Leeds 345 - Centenary celebrations for a tramcar with a proud history

It is the tramcar which transported generations of city folk around Leeds down the decades.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 11:07 am

Saturday, March 27, marks 100 years since vintage tramcar Leeds 345 first entered public service.

It was rebuilt by Leeds City Transport in 1939, which involved a conversion from an open balcony car with reversed stairs, into a fully enclosed tramcar with direct stairs, platform doors and added vestibules.

The original trolley pole was replaced by the current bow collector and new faster motors were also installed. The upper deck bulkheads were removed, and seats upholstered at the

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Leeds 345 in 2020. PIC: Crick Tramway Village

same time.

It was officially withdrawn from service in September 1948, while still in operational condition, the tram as converted into a joiners’ shop for use at Swinegate Depot, the headquarters of Leeds City Tramways.

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It was saved from the scrapyard for preservation by Leeds Transport Historical Society in 1959 before being transported to Crich Tramway Village, home of the National Tramway Museum, in December 1959.

Leeds 345 in 2017. PIC: Crick Tramway Village

In 1963, Leeds 345 was intended for restoration in its original condition as an open-balcony tramcar.

But in 1978 a decision was made to restore it as a ‘Convert’ car, demonstrating the changes made in 1939 to make it look more modern and more comfortable.

After a period in off-site storage, it returned to Crich in 2002 and entered service in 2006 after a full restoration in the Museum’s own workshops.

Subject to a successful commissioning examination, the tram is planned to be in operation during the 2021 season.

Leeds 345 in 2015. PIC: Crick Tramway Village

Malcolm Wright, volunteer at Crich Tramway Village since 1964 and museum board member said: “It is a delightful tram for visitors to enjoy a journey, just as the citizens of Leeds did in the 1930s”.

* In line with current government guidelines, Crich Tramway Village at Matlock in Derbyshire will open outside areas with limited tram rides from Monday, April 12 to Sunday, May 16 and then internal areas from Monday, May 17, with Covid-19 measures in place.

See the website for details: www.tramway.co.uk************************

A message from the Editor:

Leeds 345 in 2002. PIC: Crick Tramway Village

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Thank you

Laura Collins