Horses will pull a passenger-filled original Leeds tram along the city’s tracks for the first time in over a century this weekend.
Built in 1898 the double-decker Leeds horse car 107, which has been painstakingly restored after it was found being used as a summerhouse in an East End Park garden during the 1970s, will return to the rails at Middleton Railway’s Festival of Transport.
Around 10 volunteers from the Leeds Transport Historical Society (LTHS) have spent eight years reviving the tram that ran went out of service the same year that Queen Victoria died.
The tram, which was initially salvaged by the society in 1977 and then stored at a Whitkirk garage, will star at Middleton Railway’s bank holiday event at its station in Moor Road, Hunslet.
The project’s manager Jamie Guest, 60, from Gildersome, said: “It’s quite a momentous occasion – it’s the last remaining Leeds horse tram.
“The bodies of the other trams would have been sold off as storage sheds and the scrap metal recycled.”
He said that Leeds horse car 107, which cost £45,000 to bring back to its former glory, will be displayed at the National Tramway Museum, in Derbyshire, after the event.
The 20ft-long, 7ft-high tram spent three years taking up to 34 passengers at a time along the Leeds tramways.
The restoration began eight years ago and when its chassis and top deck needed fitting it was sent to Middleton last year.
Mr Guest, who is still helping to put the finishing touches to the tram, said: “When I first saw it at the back of a garage in Whitkirk covered in blue paint as just a shed, even then I felt that it wanted something doing to it.
“So to see it now as a fully restored vehicle capable of carrying passengers again after 112 years is brilliant.”
LTHS members are now looking into building a replica of the very first electric tram that ran in Leeds in 1891.
Leeds horse car 107 will be on static display at Middleton Railway on Saturday before being pulled by horses there on Sunday and Monday.
Andrew Gill, chairman of the Middleton Railway Trust, said: “The piece of railway track it will run on is only about three or four metres away from the original Middleton tram track, so we are recreating history almost on the original tramline.”
The Festival of Transport will also feature traction engines, displays, real ale, hot food, workshops and the chance to drive one of the railway’s locomotives for £5.
A vintage bus service will link the event to Armley Mills, where a Hunslet 0-4-0WT steam locomotive will run.
For information visit: www.middletonrailway.org.uk
Formed in 1956, the Leeds Transport Historical Society has been involved in saving and restoring six self propelled Leeds trams.
All six salvaged trams are at the National Tramway Museum, in Crich, Derbyshire.
The society meets on the second Monday of each month between September and June.
Visit: www.lths.org.uk for details.