Belfast Corporation Tramways

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Belfast Corporation Tramways
Belfast Royal Avenue 1920's.jpg
Royal Avenue, Belfast in the 1920s
Locale Belfast
Open 1 January 1905
Close 10 February 1954
Status Closed
Track gauge 4 ft 9 in (1,448 mm)
Propulsion system(s) Electric
Route length 51.45 miles (82.80 km)

Belfast Corporation Tramways formerly served the City of Belfast, Northern Ireland.[1]


Belfast's first trams operated in 1872 and were horse-drawn.[citation needed] Initially the system was owned and operated by the Belfast Street Tramways Company. It was purchased by the Belfast Corporation on 1 January 1905 and electrified, using overhead wires, in 1905.

Belfast's electric trams were originally painted red and white.[citation needed] Some older, unmodernised trams retained this livery until the 1950s. In 1928 a new general manager was appointed: William Chamberlain, formerly of Leeds Corporation Tramways. Chamberlain introduced a new livery of dark blue and white (although the former red and white was readopted in the late 1940s). He was also responsible for the modernisation of 50 of the older tramcars and the construction of 50 new vehicles.

Chamberlain was succeeded by Robert McCreary in 1931, who introduced a further fleet of 50 streamlined trams in 1935 – the last trams to be built for Belfast.[citation needed] These trams gained also the nickname "McCreary". Colonel McCreary retired in 1951 and was succeeded by Joseph Mackle.


Belfast Corporation converted the Falls Road tram service to trolleybuses in 1938.[citation needed] The Corporation regarded this as successful and a decision to eliminate the tram system was taken in 1939. Trolleybuses continued to be introduced during the 1940s. The last trams ran in 1954 and, following a policy change, were replaced by diesel buses.

The trolleybuses were themselves replaced by diesel buses in 1968.[citation needed] The Belfast Corporation bus fleet was transferred to Citybus (now Metro) in 1973.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ M. Maybin, A nostalgic look at Belfast Trams, Silver Link Publishing Ltd, Peterborough, 1994, ISBN 1-85794-030-X.