Trams at the Tramway junction at Tollcross in Edinburgh, around 1952.
Trams at the Tramway junction at Tollcross in Edinburgh, around 1952.

14 photos showing the last days of Edinburgh vast original tram network

Enormous crowds gathered on the Mound on cold evening 64 years ago to bid farewell to what had been intended to be Edinburgh’s last ever trams.

By David McLean
Monday, 16th November 2020, 5:24 pm

The last hurrah arrived on Friday, November 16; a suitably cold, grey and miserable day. That evening, a procession of tramcars made its way from the Braids terminus to Shrubhill depot, taking in much of the original 1871 route. Ten trams were laid on due to the demand – one car containing the very city councillors who had consigned the trams to the history books in the first place.

It seemed that the entire city was out in force that night; throngs of people lined the pavements and eager spectators hung out of tenement windows to catch a glimpse of the historic procession.

The decision to decommission Edinburgh’s tram network arose in 1952, its 47 miles of track taking just four years to dismantle.

In the final week, a special service painted handsomely in white and gold livery was laid on to tour what was left of the old network.All ordinary tram passengers were issued with a bright yellow “Last Tram Week” ticket; a masterstroke by Edinburgh Corporation which did a “roaring trade” in the final seven days.

Eighty-five years of municipal tram history, which at its height had carried around 200 million passengers a year on routes covering Corstorphine to Levenhall, and just about everywhere in between, had been consigned for good to the great catenary wire in the sky... or so Edinburgh thought.

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