Birmingham and Midland Tramways / Birmingham and Midland Tramways Joint Committee



Owner Birmingham and Midland Tramways Ltd
Opened 6th July 1885 (steam)
Operator Birmingham and Midland Tramways Ltd (which took over ownership of lines from the constructor, the Birmingham and Western Districts Tramway Company Ltd, as they were completed); the Summer Row to Cape Hill portion of the tramway was operated under a lease agreement from the owners, Birmingham Corporation
Taken over (operation) 20th May 1893 (Mr B Crowther) - Spon Lane and Bromford Lane services in West Bromwich (horse)
Taken over (company) August 1899 (British Electric Traction Company Ltd)
Taken over (track) 1902 (West Bromwich Corporation) - all track within the municipal boundary; subsequently leased back to the company for a period of 21 years
Taken over (track) 1902 (Oldbury Urban District Council) - lines within the municipal boundary; leased back to the company for 35 years
Taken over (track) 1903 (Smethwick Urban District Council) - lines within the municipal boundary; leased back to the company for 21 years
Last horse service 3rd November 1903
First electric service November 1903 (worked by cars of the BETCo-owned South Staffordshire Tramways [Lessee] Company Limited)
Took over 1st July 1904 (City of Birmingham Tramways Co Ltd; Dudley, Stourbridge and District Electric Traction Co Ltd; Kinver Light Railway; South Staffordshire Tramways [Lessee] Company Limited; Wolverhampton District Electric Tramways Ltd) all controlled by BETCo and administered by the newly formed Birmingham and Midland Tramways Joint Committee
Last steam service 23rd November 1904
Taken over (track) 1st January 1909 (Dudley Corporation) - lines within the municipal boundary; leased back to the company for 30 years
Name changed 13th August 1912 (to the Birmingham and District Power and Traction Company Ltd)
Took over October 1915 (Kidderminster and District Electric Light and Traction Co Ltd)
Taken over (operation) 1st April 1928 (Birmingham Corporation) - main line to Dudley
Taken over (operation) 1st April 1928 (Dudley, Stourbridge and District Electric Traction Co Ltd) - last remaining B&MT services
Name changed 1929 (to the Birmingham and District Investments Trusts Ltd)
Ceased tramway ownership 30th September 1939 (on the closure of the Birmingham to Dudley line, which had been leased to Birmingham Corporation since 1928)
Length 12.87 miles (B&MT)
Gauge 3ft 6ins

Button description (Pattern 1) Title (‘BIRMINGHAM & MIDLAND TRAMWAYS LD) within a border, with a plain centre
Materials known Nickel
Button Line reference [None]

Button description (Pattern 2) Wheel, magnet and electrical flashes
Materials known Brass; chrome; black horn
Button Line reference [113/16]

Comment The Pattern 1 button was probably worn by steam tram conductors from 1885 through to around 1890, when the company appears to have ceased to issue uniforms. The British Electric Traction Company (owner from 1899) had a common approach to all its subsidiaries, so staff working the electric services (from 1903 onwards) would have worn uniforms bearing BETCo 'Magnet and Wheel' buttons.

The history of BETCo-owned tramways in the Black Country is a complex one. The BETCo 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, BETCo transferred all its shares in these other companies to the Birmingham and Midland Tramways Ltd, 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 Ltd)
- City of Birmingham Tramways (via the City of Birmingham Tramways Company Ltd)
- Dudley, Stourbridge and District Electric Tramways (via the Dudley, Stourbridge and District Electric Traction Company Ltd)
- Kidderminster and Stourport Electric Tramway (via Kidderminster and District Electric Light and Traction Company 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, the numerous local authorities, many of whom had their own ambitions. This was ultimately to cause the downfall of the Committee, with its last lines, worked by the DS&DETCo being handed over to Walsall Corporation in 1930.