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Selsey Tramway

Open from 13 July 2024

Selsey Tramway

The fascinating but ill-fated story of Selsey Tramway will be featured in a new exhibition opening on 13 July. 

The exhibition recounts how a railway line was proposed to link the then remote and isolated village of Selsey with Chichester. By August 1897, the Selsey Tramway was born, operated by The Hundred of Manhood and Selsey Tramway Company.

The line linked the outlying villages south of Chichester, known as the Manhood Peninsula and consisted of approximately seven-and-a-half miles of track, with 11 stops in total, including Chichester, Hunston, Sidlesham, and Selsey, as well as privately owned farms, and the Selsey Golf Club.

On 27 August 1897, the tramway was officially opened at the Chichester station, while the Selsey station was still under construction. Crowds were disappointed when the first train arrived an hour late, setting the standard for the rest of its run. The tramway was possibly the most problematic railway of the area. Delays were expected, with drivers seldom sticking to schedules and frequent breakdowns occurring. However, in 1916, annual passenger numbers peaked at 105,169.

By the 1930s, bus services were more reliable and there was only one daily service on the tramway by November 1934. Sadly, after thirty-eight years of operation, the tramway's last service ran on 19 January 1935.

The free exhibition can be found on our first floor from Saturday, 13 July.