Horse trams

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Snow1964

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I think the last one in London might have been Kew Bridge -Richmond. It lasted until 1912

The line was isolated, initially because the old Kew Bridge wasn’t suitable, but that was rebuilt and widened 1901-1903. However Richmond Corporation basically blocked overhead electrification and improvements unless tram company paid for road widening. Richmond was very anti-tram other lines ended other side of Richmond Bridge, Ham etc and were never extended to Richmond
 

Taunton

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Interesting. I don't suppose anyone knows when the last railway to use horsepower was?
It was BR. They used horses to shunt the goods yard at a few places until the end of the 1950s. I think Bath was the last; there was also a late one at Newmarket, known for shunting the horseboxes of its racing bretheren. There was a feature in the Railway Magazine at the time when the last one was "withdrawn" to a farm field. Only just outlasted by a couple of years the Fintona one shown above, which only ended because the main railway it connected with at the junction was closed.
 

Magdalia

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Interesting. I don't suppose anyone knows when the last railway to use horsepower was?
British Railways used horses for shunting.

The last shunting horse was, appropriately, at Newmarket. His name was Charlie and he retired in 1967.
 

Iskra

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It was BR. They used horses to shunt the goods yard at a few places until the end of the 1950s. I think Bath was the last; there was also a late one at Newmarket, known for shunting the horseboxes of its racing bretheren. There was a feature in the Railway Magazine at the time when the last one was "withdrawn" to a farm field. Only just outlasted by a couple of years the Fintona one shown above, which only ended because the main railway it connected with at the junction was closed.
British Railways used horses for shunting.

The last shunting horse was, appropriately, at Newmarket. His name was Charlie and he retired in 1967.
Thank you both for the excellent information. I suspected horse shunting might have clung on somewhere for a while, so thank you for confirming.
 

Taunton

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Articles on the Fintona branch always feature just the horse-drawn double deck passenger vehicle, but other photographs show significant rakes of wagons at the end station, leading to believe that steam-hauled freight came down the short branch as well.
 

randyrippley

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What's possibly less known about the Morecambe tramway is that while the Morecambe section was transferred to the Corporation and remained horsedrawn, the Battery-Heysham Towers section (which was in Heysham, not Morecambe) remained with the tramway company and was converted to Britain's first (possibly only?) petrol tramway in 1912
Photo of the first tram at https://picclick.co.uk/pt2898-1st-Petrol-Tram-Heysham-293813996365.html#&gid=1&pid=1

more photos and a short history of the route at

Mitchell & Kenyon filmed this from one of the trams
 

John Luxton

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Last Horse Trams in Mainland UK were operated on the Pwllheli and Llanbedrog Tramway Closed October 28, 1927 a year after Morecambe.
 
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SargeNpton

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It wasn't until 1999 that the last of the pit ponies working in the coal mines were retired.
 

matchmaker

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What's possibly less known about the Morecambe tramway is that while the Morecambe section was transferred to the Corporation and remained horsedrawn, the Battery-Heysham Towers section (which was in Heysham, not Morecambe) remained with the tramway company and was converted to Britain's first (possibly only?) petrol tramway in 1912
Photo of the first tram at https://picclick.co.uk/pt2898-1st-Petrol-Tram-Heysham-293813996365.html#&gid=1&pid=1

more photos and a short history of the route at

Mitchell & Kenyon filmed this from one of the trams
Stirling and Bridge of Allan had horse drawn trams until 1920. From 1913 they were supplemented by a petrol engined vehicle.
 

Calthrop

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Whimsically, and not in Britain; but there was at Konya in the east of Hungary well into the 1970s, a two-and-a-half-km. agricultural narrow-gauge line (connecting with a State Railways' passenger route): horse-worked, and at the end of its life for passenger traffic only (open flat wagons with benches facing outward). The front-page photograph for the Autumn 1977 Continental Railway Journal showed a scene on this outfit: the editor subsequently apologised to the subscriber whose statistics of front-page-picture loco wheel arrangements -- these pictures were always of steam, save in this one instance -- had been messed-up by a horse featuring therein !
 
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The Lee Moor Tramway (4ft gauge) in Devon used horse traction on its lower section into Plymouth, and locomotives on its upper section on Dartmoor. It was largely superseded by a pipeline built after WW2, but occasional workings carrying sand were continued on the lower section until 1960. These were principally to maintain its right of way over the GWR main-line (by flat crossing) at Laira Junction.
 

mailbyrail

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The 3ft 6in gauge Nanttle line Caernarvonshire passed to the LMS and then BR remaining horse-drawn until closure in 1963, the last BR horse-operated line
 

jp4712

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The Newmarket horse shunting operation was captured on a BTF film, 'Forward to First Principles' which is fascinating in capturing several instances of 'primitive' operation.
 

Roger1973

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I think the last one in London might have been Kew Bridge -Richmond. It lasted until 1912

History of the LCC Tramways records two routes (run from depot at Evelyn Street, Deptford) that lasted a bit longer than that -

88, Rotherhithe 'Red Lion' and Bricklayers Arms, via Southwark Park Road and Tower Bridge Road

90, Rotherhithe New Road, Raymouth Road, and Old Kent Road, Canal Bridge

90 was withdrawn 12 July 1913 and 88 from 1 May 1915. (service numbers were only allocated from 1913 and may or may not have been shown on the cars - I can't recall seeing a photo of a horse car showing a service number.)

LT museum have a photo of a Rotherhithe New Road car here and another here

And 1897 OS map centred on the depot here

I think these were the last horse routes in the London area but don't have anything definite to confirm.
 

Lucan

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The Newmarket horse shunting operation was captured on a BTF film
Adrian Vaughan describes horse shunting at Challow (between Didcot and Swindon) in his book Signalman's Morning. The horse was called Duchess and unfortunately she was eventually killed in a shunting accident. I believe this was in the early 1960's.
 

Roger1973

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Adrian Vaughan describes horse shunting at Challow (between Didcot and Swindon) in his book Signalman's Morning. The horse was called Duchess and unfortunately she was eventually killed in a shunting accident. I believe this was in the early 1960's.

I don't have a copy to hand, but my recollection is that some of the stuff in 'Signalman's Morning' was second hand, with AV recording things that the 'old hand' railwaymen he was working with in the early 60s had told him about their earlier service - I got the impression that Duchess the shunting horse was from the pre 1939 era at least.
 

apk55

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Part of the Cromford and high peak railway was still horse worked at Whalley Bridge until the end in 1952. Some of the rails can be seen
 

John Webb

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I don't have a copy to hand, but my recollection is that some of the stuff in 'Signalman's Morning' was second hand, with AV recording things that the 'old hand' railwaymen he was working with in the early 60s had told him about their earlier service - I got the impression that Duchess the shunting horse was from the pre 1939 era at least.
Yes, Chapter 6 "Harry Remembers" - Harry Strong was recalling his early days on the railway around 1924 when 'Duchess' was the shunting horse at Challow. She was hit by an engine and a vet had to shoot her.
 

341o2

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While not a "last" closing in 1915, the Redruth and Chasewater's line from Devoran to Point was never locomotive worked, being horse drawn, horses were also used for shunting in Devoran yard
 

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