signalling engineer, I am interested to know how the long section to Rainham was worked. This section was a single reversible line with regularly spaced passing loops. There was no 'signalling' provided so presumably to prevent two trams coming to a face off mid section, the operation relied on the driver using 'line of sight' to determine if their route to the next passing loop was clear. This must have been more difficult in foggy or dark conditions and I wondered if this is why the Medway trams had their headlamp on the upper level for better visibility when on other networks it tends to be below the driver's position.
Presumably to stop two impetuous tram drivers both going for the single line simultaneously, the traffic in one direction must always have had priority perhaps? The operation could have been by timetable but this method fails when an 'expected' tram fails to run.

Offline MartinR

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Re: Trams in Gillingham
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2021, 06:15:40 PM »
Do you have links to the wikipedia article and to the Rochester article?

Offline Dave Smith

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Trams in Gillingham
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2021, 05:56:24 PM »
I notice on Wikepeda? they say the last trams were in 1930, although the Rochester site says 1932. Well, I can remember travelling with my Dad on the top deck in the front of an open top tram, along Gillingham High Street, from Canterbury Street toward the train station. It was very noisy, windy & rattley but I had a sense of euphoria that I well remember- I'm pretty sure I was standing holding on to the front handrail. I was born in April, 1930 so W. is wrong & my memory as a 2 + ( it was daylight but nights were drawing in, so probably Autumn/early Winter) year old just about fits the Rochester Archive. I can also see in my minds eye, the conductor with a long pole, switching the overhead arms from one set of cables to another set. That is definitely my earliest memory.