With many thanks to Paul Rodgers for most of the information on this page
A company with this name was incorporated in December 1879, and under the powers of the Dudley, Sedgley and Wolverhampton Tramways Order of 1880 constructed a horse tramway to standard gauge, but with centre grooved rail, joining Wolverhampton to Dudley (a total of 6 miles) with Sedgley situated equi-distant between the two towns. It ran from Temple Street in Wolverhampton, to Wolverhampton Street, Dudley near the Post Office. The offices and depot were situated between Sedgley and Upper Gornal, at the point where Valley Road now is. The area is still often referred to as "the Depot" The line was opened on 7th May 1883.
Horse Trams ran every hour and a quarter, starting with a workmen's car from Wolverhampton at 6 am. Travel times from Wolverhampton were 35 minutes to Sedgley, 45 minutes to the depot, 50 minutes to Gornal and 60 minutes through to Dudley.
The Company had wanted to operate by steam because Sedgley being situated on a hill was difficult for horses to negoiate. Permission was granted in 1884 for the horses to be replaced by steam traction. This change took place on 16th January 1886 and from that date a 40 minute through service was operated.
The steam trams were manufactured by Kitson & Company and they weighed 82 tons and were built with a maximum width of 5 ft 6 in, as were the passenger trailers.
The trailer cars were double-deck canopy-covered vehicles built by Starbuck & Company. The paintwork was maroon, picked out in gold, with yellow window frames. The staircases were steep and exposed to the elements. In the early 1890s, windows were fitted to the upper decks.
Later engines were fitted with steam brakes to slow the engine when speeds exceeded eight miles per hour. In bad weather on the uphill stretch to Sedgley drivers often had to resort to walking in front of the engine sanding the track to get enough traction to climb the hill.
The original Company went into liquidation in early 1888 and was purchased by Messrs. Oppert and Fell, who subsequently resold it to the newly formed Midland Tramways Co. Ltd. in late 1889.
The new operators also reduced the frequency of the service to hourly. This company was placed in receivership in 1893 and reconstituted as the Dudley and Wolverhampton Tramways Co. Ltd. later in that year.
By the early summer of 1899, the Dudley and Wolverhampton Company, having gone into voluntary liquidation, had been totally acquired by the British Electric Traction Co. Ltd.
Letter very kindly donated by Cliff GODDARD
Locomotive No.2 (built by Kitson & Co) with Car No.4 (built by Starbuck & Co) taken in Dudley Street, Sedgley circa 1885 (the spire of All Saints Church in the background)
Locomotive No.5 (built by Kitson & Co) with Car No.2 showing the upper deck fully glazed. Circa 1890. Taken at the Fighting Cocks cross roads on the northern parish boundary
HONORARY PROVISIONAL LOCAL COMMITTEE.
Mayor of Dudley, H, M. Wainwright, Esq.
George Bagott, Esq., J.P., Alderman, and Chairman of Works Committee of Dudley.
Chairman of the Local Board of Section John Hughes, Esq.
Ex-Chairman of the Local Board of Sedgley and Coseley, Stephen Wilkes, Esq.
Rev, J. Y. Rooker, J.P., Magistrate of Sedgley and Gornal
Joseph Law, Esq., Member of the Local Board of Sedgley.
Henry Wright, Esq., Small Heath, Birmingham, Deputy Chairman of the Gloucester Wagon Company (Limited).
L. Stafford Northcote, Esq., The Elms, Lymington, Hants, Director of the Woolwich and South-East London Tramway Company.
W. A. Barron, Esq. (Assoc. Memb, Inst. Civil Eng.), Althorpe-house, Richmond, Director of the South London Tramways Company.
G. H. Dupuis, Esq. (late Public Works Department, Government of Ludia), e4a. Lansdowne-road, Notting-hill, W.
Bankers - Moses Barnett, Hoares, Hanbury and Lloyd, 62, Lombard- street, E.C.; Lloyd's Banking Company (Limited), Wolverhampton, Dudley, and Birmingham.
