Ryde Pier November 1885

Ryde Pier developments

OBSERVER, November 14, 1885 – THE PIER TRAMWAY – We understand that the Pier Company have entered into a contract with Messrs Siemens for the construction of an electric tramway which will be completed in about three months’ time. This will enable a greater number of journeys to be made at about the same cost as that of the present horse tram. The building formerly in the occupation of Mr Evans as a fancy and news stall will be transferred to the land end of the pier and utilised as an engine house for the generation of the electric current.

OBSERVER, November 19, 1885 – AN ELECTRIC RAILWAY FOR THE PIER – The Ryde Pier Company may now be said to have entered on a new policy, the directorate having thoroughly made up their minds to do all they can to improve their property and make it attractive to the public, and in their endeavours in this direction we wish them every success. By the middle of January we hope to be able to announce the fact that an electric railway on the pier is an accomplished fact. This will be a step in the right direction. The work of constructing an electric railway on the pier, in place of the tram drawn by horses, has been entrusted to Messrs Siemens Brothers, the great electrical engineers of Woolwich, who are confident of success. The Ryde Pier Company will then be the first to have an electric railway for the conveyance of passengers in England. The late Sir William Siemens had a scheme for working the underground railways in London by electricity, and had he lived, it would probably have been carried out. The length of the pier is about half-a-mile, and as there are no curves, no better site could have been chosen for an electric railway. When completed, it cannot fail to be a great attraction for Ryde, for hundreds of people will be interested in its working. It is proposed to remove the glass house at the bottom of the pier to the top, and in which will be fixed the machinery, a 12 horse power Otto gas engine by Crossley Bros., and a dynamo. From the dynamo there will be a “lead” running along the side of the tramway properly insulated. On the side of the car will be fitted a collector which will take up the primary current, and conduct it to the motor underneath the car which is coupled with the driving wheels. The return current will pass through the present rails, and no alteration will be required in them except making the necessary connections. There can be no question that this will be a great improvement on the present system of drawing the tram by horses, which give such an unpleasant jerk at starting, and also of the steam car, which made an unpleasant rattle, and was also too heavy for the pier. We congratulate the directorate on taking this step, and believe it will be the  forerunner of future prosperity to the pier, and of course it must necessarily follow to increased prosperity to the town of Ryde.

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