Central Tramway Scarborough, possibly the shortest in UK?
This is the Central Tramway in Scarborough, UK and it is the shortest public transport journey I have ever been on. It last under one minute!!! The Central Tramway Company first opened in 1881 and is one of the oldest Victorian tram ride in the UK today. It carries passengers between the beach and the town further up on the hill in Scarborough. However, one can easily walk from one to the other in a couple of minutes going up, and a lot quicker coming down.
I started my tram ride from the beach and there was just short queue when I arrived.
As I was waiting for my ride, I saw this painting in the small waiting area celebrating the 140th anniversary of the Central Tramway Company in 2021. It depicted a busy Victorian crowd waiting outside the station by the beach.
Apparently, 3000 passengers took the tram ride on an opening day in 1881!!! I was thinking about what it would have been like during the 140-year celebrations in 2021 as we were still not quite out of Covid. Would the crowd have been so big as well? I didn’t have much more time to think about it as the next tram had arrived and I had to get on it.
Each tram easily sits 12 to 14 people and has space for around 6 standing passengers. There were only 14 people in my carriage, with some passengers opting to wait for the next ride, like I had. I choose the seat by the door at the rear of the tram to get the best view coming up to town.
And as we were waiting for the tram to leave, I took a look around the carriage. Despite its age, the condition of the interior looked quite new but still maintained a vintage look. Maybe they spruced up the carriages for the 140th anniversary. I love the two signs they had overhead on both sides and the wooden panel ceilings, and the leather handles for standing passengers looked very regal.
Very soon we were off. My seat next to the rear window gave me a great view of the beach as we slowly pulled away. This image was taken about 5 seconds after we left.
This was taken another 19 seconds later. You can see the station at the beach end, and the other tram that had just arrived from town
In another 11 seconds, we had arrived at the top of the cliff and passengers were ready to get off. All in all the tram ride lasted for about 35 seconds!!!
I waited for everyone else to get off first and walked slowly out to get a nice full view of the carriage and the two entrances to the trams.
The station on the Town end is bigger than the Beach end. At the beach end, the waiting area fits only a handful of passengers and I really do mean 5 or 6. Passengers walk straight onto the tram and pay upon arrival at the town. Once you pay, you exit through the simple yet stylish Victorian turnstile. Here’s the view of the station after I exited.
And if you still can’t grasp how short the tram ride is, let me show you this image we took when we were waiting for our tram to arrive. The tram from the beach end had just left on the left. The one from the town is coming down on the right track and the whole track is just 76m long.
My shortest ever tram ride only lasted 35 seconds, cost me £1.30 and was a great way to experience a little piece of Victorian history. Have you ever taken a very short train or tram ride before?