Basis for Flora: a Falcon Steam Tram in this photo dated circa Dec. 31,1906
Falcon steam tram in Stratford Road, Birmingham, England circa Dec. 31, 1906
From: Memories of Birmingham's Steam Trams, by C. Gilbert, Light Railway Transport League (1965)

From Hit Entertainment's profile for Flora, we're told that the character is "based on a 1904 Moseley Road Tramway steam tram, rebuilt into standard gauge". Moseley Road was one of several routes operated by the Birmingham Central Tramways Company which began running steam trams in 1884.

Setting the TV show's convenient conversion of this light rail tram engine to standard gauge aside, we'll find that Flora's appearance is a blending of characteristics found on two different steam tram types of several that once served the Birmingham tramway network. These two tram types were manufactured by the Falcon Railway Plant Works, and Kitson & Company of Leeds. The chart below highlights a few of these features - the shaded cells indicating where they match. You can use the pictures of the Falcon (above) and the Kitson (below) tram types for comparison.

Chart comparing Flora's build to Kitson and Falcon steam tram types.
# Feature Falcon Kitson Flora
1 No. of side windows 6 4 6
2 Roof design has fascia no fascia no fascia
3 Smoke stack ornate not ornate ornate
4 General front/rear appearance - X modified for std. gauge

Kitson steam tram hauling a Falcon trailer on it's last day of operation on Dec. 31, 1906.
A Kitson steam tram on Birmingham's High Street, King's Heath Dec. 31, 1906
From: Memories of Birmingham's Steam Trams, by C. Gilbert, Light Railway Transport League (1965)

Flora's "coach" is obviously a modified Falcon 7-window bogied trailer (pictured above). As for vintage, Birmingham received one last shipment of Falcon tram locos in 1886, while the final batch of Kitsons were delivered in in 1904. The Falcon trams had duplicate driver platforms and controls on both ends so that they could be driven from either direction without the need for the engine to be turned around. Coke was replenished from trucks strategically placed at track junctions while water was provided from a standpipe in the roadway. The Falcon trams weighed 9.5 tons while the Kitsons were lighter at 8.5 tons. By contrast, the Company brought in 13 larger and heavier Beyer Peacock steam trams in 1886 which weighed 12 tons. As for wheel arrangement, by appearances the Falcons were of an 0-4-0 with the addition of a single smaller wheel on the engine's right side which drove an automatic speed governor to prevent the tram from exceeding speed limit by-laws set forth by Birmingham's council.

All steam trams ceased operations on the Birmingham tramway lines on Dec. 31, 1906 as the overhead electric-powered trams became a cheaper and more efficient alternative for commuter operations.

Collector's Corner
LC Wooden Flora from Amazon UK and US LC Take-n-Play Flora (sold with Toby)available from Amazon UK and US
Wooden version of Flora Take-n-Play version of Flora
Trackmaster Flora from Amazon US
Trackmaster version of Flora

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