Constructed under the 1877 Wolverhampton Tramways Order and operated by the Wolverhampton Tramways Co. Ltd., this 4ft 8½ins standard gauge horse tramway opened on the 1st May 1878.
The initial route ran from Queen Square in Wolverhampton to Tettenhall (Newbridge) along Tettenhall Road.
On the 6th June 1878, a second line from the town centre (Queen Street) to Willenhall along Willenhall Road opened and, in July 1878, a third route from Queen Street to Bilston commenced, extended to Moxley in August of the same year.
The main depot was in Darlington Street adjacent to Queen Square, with later depots built at Newbridge and Moxley. The initial rolling stock consisted of single-horse single-deck cars, which were later supplemented by two-horse double-deckers, liveried in maroon (?) and cream.
From May to November 1881 an experimental Hughes steam tram loco operated on the Tettenhall section, but steam ceased when the local authority refused to extend the trial period.
On the 1st May 1900, Wolverhampton Corporation purchased those sections of the tramway that lay within its boundary, whilst the BET purchased those sections outside the borough under the name of the ‘Bilston & District Tramways’.
This Company was subsequently purchased by a newly formed BET company – the Wolverhampton District Electric Tramways Ltd – on the 1st February 1901.
|Stephenson or Hughes||18 or 22|
The double-deckers up to and including No. 24 had ‘knifeboard’ seats, whilst subsequent double-deckers had ‘garden’ seats.
Withdrawn by 1890 (9, 12-13, 15, 17); remainder unknown (but at least 17 cars were taken over by Wolverhampton Corporation in 1900).
In preparing this history reference has been made to the following sources;
The Directory of British Tramways (Keith Turner, PSL 1996); PSV Circle Fleet History 2PD2 (1979).