Coal in, potatoes out! Video explores the history of the Wisbech to Upwell tramway

Huntley Film Archives' video from the 1960s shows footage of the Wisbech to Upwell tramway.

Huntley Film Archives' video from the 1960s shows footage of the Wisbech to Upwell tramway. - Credit: Archant

A Youtube video has offered a rare insight into the history of the Wisbech to Upwell diesel goods tramway.

Huntley Film Archives' video from the 1960s shows footage of the Wisbech to Upwell tramway.

Huntley Film Archives' video from the 1960s shows footage of the Wisbech to Upwell tramway. - Credit: Archant

The video, posted by Huntley Film Archives, shows the tram transporting a shipment of strawberries across the Fens during the 1960s, as well as interviews with the tram’s crew, driver and guard.

The footage also shows the crew dealing with a badly parked van on the tracks, as well as a bird’s nest found on the train.

The tramway, opened in 1883, was built to carry produce such as fruit, vegetables and flowers from Wisbech to Upwell, travelling through Embridge, Boyces Bridge, Outwell Basin and Outwell.

It is said to be the only railway line in the country that operated on the principal of ‘coal in, potatoes out!’


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It is estimated that in its peak, up to 3,000 passengers would use the tram, with peaks of 2,000 during fetes and special events.

The introduction of the lorry in the 1950s saw passenger numbers dwindle, before the tramway’s official closure took place on May 23, 1966.

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The final train left Upwell at 3.30pm, and included three open wagons and a goods brake van.

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