The Electric Tram

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  • Aspects of Cork City

A Second Cork Tram System

Twenty-three years passed before trams ran again on the streets of Cork. This time, they ran on electric power and were not horse drawn. There were three cross-city routes: Blackpool to Douglas, Summerhill to Sunday's Well and Tivoli to Blackrock.

The trams were powered by overhead electrical cables. The tram system began to operate in December 1898. Trams soon became a familiar sight on the streets of Cork. Local newspapers reported that the trams frightened the horses that pulled carts and carriages through the city.

Trams ran from 7.30am until 11pm every day. Fares ranged from one penny to twopence, depending on the length of the journey. Fares were later increased to three-and-a-half pence, but were reduced in the 1920s because of competition from the city's first buses.

The trams were all double deckers. They were green with some cream or yellow details. One tram was not used for passengers. It was a 'watering car'. It sprinkled water to keep down the dust along the track.

Final Days

The electric trams in Cork ran from 1901 until 1931. They became a part of city life. Families travelled on the tram to the seaside at Blackrock.

Hurling fans rode the tram as far as the old Cork Athletic Grounds to watch hurling matches.

By the early 1930s, cars and buses had become more common. Bicycles, too, had become more popular, as road improvements meant a less bumpy ride. There was much competition for the tram system. Crowds turned out on 31 March 1931 to bid farewell to the trams.

The trams were replaced by the Irish Omnibus Company's bus service. A few days after the last tram ran, the company realised that it did not have enough buses to cope with demand. The trams were called into service again for a short while. The final trams ran in Cork on September 30 1931.