Hold Tight! - Centenary
Chapter 7
Page 64
Hold Tight!
Chapter 7
City Transport
57 A different world
58 Portswood
59 Decisions
60 Home and away
61 Shirley routes
62 Football
63 Emergencies
64 Centenary
65 Driving school
66 End of the road
1 Beginnings
2 Learning
3 Getting Away
4 Winchester
5 Freedom
6 Southampton
7 City Transport
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Over the bank holiday weekend at the beginning of May 1979 Southampton Transport celebrated its centenary. Although horse drawn buses had operated in the town, typically carrying passengers from the Docks railway station to their hotels, true public transport started in 1879.
One of the AEC Regent double deckers (BOW 507C) was given the new fleet number 100 and was repainted in the old blue and cream livery.
On the Sunday and Monday we held a bus rally on The Common with preserved and modern buses and coaches from all over the country on display.
I spent a couple of hours on car park duty.
There were also new buses from Caen and Le Havre and a preserved open platform Paris bus. On the Sunday afternoon the vehicles paraded through the city. There were bands and majorettes with a firework display in the evening.
Southampton Corporation Transport Department ran trams and buses in Southampton from 1879. Southampton's early double deck trams were of the open-top variety. When enclosed trams were purchased, they were of a unique low chassis, domed roof design to allow them to pass under the city's mediaeval Bargate city gate.
The tram network was abandoned in 1949 but, unlike some other local authorities, Southampton did not replace their trams with trolleybuses, but switched directly to diesel buses. While operating trams, Southampton Corporation, in common with many authorities, ran their own power station. This was opposite the down or docks side of the central train station but has since been demolished.
1879 - First horse drawn trams operated by the Southampton Tramways Company.
1896 - Southampton Corporation purchases the Southampton Electric Light and Power Company.
1898 - Southampton Corporation takes over Southampton Tramways Company.
1900 - First electric trams run between the Junction and Shirley and between Holyrood and Stag Gates.
1934 - Southampton Corporation purchases the Floating Bridge Company.
1938 - Last tram to pass under the Bargate.
1949 - End of tram services.
1977 - Opening of the Itchen toll bridge and the last crossing of the floating bridges.
From 1934, the Corporation operated the floating bridges (chain ferries) across the river Itchen between Chapel on the city side and Woolston. These two bridges ran side by side from 1833 to 1977 when the new road bridge was opened, but the originals had been replaced in 1962. Until the new road bridge was opened, separate bus routes ran from the Woolston side although, unlike Hants & Dorset, there was no garage here. On the last night of the floating bridges there was a celebration on board with a jazz band and fireworks.
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