Colchester Corporation Tramways
|Dates of operation||1904–1929|
|Track gauge||3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)|
|Length||5.74 miles (9.24 km)|
In 1901, Colchester Corporation authorised the construction of 5 3⁄4 miles (9.3 km) of track, but the actual building of the 3 ft 6 in (1.07 m) gauge track did not begin until 1904. A special depot was built at Magdalen Street, just south of the Town Centre, for the 16 brand-new, open-top, double-decker trams, numbered 1 to 16. The trams were manufactured by the Electric Railway and Tramway Carriage Works of Preston on Brill 21E trucks. On 28 July 1904, the trams commenced operation.
The brand new tram system consisted of three routes, all beginning at the North Station, at that time called the North Street Station: to Lexden, a suburb to the west of the Town Centre via North Station Road, North Hill, Head Street then Lexden Road and Lexden Street. Up to Lexden Road, not inclusive, the route was double-tracked, from Lexden Road onwards it was single-tracked; to the River Colne on East Street via the double-tracked section up to the High Street, then via a double-tracked section through the High Street and onto a single-tracked section through East Hill to East Street; to Hythe, to the south-west of the Town Centre, via the double-tracked sections up to East Hill, where it turned onto another double-tracked section through Queen Street and St. Botolph's Street, where it became a single-track all the way to Hythe.
On 28 June 1906 another extension finished being built, this was from St. Botolph's Station to the Recreation Ground via Military Road. This completed the Colchester tram system.
Electrical power was obtained from Colchester Corporation's power station in Osborne Street, and the depot with its tram shed was on the south side of Magdalen Street at.
The radial system was centred on the High Street and Town Hall at. Routes were:
- Queen Street, St Botolph's Street, Military Road - to a terminus just past the junction with Wimpole Road at . (Recreation Ground)
- Queen Street, St Botolph's Street, Magdalen Street, Barrack Street, Hythe Hill to a terminus at . (Hythe)
- East Hill, East Street to a terminus just west of the railway crossing at . (East Gates)
- North Hill, North Station Road to a terminus just through the railway bridge at Colchester railway station. (North Station) adjacent to
- Head Street, Crouch Street, Lexden Road, Lexden Hill, Lexden Street to a terminus at the junction with Straight Road at . (Lexden)
The fleet, in a livery of maroon/dark brown and cream, consisted of:
- 18 open top double deck tramcars (manufactured by the Electric Railway and Tramway Carriage Works, later renamed the United Electric Car Company)
By 1927 there was not enough funding for the refurbishment and replacement of trams. The Colchester Corporation Act of 1927 allowed for the replacement of trams with motorbuses.
The first motorbus commenced operation on 21 May 1928, to replace the trams between North Station and East Street. On 9 December 1929, the final tram service between North Station and Recreational Ground closed, and was replaced the next day by a bus service.