Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: March 05, 2016.
Webpage updated: April 11, 2016

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Horse trams first appeared on the streets of old Devonport in 1872, courtesy of the Plymouth, Stonehouse and Devonport Tramways Company, which built a line from the Clock Tower in Plymouth through Union Street and across the Stonehouse Bridge to a terminus in Cumberland Road, at the bottom of Ker Street.  In 1874 this was extended up Chapel Street to a new terminus in Fore Street.  When the line was re-laid to 3 feet 6 inch gauge in 1901 it was also electrified.  The horse-car fleet was kept in a depot in Manor Lane. East Stonehouse, and the electric car fleet in a new depot in Market Street.

During the 1880s the Plymouth, Devonport and District Tramways Company Ltd, proposed to construct a network of lines within the Borough but it failed to secure enough funding and was forced into liquidation.

It was not until 1901 that Devonport had its own route network, all of 3 feet 6 inch gauge.  The Devonport and District Tramways Company Ltd laid lines from Morice Square to Camel's Head and from Fore Street to Milehouse and Pennycomequick as well as connecting lines through Trafalgar Road and Albert Road.  Devonport Corporation had obtained powers in 1900 to construct its own lines from Camel's Head to Saltash Passage and from North Keyham Dockyard Gate along Saint Levan Road to the Borough boundary at Tor Lane.  The section from Camel's Head to Saltash passage was operated by two tramcars kept in a depot at Camel's Head and was completely isolated until the embankment road was opened in 1903.  The network totalled over 7 miles of track.  Their electric tramcar fleet of 33 cars was kept and maintained in their depot at Milehouse.

Services were instituted between Fore Street and Tor Lane and Pennycomequick, and between Morice Square and Tor Lane and Saltash Passage.  There was also a service from Pennycomewquick to South Keyham Dockyard Gate at Albert Road, which was sometimes extended to the Royal Naval Barracks, Saint Budeaux and Saltash Passage.

After Devonport was amalgamated with Plymouth and East Stonehouse in 1914, links were laid in at Pennycomequick and Peverell Corner so that through services could be started.  The tramway network of the Three Towns reached its peak in the 1920s.  However, the end was drawing near, following the introduction of motor buses in 1920.

A tramway replacement programme started in Devonport with the Morice Square to Saltash Passage route in 1930 and the last tram in the City of Plymouth ran in 1945.