Leeds tram tracks hidden for more than 60 years unearthed during city centre roadworks

What an incredible discovery.

The tracks were found 15cm down on Sovereign Street during work on the £270m Connecting Leeds project. 

The image of tram tracks in Leeds is something that most of us have never witness with out own bare eyes.

But now, underground tram tracks have been uncovered during city centre roadworks and it’s got us all feeling like archaeologists.

Dating all the way back to over 60 years ago, Leeds Corporation Tramways opened in 1891 and was a “key transport system” for residents, Leeds Civic Trust have said. 

Image: The Hoot Leeds

Once home to the main tram depot, Sovereign Street was where Leeds United football fans would hop on the tram to take them to Elland Road. So it’s safe to say this spot would be a very popular tram stop.

The last tram service to run in Leeds was on 7 November 1959, and a 10-tram procession from the depot took place to mark the occasion, carrying Leeds residents who had won a seat in a lottery. 

Discussing the incredible discovery, Clifford Stead, from the civic trust, said: “This is tremendously exciting, this is the nerve centre of the old Leeds city tramway system.

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“Older people will remember trams – they became like folklore once they were withdrawn, people never quite took to buses in the same way. Trams have a tremendous rickety character about them, they were very dependable too and part of the city scape of Leeds.”

But we could be seeing trams back in Leeds in the future, as just last year, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged £2.5 billion to fund a mass transit system for West Yorkshire linking Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield and Wakefield. 

But, we’ll believe it when we see it won’t we Leeds.

Read more: Inside Leeds’ non-alcoholic bar changing the way we think about socialising with drinks

Featured image – The Hoot Leeds

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