They formed an essential transport network that kept Dundee on track for decades.
Then, 60 years ago this month, the last tram rolled into Lochee from Maryfield.
All the way through two world wars, the trams took people to work, to the shops and to the football.
But by the 1950s, they were starting to get old and their network of lines had been outgrown by the developing city. Thousands of people turned out to bid the rattling, swaying old trams farewell.
George Robertson, 82, worked on the trams as a conductor and a driver from 1955 until they were decommissioned.
Today, he recounted the “magical time” that trams linked up the city.
He said: “It was cold in the winter. You didn’t have a heater and there wasn’t a door on the trams. That being said, looking back, it was a magical time.
“I think that the tram cars were brilliant because they went in all kinds of weather.
“The trams used to be packed to the gunnels. You had people standing and hanging off the end. Having to collect the fares was a nightmare.”
Despite his fond memories of working on the trams, George said that shifts were hard and pay wasn’t up to much.
He said: “The shifts were terrible and we worked 11-day fortnights. The pay wasn’t great — we got about £9 a week. Of course, you just did it because you had a job, which was the main thing.”
Jimmy McDonell, chairman of the Dundee Museum of Transport, said: “Today, it is difficult for most Dundonians to imagine what the city would have been like more than 60 years ago when both trams and buses were in service.
“For those that do remember, the photographs of the electric trams making their way to and from Maryfield, Downfield, Lochee, Ninewells and the city centre evoke fond memories.
“Across Britain in the mid-19th Century, horse-drawn trams were introduced in order to alleviate over-crowding in city centres.
“The first horse-drawn tram route in Dundee opened in 1877 and went from Perth Road/Windsor Street to Reform Street.
“By 1880, the operator, Dundee and District Tramways Company, opened routes to Lochee, Stobswell and Baxter Park.
“Two major limitations of horse-drawn trams were the costs of keeping the horses and, particularly relevant to Dundee, the horses’ difficulty in scaling hills.
“In 1899, Dundee Corporation bought out Dundee and District Tramways Company and set about introducing electric traction.
“A service of electric cars was launched on the Perth Road route in June 1900 and by 1902 both horse and steam trams across the city were replaced.
“Over the decades, the expansion of the city meant the future of public transport in Dundee lay with buses.”
On October 20, to mark the anniversary, the 749 Club in association with Dundee Museum of Transport, is running a special bus tour of the tram routes and locations.
The bus tour is free but booking is essential due to limited spaces. The tour begins and ends at Dundee Museum of Transport.
The bus will depart at 1pm and return no later than 3pm. To book, email firstname.lastname@example.org.