South Staffordshire Tramways



Owner South Staffordshire and Birmingham District Steam Tramways Company Ltd
Opened 16th July 1883 (steam)
Operator South Staffordshire and Birmingham District Steam Tramways Company Ltd
Name changed 1889 (re-formed as the South Staffordshire Tramways Co Ltd)
First electric route 1st January 1893
Operator Electric Construction Corporation Ltd (electric services only)
Taken over 29th July 1897 (British Electric Traction Company Ltd) - ECCLtd's interest in the SSTCoLtd
Taken over (operation) 1897 (British Electric Traction Company Ltd) - all the ECCLtd's electric services
Taken over (operation) 31st July 1899 (South Staffordshire Tramways [Lessee] Company Ltd - a subsidiary of the British Electric Traction Company Ltd) - BET-owned electrified lines
Taken over (operation) 1st February 1900 (South Staffordshire Tramways [Lessee] Company Ltd) - all remaining SSTCoLtd steam-worked services
Taken over (ownership) 23rd June 1900 (South Staffordshire Tramways [Lessee] Company Ltd) - all lines leased by the SSTCoLtd
Taken over 1st January 1901 (Walsall Corporation) - all track within municipal boundary; leased back to the SST (Lessee) Co Ltd for a period of 3 years
Taken over 31st January 1901 (West Bromwich Corporation) - all track within municipal boundary; leased back to the SST (Lessee) Co Ltd for a period of 21 years
Taken over 5th June 1903 (Handsworth UDC) - all track within municipal boundary; leased back to the SST (Lessee) Co Ltd for a period of 8 years
Taken over (operation) 1st January 1904 (Walsall Corporation) - 5.25 miles of track within the corporation's boundary, on expiration of the SSTLCoLtd lease
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
Taken over 3rd May 1906 (Wednesbury Corporation) - all track within municipal boundary; leased back to the SST (Lessee) Co Ltd for a period of 30 years
Taken over 1st September 1909 (Dudley Corporation) - all track within municipal boundary; leased back to the SSTLCoLtd for a period of 21 years
Taken over (operation) 1st July 1911 (Birmingham Corporation) - Handsworth UDC owned lines (on expiry of the lease)
Taken over (operation) 1st April 1924 (Birmingham Corporation) - West Bromwich owned lines (on expiry of the lease)
Taken over (operation) 1st April 1924 (Wolverhampton District Electric Tramways - Darlaston to Wednesbury, Wednesbury to Walsall, and Darlaston to Walsall lines; Dudley, Stourbridge and District Electric Tramways - Wednesbury to Dudley line). Both companies were subsidiaries of the British Electric Traction Company Ltd
Taken over 1st October 1930 (Walsall Corporation) - Darlaston and Wednesbury lines, the last remnant of the BET-owned Birmingham and Midland Tramways Joint Committee; operated since the demise of the WDET (31st August 1928) by Dudley, Stourbridge and District Electric Tramways
Length 23.07 miles
Gauge 3ft 6ins

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.