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Could Brighton's last tram return to the city?
A tourist tramway could be brought to Brighton by enthusiasts who are restoring the city’s last surviving tram.
The group of volunteers at the Brighton Tram 53 Society dream of creating the South East’s leading working tramway attraction, but need help from local businesses to raise £50,000.
Guy Hall, 52, who runs the society, said: “She was made here, ran here and we hope she can be restored and return here.
“She is a special piece of history which we think people should be able to enjoy all over again.
“Our ideal location would be Stanmer Park. It wouldn’t have to be a big track, maybe half a mile long.
“It would take people around the church, the house and the park.
“It would be like nothing else in the South East.”
Trams were first introduced in Brighton in 1901 and ran from the terminus at the southern end of Victoria Gardens along Lewes Road to Preston Barracks.
Over the decades the route expanded and regular services visited Fiveways, Race Hill, Rock Gardens, Brighton station, the Old Steine and Trivoli Crescent.
With increasing suburban development and the lack of flexibility of the system, the trams were faded out.
The last service ran from Upper Rock Gardens to the Old Steine on September 1 1939, bringing to an end 38 years of service.
Most of the old trams were sold for the war effort, with a few bought by private buyers.
Tram 53, built between 1936 and 1937, sat in a shed at a Partridge Green pig farm for decades.
The group of about 60 enthusiasts have already raised more than £5,500 towards the project.
But with limited funds and expertise, progress is slow.
Mr Hall appealed for help from local businesses, describing it as a “fantastic opportunity” for both parties.
He said: “I would urge local businesses to help us restore this unique piece of history.
“In return we can offer them advertising onboard.
“This is a great opportunity to be part of something very special.
“With the money I think we could have this done in two years. We would just need to build tracks and overhead lines and we could have a working tramway.”
For more details visit www.brightontram53.org.uk.
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