Dartford Council Tramways

Dartford Council Tramway car, possibly at the depot in Victoria Road.

Dartford Council Tramways were officially opened on Wednesday 14 February 1906 with much pomp and flag waving. The service started with twelve double deck cars each capable of seating 54. Dartfords livery was Maroon and Yellow with the Kent County Crest (Invicta) on the side panels. The service ran from Gravel Hill Bexleyheath to Horns Cross (near today's Bluewater shopping Centre). There was a branch line running to Wilmington from Dartford High Street, via Lowfield Street.The branch line service was withdrawn in 1934.

The tramway was run for on behalf of Dartford Council by construction firm J.G. White & Co. Ltd. In 1909 Balfour Beatty & Co. Ltd. took over the running of the system. On 1 April 1921 Dartford and Bexley took over joint running on the system themselves.

On the night of Bank Holiday Monday, 6th August 1917 a fire broke out in the depot in Victoria Road, destroying all the trams. Bexley Council stepped in and ran the service with cars loaned from the LCC.

In 1933 the Dartford, Bexley and Erith area trams were taken over by London Transport. The route to Darford was numbered96, and the Erith to Abbey Wood route 98. They were replaced by trolleybuses on the 696 and 698 routes in 1935. The 696 on ran as far as Dartford, the route to Horns Cross being replaced by buses.

There were many hills on the Dartford system. From Dartford itself it was hills both ways, East Hill to Horns Cross and West Hill in the Crayford direction. Then from Crayford to Bexleyheath.

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