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The first tramway to operate in the towns of Darwen and Blackburn was operated by the Blackburn and Over Darwen Tramways Company.
This was the first British tramway authorised solely to use steam traction. It ran from the centre of Blackburn, along Darwen Street, Bolton Road, through Ewood, Earcroft, Hawkshaw, to Darwen.
1881 Opened to the public on the 16th April. The trams were operated on behalf of Darwen Corporation, rather than Blackburn, with Blackburn Corporation granting running powers into the Borough. The engines were obtained from Kitson and Co
Between 1885 and 1896, 7 larger engines were purchased from Thomas Green
1887 The first bogie tramcar was put into service, built by Ashbury, with enclosed top-deck and outside staircase, it seated 58.
1888 a further two enclosed bogie cars were purchased from Milnes, of Birkenhead, from whom all subsequent cars came.
Further engines were purchased from Kitsons.
1898 Blackburn Corporation and Darwen Corporation purchased the portions of the tramway within their own boundaries.