65 years since the last tram in Airdrie and Coatbridge

The Airdrie and Coatbridge Tramway Company launched their first tram service on the 8th February 1904 but the story of trams in Monkland can be traced back to the 16th November 1871 when the Glasgow and Monklands District Tramway Company brought out a bill to be presented to the UK Parliament to construct a tramway, By the 30th November another company (Glasgow, Coatbridge and Airdrie Tramways Company) had introduced a bill. Both bills were promoted in the 1872 session of Parliament but were thrown out because they were too competitive

No new tramway schemes were heard of again until the 29th September 1896 when a joint committee of the Coatbridge Burgh Council and Airdrie Burgh Council met to consider a tramway, meetings were held in the Municipal Building (Kildonan Street), Coatbridge under the direction of Provost Arthur of Airdrie and by the 5th November the Town Clark of Airdrie stated that the New General Traction Company Limited of London wished to submit a tramway plan for consideration. In November 1987 the British Electric Traction Company gave public notice of its intention to apply to the Light Railway Commission for an order under the Light Railway Act 1896 for a tramway to run in Airdrie only and after several meeting of the Joint Tramway Committee of Airdrie and Coatbridge, on the 1st February 1898 the committee agreed to support the order. On the 12th December 1900 the Airdrie and Coatbridge tramway was signed off and on the 7th February 1901 the Coatbridge Town Council approved the tramway and an order was placed through Parliament in 1902. The tramway was built and started service on the 8th February 1904 .

The plan for the Airdrie and Coatbridge Tramway

The tramway was planned by Coatbridge Burgh Council and Airdrie Burgh Council in 1900

In the borough of Coatbridge

Tramway 1 – Wood Street – Southburn/Quarry Roe at Parish Boundary. Double line 2 furlongs, 4 chains; single line 1 mile, 5 furlongs, 7.5 chains. Total 1 mile, 7 furlongs 7.5 chains

Tramway 2 – Sunnyside Road from tramway at Whitelaw Fountain off Bank Street. Single line 3 furlongs, 3.6 chains; double line 7 chains. Total – 4 Furlongs, 1.6 chains

Tramway 3 – Side of triangular junction Bank Street, Sunnyside Road at Whitelaw Fountain. Signal line 2.25 chains

In the borough of Airdrie

Tramway 4 – At Borough Boundary Southburn/Quarry Row – Motherwell Street. Single line 1 mile, 3 furlongs, 3.8 chains. Double line 1 furlong, 8 chains. Total 1 mile, 5 furlongs, 0.3 chains

Tramway 4a – Off Deedes Street down Rochsolloch Road to land to be acquired for new power station. Single lane 8 chains

Tramway 5 – Motherwell Street – Clarkston Church. Single lane 6 furlongs, 2.3 chains. Double line 9 chains. Total – 7 furlongs 1.3 chains

Under the Airdrie and Coatbridge Tramway Act of 1900 only tramway No 4,4a and 5 were approved but only Tramway 4 was built.

In 1901 the Board of trade made a provisional order approving on Tramway No 1,2 and 3 but only Tramway No 1 was built

Conversion Table 1 Chain = 66 Feet, 1 Furlong = 220 Yards

The Trams

The Airdrie and Coatbridge Tramway Company Purchased 12 trams from the Brush Electrical Engineering Company in 1903 (Numbered 1 – 12) with 3 more trams in 1905 (Numbered 13 – 15) and operated on the Airdrie and Coatbridge Route until December 1923, the trams then transferred to Elderslie (Paisley) depot as design of the trams was better suited to the Paisley routes. The trams were re-numbered to 1073-1087

During 1923/1924 Glasgow Corporation Tramways starting moving some of their “standard cars” (trams) to Coatbridge, by the mid 1930’s Glasgow started to move some of the Mark 1 “Coronation” Class trams to Coatbridge for the high speed serviced, during this time the original trams built for the Airdrie and Coatbridge Tramway Company were scrapped with A&C No 1 (GCT No 1073) being the last to be scrapped in January 1935 .

Transfer to Glasgow Corporation

On the 1st January 1922 operation on the Airdrie and Coatbridge Tramway Company was transferred to Glasgow Corporation Tramways although discussion on the merger started in November 1921 with the Airdrie and Coatbridge Tramway trustees agreeing that the undertaking and stores along with revenue from the 1st October 1920 to the 19th December 1921 be passed to Glasgow Corporation and that they pay 7% to the Town Council of Airdrie and Coatbridge and a draft order was placed in February 1922 and received Royal assent in April 1922. By the end of April almost all traces of the old Airdrie and Coatbridge Tramway Company had disappeared with the new section of track between Langloan and Baillieston starting to be built between May and August 1922 and in 1923 the remaining single track in Airdrie and Coatbridge was converted to Double Track This was completed by 1924.

The closure

Glasgow Corporation Tramways continued to operate the tramway in Airdrie and Coatbridge until the 4th November 1956 when the section of track between Airdrie and Baillieston closed to passengers. The closure of the Airdrie and Coatbridge route was discussed at the meeting of the Glasgow Corporation on the 2nd February 1959 that service No 15 between Baillieston and Airdrie and the Airdrie Local service be scrapped

On the last day of operation tram no 1251 operated the last passenger tram into Airdrie (from Glasgow) and prepared to operate the last tram in Airdrie and Coatbridge, the tram left at 1.02am and ran to Baillieston (arrived at 1.32am) the tram was turned around and then returned to the Coatbridge depot for the last time. Crowd’s gathered along the route to mark the last tram, the crowd cheered and Driver Murdoch smiled and waved. At 2.00 am the tram entered the depot marking the end of the tram in Monklands, this also marked the closure of one of the longest tram routes in Europe