Ryde tram gifted to Wight steam railway

A 107-YEAR-OLD tram has been gifted to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway and is now on display at Havenstreet station.

The standard gauge vehicle is the only surviving example of a tram built by Pollard and Sons, carriage and motor car builders of Hill Street, Ryde.

Although the body was new in 1911, the tram incorporated running gear from one of the 1871-built Starbuck cars which had been converted to electric traction in 1886. The tram was designed to carry 20 passengers along the east track of the half-mile of Ryde Pier to make ferry connections to the mainland.

The 1911-built Ryde Pier tram is on display at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway’s Train Story Discovery Centre at Havenstreet. JOHN FAULKNER

Following withdrawal in 1927, the underframe was scrapped, but the body was sold off. It spent much of the next 90 years being used as a holiday chalet in Brighstone and then a chicken coop, ending its days at Grange Farm, Brighstone, before being saved.

In 1978, the body was offered for sale by auction. The IoWSR considered bidding, but funds were extremely limited and storage space at a premium. Bernard Pratt, a senior lecturer at the Isle of Wight College and a supporter of the IoWSR, who was also a county councillor, purchased the body for £2 and arranged for it to be taken to the IW College, where it was restored under a Manpower Services Commission Youth Training scheme.

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