Solicitors - H. C. Barker, Esq., 8, Union-court, Old Broad Street, EC.: Messrs, C. B. Hodgson and Price, 13, Waterloo Street, Birmingham.
Engineer - C, L. Light, Esq., C.E.
Broker - W. L. Farrell. Esq. 5, Drapers' gardens, London, E.C., and Stock-Exchange.
Secretary - George Louis Morton, Esq. 0ffice -18, Queen Victoria-street, London, E.C.
The construction, equipment and working of the tramways of this Company were authorized by the Tramway Order Confirmation Act of last year. The lines, which with passing places, Be six and a quarter miles in length. will run from near the centres of Wolverhampton and Dudley, the two most important towns in the South Staffordshire district and will traverse the populous, active, and growing districts lying between the large towns. The terminus in Dudley will be the new General Post-office, and that of Wolverhampton In the immediate proximity of the Agricultural-hall, and near the municipal and other public buildings.
The tramways pass through Upper Gornal, Sedgley, and intermediate districts, Sedgley alone having a population of over 37,000, for whom the existing lines of railway offer no accommodation, the centre of the town of Sedgley being 1½ mile from the railway station.
The tramways will supply a want long felt by the inhabitants, especially by the large numbers who, having business or employment in Dudley or Wolverhampton, are obliged to travel daily to and from those centres of commerce and manufactures, and who are mainly of the class that readily avail themselves of a cheap and pleasant means of inter-communication.
Irrespective of the large population of Dudley and Wolverhampton, the intermediate towns, extending for nearly four miles along the route of the tramway, have an average population of nearly 12,100 per mile, while the aggregate population of the whole district is not less than 180,000 to 200,000, affording ample security for a large and profitable passenger traffic. At present the only travelling facilities provided are omnibuses running irregularly, licensed carts, cabs, and private vehicles, all of which are totally inadequate to the requirements of the districts.
Powers are given for the carriage of parcels and merchandise, by which the revenue will be considerably augmented.
The advantages possessed by tramways running through each populous districts are so numerous that it would be remarkable if they did not pay good dividends; they have none of the special heavy works necessary to the construction of a line of railway, and the permanent way is laid along thepublic thoroughfares thronged with passengers seeking means of conveyance.
The Parliamentary return issued in June last year states that the amount expended upon tramways in Great Britain to the date of the return was £5,665,465. The total receipts for the 12 months amounted to £1,342,933, or 23.59 per cent. of the capital expenditure, and the number of passengers carried was 173,067,103.
Tramway shares, even at the present, return a high average rate of dividends, which compare very favourably with those of railways, and may be expected to gradually improve. The traffic is not to any appreciable extent affected by fluctuations in trade, but increases each year with the population in the vicinity of the lines, and also from a growing appreciation of the easy and cheap method of travelling supplied, and from the other conveniences special to tramways. There is every reason, therefore, to expect that the shares of this company will prove a highly profitable investment.
The rails, which will be of steel, will be laid in such manner as experience has shown will avoid the necessity of any appreciable outlay for renewals and repairs, and the permanent way will be of sufficient solidity for the use of steam power, compressed air, or other motor, for which there is every probability that the necessary consents of the local authorities will be easily obtained.
A contract, dated 19th July, 1881, has been entered into between the Company and William Westhofen for constructing the tramways and stables, and for providing cars, horses, and otherwise equipping the whole of the lines, for the suns of £42,900, including the engineering, parliamentary, legal, and all other expenses incident to obtaining the order. The contractor undertakes to pay interest at the rate of 6 per cent. per annum, to the shareholders on the capital paid up, until the line is finished and ready for traffic.
Should any applicant not receive an allotment, the deposit will be returned in full. If the number of shares allotted be less than applied for, the surplus deposit will be applied towards payment of the amount due upon allotment.
The articles of association and plans, and the contract, can be seen at the Company's offices. Copies of the prospectus and forms of application can be obtained at the office, or from the Broker, Mr. W. L. Farrell, from the Bankers in London, Dudley, Wolverhampton, and Birmingham, and from the Solicitors of the Company.
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