Trams Pulled by Horses

Tram on Micklegate 1905-9 with Dobbin, a horse that helped to pull up that hill (c) CYC - Imagine York

Road transport changed significantly in 19th century York.  By 1841 horse-drawn buses were running in the city, but these were largely replaced by trams by the end of the century. 

With the support of the corporation the York Tramways Company was formed in 1879.  A line from Castle Mills Bridge to Fulford was opened the following year.  Horse-drawn buses took passengers to and from the city centre and the bridge.

For the first few months a steam tram was trialled, but soon horses were pulling the trams.  The line was extended through Tower Street, Clifford Street, Ouse Bridge and Micklegate to the Mount by 1882, with a branch along Rougier Street to connect with the new railway station.

Micklegate is a fairly steep incline and an extra horse was needed to pull up the hill.  A horse called Dobbin did the job for many years, waiting at the bottom of the hill until the next tram came along.  He would be hooked up, do his work and then be released to make his own way back down to his position outside the Post Office.

The tramway system was taken over by the newly formed City of York Tramways Company in 1886.  The system was converted to electric trams in 1909.

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