Peter tracks story of second hand trams

A Shropshire author is aiming for tram-endous success with his latest book which shines the spotlight on second hand trams.

Transport historian Peter Waller of Shrewsbury
Transport historian Peter Waller of Shrewsbury

Peter Waller from Shrewsbury was written a number of books about trams and transport subjects, and in this new work he tells how, while the vast majority of electric tramcars saw out their operational lives with a single owner, for several hundred there was a second, and in some cases a third career, with a new operator.

He explains how almost from the dawn of the electric era in the late 19th century tramcars were loaned or bought and sold between operators, for many reasons.

Sometimes the aspirations of the original owners for traffic proved wildly optimistic and the fleet was downsized.

War was a further cause as operators sought to strengthen their fleets to cater for unexpectedly high level of demand or to replace trams destroyed by enemy action.

For other operators, modernisation represented an opportunity to sell older cars while, from the 1930s, a number of operators – such as Aberdeen, Leeds and Sunderland – took advantage of the demise of tramways elsewhere to supplement their fleet with trams that were being withdrawn but which still had many years of useful operational life in them.

Peter provides a pictorial history to the many electric trams that were to operate with more than one tramway during the period up to the closure of the Glasgow system in 1962.

Brought up in Bradford, Peter grew up as the trolleybus network there gradually declined. Moving to Shropshire in 2007, he is now a full-time author and editor.

He is also a director and secretary of the Online Transport Archive, a director of Shrewsbury Dial-a-Ride, chairman of the West Shropshire Talking Newspaper, a committee member of the National Railway Heritage Awards and a past president of the Rotary Club of Shrewsbury.

Published by Pen & Sword, "Britain's Second Hand Trams" is 184 pages, hardback, and costs £25.

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