Nostalgia: Edinburgh trams

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TRAMS were back in the news this week – but this time it was for all the right reasons.

As well as one of the Evening News’ reporters experiencing Edinburgh’s vision of 21st-century transport first hand, a tramcar which was more than 100 years older than the modern version was restored to its former glory, having endured an existence as a garden shed.

A tram makes its way up The Mound in 1955

A tram makes its way up The Mound in 1955

In fact, its owners Roger and Gill French, from Newtown St Boswells, had no idea they had a piece of Edinburgh history outside their back door.

The 1885 number 23 carriage originally cost £140 to build, a far cry from today’s 
£2 million models.

The Capital’s history with trams dates back to the horse-drawn variety being introduced in 1871. They were replaced by cable trams towards the end of the 19th century with their predecessors being sold off for £6 each. Electric trams took over in 1919 before the service stopped altogether in 1956.

The city’s first cable tram service travelled from Princes Street to Goldenacre in 1896, stopping at the Botanic 
Gardens and Inverleith Row on the way.

The number 23, salvaged from a garden in the Borders, is not the only one of the city’s fleet to end up as a historic 
artefact.

In 1957, a decommissioned tram engine was loaded on to a transporter at Shrubhill Depot to begin a new life in a museum.

And, in a similar story to the tram that became a garden shed, one car which was being used as a holiday chalet in the Borders arrived at Lothian Regional Transport’s Annandale Street garage to be refurbished in December 1987.

After it was restored, it too would be bound for a 
museum.