Calls to preserve heritage as historic Sheffield tram tracks torn out for Fargate development

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Historic Sheffield tram tracks have been uncovered by workmen on Fargate

They are reminders of Sheffield's history going back over 60 years.

And decades after tram tracks were last used at the top of Fargate, some residents want to see this part of the city's heritage preserved after they were exposed for the first time in generations.

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The steel tracks have been buried under the road surface since the city stopped running its original tram network in 1960, but have been exposed again as workmen carry out work as part of a development scheme which aims to revitalise Fargate.

Exposed tram tracks at the top of Fargate in Sheffield city centre. Picture: David Kessen, National WorldExposed tram tracks at the top of Fargate in Sheffield city centre. Picture: David Kessen, National World
Exposed tram tracks at the top of Fargate in Sheffield city centre. Picture: David Kessen, National World | National World

Workmen can be seen to be carrying out work to remove them, cutting sections of the steel, and then taking diggers to the tracks to pull them out.

Sheffield Council says it will look into what can be done with the old tracks.

The authority said in a statement: "Some of the former tram tracks at the top of Fargate may need to be removed as part of the ongoing regeneration work. Once it is clear how many have to be taken up, the council will explore options for what can be done with them."

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Workmen cutting an old piece of tram track at the top of Fargate, Sheffield. Picture: David Kessen, National WorldWorkmen cutting an old piece of tram track at the top of Fargate, Sheffield. Picture: David Kessen, National World
Workmen cutting an old piece of tram track at the top of Fargate, Sheffield. Picture: David Kessen, National World | National World

The Star has asked residents how they feel about the removal of the tracks which were once a vital part of the city's transport network, in an era long before the current supertram system brought trams back to the city again in the mid 90s. And some are keen to see them used for a heritage feature.

Aislinn Adams, from Firth Park said: "It's really sad isn't it? It's part of the history of Sheffield and the city centre. (I'd like to see) them keeping them and making a little landmark out of them."

Susan Raine, from Firth Park, said: "I suppose it is a bit of a shame."

Workmen digging out a section of tram track at the top of Fargate, Sheffield. Picture: David  Kessen, National WorldWorkmen digging out a section of tram track at the top of Fargate, Sheffield. Picture: David  Kessen, National World
Workmen digging out a section of tram track at the top of Fargate, Sheffield. Picture: David Kessen, National World | National World

Barbara Jackson, from the Graves Park area, said she had been totally unaware that there were tram tracks there. She said: "Unless its a danger or it's interfering with services, why not just leave them?"

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She said she thought it would be a good idea to do something heritage-related with them. She said: "People in the 50s, I was a kid, we were very fond of those old trams, so a small section as a bit of a heritage feature would be a good idea."

Glenys Beaumont, of Dronfield, said: "It would be quite nice to have them as a little memorial somewhere to show that they were actually in Sheffield at some point on this road."

Sheffield's original tram system covered large sections of the city. It originally opened up to passengers in 1873, using horse drawn trams, and initially running between Lady's Bridge and Attercliffe. It was was extended over the years it operated.

The first electric tram was introduced in 1899, between Nether Edge and Tinsley, and by 1902 all the routes were electrified. By 1951, it has been reported that there were around 51 miles of track in the city.

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The last trams ran between Leopold Street to Beauchief and Tinsley on October 8, 1960 , and three of the city's Sheffield trams were later preserved at the National Tramway Museum in Crich, in North Derbyshire.

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