THEY provided thousands of Southampton residents with a convenient way of travelling to shops, offices and factories.

But the electric trams which linked parts of the city were replaced by buses in the late 1940s and only four of the vehicles are known to have survived.

Now three of them have made their final stop - the Solent Sky Museum in Albert Road South.

The trams have been given a permanent home at the complex, where they will be restored by a group of volunteers and put on show to the public.

Low-loaders were used to move the vehicles from Southampton docks, where they have been stored for many years.

Southampton's first electric tram routes were opened in 1900 and the system continued to expand. The vehicles were bought from other cities before an engineering works at Portswood was to design and build trams for the city.

During the Second World War fuel rationing meant they took on a bigger role and were painted grey to make them harder to spot by enemy aircraft.

But on November 30 1940 one of the vehicles was destroyed by an incendiary bomb during the Blitz.

After the war buses began to replace some of the city's tram routes and the service stopped altogether on New Year’s Eve 1949.

One of the vehicles which has been moved to Solent Sky was found on a private estate in Alresford in the 1970s. It entered service in 1923 and had a specially designed roof built to enable it to squeeze through the Bargate.

One of the other trams was built in 1903 and ended up in a field near Fordingbridge.

The third vehicle was built in Southampton and exported to Portugal. It was eventually brought back to Britain with the intention of using it for spares but was deemed to be in too good a condition to be cannibalised.

A Solent Sky Museum spokesperson said: "These magnificent vehicles served Southampton for many years and are now undergoing a restoration by a team of dedicated volunteers.

"The trams now have a permanent home at Solent Sky, where they will be available to view by the public for the first time."