Sam Wilson opened his Tramway on 18 May 1895. It was intended as an alternative to walking up the steep path to the bottom of Prod Lane, from where the access to the Fairground out beyond the Old Glen House Pub, was less steep.
Records show that the Tramway could carry up to 15,000 passengers a day.
It is told that Sam used to make his own lemonade and sell it from buckets at the top station. He then used the buckets to transport the takings to the bank. He also kept hens and sold eggs at the Tramway.
THE GLEN TRAMWAY
Sam had wanted to start the Tramway from the foot of Victoria Road, Saltaire but the owners of the mill also owned the land between the river and the wall behind the present Tramway museum. They refused to sell or rent the land.
So Sam turned to Colonel Maude who owned the land of Baildon and Shipley Glen (stictly in Baildon) down to the wall.
Colonel Maude rented the land to Sam for £10 pa and encouraged the building of the Tramway.
Left to right.
Eddie Woodhead (second owner),
Herbert Parr (his assistant who became the third owner) and Colonel Maude.
Eddie’s wife and Patti Parr on the far right.
The Tramway is a true Funicular Railway. It has a large wheel at both stations and one continuous rope to which both trams are permanently attached.
The rope goes one-
The adjacent control room has a rheostat control for speed and controls for the braking systems.
The rope goes once round the wheel at the bottom station. (It can be seen in the museum.) This wheel is weighted and keeps the rope taut thus making sure that it does not slip on the drive wheel.
Rollers keep the rope off the ground and guide it around the slight curve.
A FUNICULAR RAILWAY
The Prod Lane fairground for a number of years included a small zoo.
Sam was ever the showman and was once persuaded to enter the lions cage whilst a show was on.
He entered the cage and during the show, drank a pint of beer and smoked a cigar. His only injuries were marks on his legs caused by the tails of the lions.
A couple of months later the animals mauled one of their trainers to death.
SAM THE SHOWMAN
The Tramway has had a number of owners since Sam sold the system to the Woodheads in 1917. It is now owned by Bradford Council but run and maintained by volunteers with Trustees.
There have been a number of ocassions when the Tramway was closed down as a result of vandals making it unservicable or owners losing interest.
However new enthusiasts have always risen to the rescue, determined to keep this ‘oldest funicular railway in the UK’ running and save it for future generations.
UPS AND DOWNS
Queues at the bottom station sometime in the 1960’s.
The museum is now on the site of the hut which was where ice cream and novelties were sold.
The Tramway runs every Sunday of the year and on Saturdays from Easter until New Year’s Day.
Opening times are 1200 to 1630 hours from Easter until New Years Day and 1200 to 1600 for the rest of the year.
The Tramway also runs on Bank Holiday Mondays at the times above.
There are a number of special events during the year when times may be different. Check on their website here.
Day Rover Fares unlimmited rides for the day
Child (5yrs to 16yrs)
Child (Under 5yrs)
Child (5yrs to 16yrs)
Child (Under 5yrs)
Annual Passes are available. Please enquire at the Tramway.
We are aiming to be up and running on the 6th September.
Access at the top, but with no sweet shop and no ticket sales. All tickets will be purchased at the bottom after alighting from the tram.
A queuing system will be in place prior to boarding to enable social distancing.
All tickets will be available at the bottom station.
Prior to boarding each tram, seats will be sanitised by our volunteers.
We appreciate your cooperation when waiting and during your trip on the trams. Be assured all measures are to keep all of us safe whist still being able to enjoy a ride on this historic attraction.
Watch this space
The trams run continuously during opening times, so we cannot take pre-
Last tram at 16:30
You will be pleased to know that we now accept credit cards for all payments.