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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

An English Electric Tram in the snow

Well not quite on Blackpool promenade. Actually a postwar view of one of the more unusual exports from Preston - a bogie car on the Dombrowa - Sosnowicz line in southwest Poland. This was one of a small batch of trams built in the late 1920s for a line which formed part of a mining company operation owned by Scottish investors at Dombrowa. The service connected with trams operating from Kattowitz (as it was then in Germany) - the principal town in the equivalent of the UK's 'Black Country' network.

The square ended cab design was very much an English Electric style of the mid 1920s. with Dearne & District's single deck fleet being good examples. Several of these even found their way on to Blackpool's tramway after their purchase by Lytham St Annes on the quick demise of that shortlived Yorkshire system. Fitted on to two axle trucks with wooden bench seating they were banished from operating into Blackpool by Walter Luff following a brief off-season period which saw the utilitarian cars run as far as the Gynn. The Polish examples had evidently far more substantial bodywork and transverse seating - with winter temperatures notably colder than in the UK plus generous snowfall - Poland's trams were definitely more robust.

Image : John Woodman Archive

Similar styled trams also built by English Electric (with matching trailers) were supplied to a suburban operation in the Warsaw area. All of the trams continued in service through the war years and into the 1960s - but as far as the author is aware no examples have survived. These were the only UK built trams to have found their way to 'mitteleuropa'. English Electric was also responsible for supplying a large scale electrification and power distribution network for the Polish authorities and railways in Warsaw during the same period. This was at a time when the UK government was encouraging British companies to export to new markets (sounds familiar?) by providing special lines of credit to underpin important contracts.

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