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Wolverton Works created a need for labour in an area where it had not been needed previously. Men from the surrounding villages and towns would walk, often many miles, to their jobs and, after a hard day’s work, they would have to walk home again. The railway town solved the problem in a railway manner. It was decided that a tramway would be the answer and after a false start it was built in 1897 between the middle of Stony Stratford and Wolverton Works, running up Stratford Road. The stock for the undertaking consisted of three 100 seater bogie coaches/tramcars, the biggest there have ever been in Britain, a 20 seater car and a number of wagons for the anticipated goods traffic that the Deanshanger extension was expected to bring in. The motive power was not electricity, as was being used elsewhere in the country at this time, but two German built steam engines, which proved inadequate to move the huge cars and were quickly replaced by two British-built steamers. This was at a time when the electric-tram was being introduced into many towns and cities, safety bicycles had been invented and the modern motor-bus was made as a viable and more adaptable alternative to the tram. World War I placed the Wolverton tram into disuse and although revived after the war, by 1926, after the General Strike, the tram finished due to the lack of money and support.

The remains of the tram’s history can be seen in the waiting room on the corner of Wolverton Road and the High Street in Stony Stratford (curved to allow the huge tram to swing round) and most of the tracks still lay underneath the modern road between Stony and Wolverton. A reconstructed tram carriag can be seen at the Milton Keynes Museum of Industry and Rural Life.

Buses soon took over from the custom left behind from the demise of the tram and were provided by United Counties Bus Company. This was in spite of the fact that the railway company owned their own buses, which were never used on the route.

The Steam Tram Wolverton
The Steam Tram Wolverton

By Geoffrey Ealden, Anna McEvoy, Julia Newman, Andra Roach, Peter Smith