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Birmingham Trams

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
There you go:p
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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Re: Accidents
Here is a picture of the Tram accident 1st Oct 1907, info states tram overturned when brakes failed and as the tram gathered speed a lot of the passengers were injured who jumped off
Attached Thumbnails
This is a picture from Illustrated London News October 1907. There is a detailed report in the Birmingham Daily Gazette. Turning from Warstones Lane into Ickneild St.

Some months before the same car, Number No.22, overturned at the top of the hill, near Frederick St.
717E81D0-745B-40AD-9AD0-8B728382CAC6.jpeg
 

Radiorails

master brummie
The seems to be some discrepancy in the report, if the information - confirmed by two different sources - is correct.
Car 22 was on an Edmund Street - Lodge Road service on 1st. October 1907. (route No. 32 - route numbers introduced January 1915). Travelling down steep Warstone Lane, as reported, the magnetic brake failed. Control was lost and as it failed to negotiate the curve into Hingeston Street it overturned. Two men were killed (surnamed James, from Holte Street, Witton), with seventeen injured.
In the various photographs of this accident the large crowds are quite noticeable. How different with road closures barriers and tapes of today. The substantial damage was repaired and the tram survived, with modifications, until 1930 - 1937. I cannot find any record of the tram being in a previous accident.
 
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Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
nice avatar alan...good to see a few members entering into the spirit..i would give you a smiley face but the the smilies dont seem to be working for me

lyn
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
The seems to be some discrepancy in the report, if the information - confirmed by two different sources - is correct.
Car 22 was on an Edmund Street - Lodge Road service on 1st. October 1910. (route No. 32 - route numbers introduced January 1915). Travelling down steep Warstone Lane, as reported, the magnetic brake failed. Control was lost and as it failed to negotiate the curve into Hingeston Street it overturned. Two men were killed (surnamed James, from Holte Street, Witton), with seventeen injured.
In the various photographs of this accident the large crowds are quite noticeable. How different with road closures barriers and tapes of today. The substantial damage was repaired and the tram survived, with modifications, until 1930 - 1937. I cannot find any record of the tram being in a previous accident.
The picture is from the Illustrated London News, but the section of the report shown is from the Birmingham Daily Gazette....E8BCA6E1-82D9-456F-B730-254CECF086B7.jpeg260E17F7-6376-4C72-8C1F-AD9A23033DBD.jpeg

I will post the details of the previous accident later.
 

Radiorails

master brummie
Nothing I have read in the cities tram history mentions this 1906 accident. It seems not to have been considered serious, such as the later one in 1907 was. I do not believe the car overturned - journalists licence I am sure - it did come to rest against walls which would have saved it from tipping over. The details of damage to the car appears very slight, just a few broken windows and the passenger injuries are quoted as light. Comparison with the apparent damage to the car in the 1907 accident suggests this was reasonably minor. The 1907 accident has been recorded as the first major tramway accident and resulted in a Board of Trade enquiry on the 10th. October which established the cause - i.e. failure of magnetic brake due to faulty rheostat.
Alfred Baker twice visited Leeds to look at an alternative magnetic brake used there. The BOT approved the fitting of this other brake to only three cars, but it was hoped that all of the class would be fitted with it.
I know others here have information and knowledge so it would be of interest to get to the bottom of this earlier accident.
 
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Pedrocut

Master Barmy
Nothing I have read in the cities tram history mentions this 1906 accident. It seems not to have been considered serious, such as the later one in 1910 was. I do not believe the car overturned - journalists licence I am sure - it did come to rest against walls which would have saved it from tipping over. The details of damage to the car appears very slight, just a few broken windows and the passenger injuries are quoted as light. Comparison with the apparent damage to the car in the 1910 accident suggests this was reasonably minor. The 1910 accident has been recorded as the first major tramway accident and resulted in a Board of Trade enquiry on the 10th. October which established the cause - i.e. failure of magnetic brake due to faulty rheostat.
Alfred Baker twice visited Leeds to look at an alternative magnetic brake used there. The BOT approved the fitting of this other brake to only three cars, but it was hoped that all of the class would be fitted with it.
I know others here have information and knowledge so it would be of interest to get to the bottom of this earlier accident.
The two accidents were October 1906 and October 1907. The 1907 was overturned as the picture shows. I will look for a report of a 1910 accident.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
I cannot find a mention of a tram overturn in 1910, but this does not mean one didn't occur. But October 1907 does seem to be the first electric tram overturn, if you discount October 1906 as false reporting. In November 1906 the Corporation issued a statement shown below.
ED1DFD64-5E2C-4BB8-8C2C-7497CA1EA173.jpeg

