Edinburgh Transport

Edinburgh Electric Trams

Edinburgh Corporation Transport Department

Conversion of the Cable Car System

In July 1919, responsibility for Edinburgh's tramways passed to the Tramways Dept of the City.  The city immediately set about converting the cable tramway system to an electric system.

Pilrig  -  The Official Party crosses the Edinburgh/Leith boundary at Pilrig on 20 June 1922  - the first day of operation of through trams between Edinburgh and Leith

Conversion was carried out between 1919 and 1923, the final cable car running on 23 June 1923

Edinburgh & Leith

From 1900 onwards, the two-mile journey down Leith Walk, from Edinburgh and Leith involved a change of tram, transferring between an Edinburgh cable car and a Leith electric car at Pilrig.

This situation continued until the Edinburgh part of the route was converted to electric trams on 20 June 1922.

Princes Street

Proposals to erect poles in the centre of Princes Street for the electric trams met with opposition, but were later accepted following debate in the House of Parliament.

Slender tapered poles with scroll-work were installed, and the electric trams in Princes Street began to operate on 22 October 1922

Edinburgh & Musselburgh

Just as on a journey from Edinburgh to Leith in the cable car days, involved a change of tram at Pilrig, a journey to the east from Edinburgh along the Firth of Forth to Musselburgh required a change of tram at Joppa.

This situation continued until the Edinburgh part of the route was converted to electric trams on 23 June 1923.

Replacement of Trams by Buses

As Edinburgh grew, the size of the tramway network did not keep pace.  New bus services were introduced, particularly from the late 1940s onwards.

Throughout the early 1950s, individual tram services were converted to bus operation, the final tram running on 16 November 1956.

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