Wolverhampton District Electric Tramways



Owner Wolverhampton and District Electric Tramways Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of British Electric Traction Company Ltd)
Took over 1st February 1901 (lines of the former Dudley and Wolverhampton Tramways Company owned by BET)
Operator Dudley, Stourbridge and District Electric Traction Co Ltd
Took over 1st February 1901 (lines of the former Wolverhampton Tramways Company, closed for reconstruction, but owned by BET)
Took over January/February 1902 - all services previous worked by the DS&ETCoLtd
Operator Wolverhampton District Electric Tramways Company Ltd
Ownership transferred 1st July 1904 (to Birmingham and Midland Tramways Ltd - another BET-owned entity) and administered by the newly formed Birmingham and Midland Tramways Joint Committee
Took over (operation) 1st April 1924 (South Staffordshire Tramways [Lessee] Co Ltd - a subsidiary of the British Electric Traction Company Ltd) - Darlaston to Wednesbury, Wednesbury to Walsall, and Darlaston to Walsall lines
Taken over 14th August 1925 (Wolverhampton Corporation) - Fighting Cocks to Dudley line
Taken over (operation) 1st October 1925 (Walsall Corporation) - WIllenhall to Darlaston line
Taken over 9th August 1926 (Wolverhampton Corporation) - Deans Rd to Willenhall line
Taken over 27th August 1928 (Wolverhampton Corporation) - Stow Heath Lane to Bilston line
Taken over 31st August 1928 (Wolverhampton Corporation) - remaining Wolverhampton lines
Taken over 31st August 1928 (Dudley, Stourbridge and District Electric Traction Co Ltd - the only BET-owned tramway company left in the area) - Willenhall to Darlaston line (operated by Walsall Corporation Tramways) and former South Staffordshire lines
Length 14.67 miles
Gauge 3ft 6ins; 4ft 8½ins

Button description
Wheel, magnet and electrical flashes
Materials known Brass; chrome; black horn
Button Line reference [113/16]

Comment BET had a common approach to all its subsidiaries (with the exception of its London operations), so staff working the electric services (from 1903 onwards) would have worn the standard BET 'Magnet and Wheel' button. It is currently unclear what uniforms were worn prior to 1899, and by staff working the steam services up until their discontinuation..

The history of BET-owned tramways in the Black Country is a complex one. BET essentially started by purchasing shares in Birmingham and Midland Tramways Ltd (steam) and then rapidly expanded their influence by gaining control of several other key tramways. On 1st July 1904, BET transferred its shares in these other companies to the Birmingham and Midland Tramways Co Ltd, a company which it directly controlled. The six systems were from then on operated by the Birmingham and Midland Tramways Joint Committee, which comprised board members of the individual concerns:

- Birmingham and Midland Tramways (via the Birmingham and Midland Tramways Co Ltd)
- City of Birmingham Tramways (via the City of Birmingham Tramways Co Ltd)
- Dudley, Stourbridge and District Electric Tramways (via the Dudley, Stourbridge and District Electric Traction Co Ltd)
- Kidderminster and Stourport Electric Tramway (via Kidderminster and District Electric Light and Traction Co Ltd) - from October 1915
- Kinver Light Railway (owned by the DSDET)
- South Staffordshire Tramways (via the South Staffordshire Tramways [Lessee] Company Limited)
- Wolverhampton District Electric Tramways (via Wolverhampton District Electric Tramways Ltd)

The B&MTJC worked both in conjunction, as well as in competition with, its many local authorities, many of whom had their own ambitions. This was ultimately to cause the downfall of the Committee, with its last lines being handed over to Walsall Corporation in 1930.