Edinburgh Transport

Edinburgh Cable Cars

Edinburgh's cable tramway system comprised of a cable that ran under the streets and moved at a constant speed.  The trams had grippers that held on to this cable when the wished to move forwards.

The first trial length of this system was opened in 1899.  It ran:

- from Pilrig (half way between Leith and Edinburgh - close to the Transport Depot at Shrubhill, where the engine that powered the moving cable was housed

-  to St Andrew Street - close to the Scott Monument in Princes Street.

Most of Edinburgh's tram system was converted from horse-drawn to cable in 1899-1901.

The system was gradually extended over the next few years, and by 1907 there were twelve routes in operation. 

In 1915, the system had about 26 miles of cable track and was the largest in Europe.

The system worked well initially, but following lack of maintenance, particularly during the war years, became unreliable.  There were with frequent breakdowns of the system.

The cable trams were replaced by electric trams from 1919.

Reference:  Edinburgh Transport  [DGL Hunter] and The Tramways of Eastern Scotland [Gillham and Wiseman]



Comments on Trams

1871  to 1905: horse-drawn trams:           1888  to 1923 = cable cars:          1919  to 1956 electric trams

Edinburgh:  Horse-drawn trams

Edinburgh:  Cable cars

Edinburgh:  Electric trams

Leith:  Horse-drawn trams

Leith:  Electric trams

Musselburgh:  Electric trams

Edinburgh:  Proposed tramway for 2010