Causeway tram

Location: Ulster Transport Museum / Rail & Road Galleries / Rail Gallery

The Giants Causeway tram was the first hydro-electric tram in the world. The tramway ran from 1883 to 1949 linking the Giants Causeway with the nearby town of Portrush. It was pioneered by William Acheson Traill and his brother Dr Anthony Traill from Bushmills.

The tram commenced running from January 1883, however the official opening did not take place until the 25th September when Lord Spencer, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland performed the opening ceremony in open car No.3. The tram set off from the railway station at Portrush passing Whiterocks and Dunluce Castle before turning inland to the town of Bushmills, a distance of 6 miles.

In 1887 the line was extended a further 2 miles to the world famous tourist attraction the Giants Causeway. In the early days of the line two steam trams pulled the trams through the streets of Portrush until an overhead power line was introduced in 1899. Originally the open motor trams had no canopies but when a trolleyhead fell and struck a passenger it was decided to add canopies to all the fleet.

The trams were auctioned off in 1951 and many ended their days as chicken coops or sheds. Saloon car No.2 and No.5 were fortunate however and were taken in by the Belfast Transport Museum (later becoming the Ulster Transport Museum) and restored.