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Public Transport in Tollcross

On 29th June 1871 ”The Edinburgh Street Tramways Company" was formed centred on Tollcross. Railtracks were laid from Tollcross to St Gyles Cathedral, and from the West End via ­Tollcross to Churchill. The trams were pulled by two horses. The picture shows the Tollcross Terminus at the famous Tollcross Clock, (incidentally where the Clock used to be located is the exact geographical centre of the city) date 1909, which was the end of that system. The trams could carry 26 passengers and the drivers worked 16 hour shifts in exposed conditions. On hills 'trace boys' would fasten on an extra horse to help pull the tram up the hill, but inspite of this precaution, horses only lasted 4 or 5 years and were sold at John Croalls Horse Bazaar at the corner of Lady Lawson Street and Spittal Street.

Where the Fire Station stands, was the Power Station at West Tollcross. This was used for old cable-cars powered by gas prior to the introduction of electric tramcars. It was demolished and the new fire station was built on the site in 1986.

The first passenger-paying service was introduced between Pilrig and Morningside via the Tollcross junction at that period. By 1906, the SMT (Scottish Motor Traction Company) was formed, and ran a motor-bus service between Waverley and Colinton Road. Their workshops were based on the SMT Triangle at Reigo Street. Their bus body-building depot was located in Valleyfield Street, and they had motor showrooms both in Morrison Street and in Lothian Road. By Castle Terrace, there was a substantial busy bus terminal. On 16th October 1956, a special ceremony took place to mark the end of the electric tramways in the city. This took place between Morningside through Tollcross to Princes Street.

It can be readily seen, that Tollcross has played a very important role in the public transport revolution from the earliest times.


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