I don't now think that the Gazette report for the October 1907 overturn was journalistic licence as a more detailed report appears later. The Tramway Manager's attention was drawn to the fact that the car was said to be the same as that overturned in the previous accident in Warstone Lane, and observed that the statement was correct. "It is merely a coincidence, since the first accident the car has been running smoothly, and nothing had gone wrong with it."
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
So the question remains. On what date did the first electrical tram overturn in Birmingham, and of course did the tram in the October 1906 accident actually overturn?

On the 3rd of November 1906 there is a report that the Tramways Committee had attributed cause of the accident to be excessive speed. But no further details.

It could be possible that the October 1906 accident did not make the record books due to the dozen passengers only receiving minor injuries. The Birmingham Mail report says that the tram proceeded some distance down Warstone Lane and overturned on the pavement near the cemetery. The Birmingham Gazette describes it as an accident of unprecedented nature. The tram jumped the metals and toppled over....after swaying for a couple of seconds the vehicle lurched over to its side and crashed down on the pavement within yards of a shop window.

It is now up to the experts to disprove!
 

Radiorails

master brummie
View attachment 129227View attachment 129228
The previous overturned tram was Sat 20th October 1906
This report suggests the car 'had a very narrow escape by dashing into buildings on the cemetery side'.
Reporting from the nearest pub was not uncommon - probably still is. The cemetery is a distance from the Frederick Street/Warstone Lane junction and what buildings, if any, were on the cemetery side?
In the report Alfred Baker mentioned covered cars and complaints about open topped cars. Did they also complain about open top buses? It was not until the eraly 1920's that BCT had buses with a roof. ;)
There is a lot of curious things in these reports, but it is strange that one year later photographs portray a tramcar accident, in the same area and route, but none seem to exist of this 1906 one.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
More info (fake news?) on the 1906 accident.

Press Representative interviewed Mr Albert Baker, Birmingham Tramways Manager.

At the spot where the accident happened the drivers are supposed to slacken down to walking pace, 4 mph. From inquiries made the Department had reason to believe that the driver was going at a rate of 12 or 14 mph... "There was absolutely nothing wrong with the machinery of the car, and there is no defect whatsoever in the metals or roadway at the spot where the mishap occurred.”
 

Radiorails

master brummie
I wonder who the Albert Baker was that they interviewed.
Alfred Baker was apponinted General Manager of the Birmingham Corporation Tramways Department in 1903. He was previously Chief Officer of London County Council Tramways.
 

Lloyd

master brummie
I wonder who the Albert Baker was that they interviewed.
Alfred Baker was apponinted General Manager of the Birmingham Corporation Tramways Department in 1903. He was previously Chief Officer of London County Council Tramways.
Journalistic error. It would have been Alfred Baker.
 

Radiorails

master brummie
There was another tram accident near Aston Parish church in March 1940. Car 714 overturned after unsuccessfully negotiating the turn into Witton Lane at Park Road when the driver lost control of the car. The subsequent inquiry sated that the driver had failed to stop at the compulsory stop on the hill of Park Lane? Apparently the upper deck and roof 'broke apart'. Thirty passengers were injured. 714 was withdrawn - presumably broken up.
 
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Pedrocut

Master Barmy
There was another tram accident near Aston Parish church in March 1940. Car 714 overturned after unsuccessfully negotiating the turn into Witton Lane at Park Road when the driver lost control of the car. The subsequent inquiry sated that the driver had failed to stop at the compulsory stop on the hill of Park Lane? Apparently the upper deck and roof 'broke apart'. Thirty passengers were injured. 714 was withdrawn - presumably broken up.
Screenshot 2018-12-03 at 20.10.56.jpeg
 

Radiorails

master brummie
The photo does, in fact show the roof and top deck damage very well. Interesting that a steam crane presumably from Oldbury, was required. Why wasn't BCT's own equipment used, I wonder?
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
Have found a couple more pictures and will post later. The inquiry is proving a bit hard to find.

"...by a coincidence, the tram crashed into a part of the wall at Aston Parish Church where a similar accident occurred 4 or 5 years ago. On that occasion a tram was being tested and did not contain passengers."
 
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