Derek Foster showed this original model at a Guildford Rally. Here is its legend.

For a short period at the end of the nineteenth century, before the introduction of electric tramways) some local authorities licensed operators to experiment with steam trams as a means of propulsion. Portsmouth Corporation was no exception and in 1890 The Provincial Tramways Company Ltd was incorporated and licenced to do just that. A route was planned that followed the existing horse-drawn tramway, between Portsdown Hill and Horndean, but extending southwards into the city itself.

Tenders were sought for the supply and construction of a working steam tram and a suitable passenger carrying trailer. The chosen company for the tram engine was 'Roundhouse Engineering' of Doncaster and 'OcCre Crcativo  of Barcelona for the trailer.

Construction and testing took place over the following two years and delivery of the prototypes, seen here, took place in the spring of 1892. A service was introduced at the end of the summer and swiftly proved to be a success. A further five trams and trailers were ordered and the completed tramway was in place by the following year.

The system transformed the growth of the Waterlooville, Cowplain and Horndean areas. Guidebooks were produced advertising the benefits of healthy country air and fresh farm food and made easier commuting for workers into the important naval town of Portsmouth.

Derek Foster


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