100-year-old vintage tramcar Leeds 345 has a new home at Crich Tramway Village

It is 100 years since the Leeds 345 trundled on to the tram tracks of Leeds.

And though the vintage tramcar has long since left public service in the city, it now has a new home at Crich Tramway Village near Matlock in Derbyshire, where it still plies its trade for an adoring public.

It has been an eventful 100 years for the 345. In 1939 it was rebuilt by Leeds City Transport, which involved a conversion from an open-balcony car 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 installed.

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But despite the extensive work, it was withdrawn from service on September 17 1948, while still in operational condition, and converted into a joiners’ shop for use at Swinegate Depot, the headquarters of Leeds City Tramways.

Volunteer Richard Sykes pictured with the 100 year old Leeds 345 Vintage TramCar at the Crich Tramway Village

It was subsequently acquired by Leeds Transport Historical Society in 1959, which saved it from the scrapyard and it was taken to Crich.

In 1963, Leeds 345 was intended for restoration in its original condition as an open-balcony tramcar, but then in 1978 it was resolved to restore it as a “Convert” car to demonstrate the changes made in 1939 to make it look more modern and 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 workshops.

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

Crich Tramway Village is aiming to open outside areas with limited tram rides from April 12.