It was a city institution that served Glaswegians for 90 years, and even though something modern and ‘better’ was to take its place, many were sad to say goodbye to it.

We are of course talking about the Glasgow Corporation Tramways which was one of the largest tram networks in Europe in its heyday.

Operating from 1872 until 1962, the system covered over 100 route miles from the city centre stretching out as far as Clydebank, Paisley, Uddingston, Renfrew, Airdrie, and Milngavie.

Glasgow Times:

It was one of the last city tram systems in Britain before other major cities, like Edinburgh and Manchester, had theirs modernised.

As the path was set for the influx of new trolley and diesel buses in Glasgow, the tram was ‘winded down’ from the late 1940s until 1962.

A clip unearthed from the BBC archive in 1962 follows the number 9, the last service to be withdrawn, on its route from Dalmarnock depot to Auchenshuggle and the famous ‘London Road route’ travelling via Bridgeton Cross, Argyle Street and Trongate before entering the city centre.

Glasgow Times:

From there, the number 9 travelled along Dumbarton Road in Partick, through Clydebank before ending in Dalmuir.

The dedicated tram driver told film crews of his feelings about the impending demise of the system: “I’m sure folks will miss them. They were handy, they moved tens of thousands in football matches.”

“On a bus, you’re overcrowded, you have the fumes from the ghastly diesel, whereas on the tram you were free from all that.

“There was a degree of dust in the summer weather, but I rather think the tram vastly outweighed the bus.

“People didn’t even need to read – they knew the blue car went one way, the white another, and the yellow another.”

Glasgow Times: Tram at Anderston. Photo: Mortons Books.Tram at Anderston. Photo: Mortons Books. (Image: Mortons Books)

Unlike today where we have numbered services, the tram’s colour scheme meant that everyone knew where they were going from a single glance – red cars went to Springburn, blue cars travelled to Maryhill, and green cars were destined for Paisley and Airdrie.

The conductor added that while buses would probably result in “much faster-moving traffic”, riding a tram in Glasgow was an experience in itself.

“It was a long journey in those days but a most enjoyable one,” he said. “You could get out on the top of the tram in the open air and see the country as you ambled along.”

Glasgow Times:

One thing you notice in the old clips of the tram journeys was that many of the conductors – or ‘clippies’ – were women. Glasgow was one of the first cities in the country to hire women in transport roles, as the city relied on them to keep its thriving industries going during the war.

In fact, Glasgow’s tramway had a unique track gauge of 4ft 7 and three-quarter inches to allow standard railway wagons to access the city’s shipyards at Govan.

Glasgow Times: Glasgow tram 'jubilee', 1922. Photo from Glasgow City Archives.Glasgow tram 'jubilee', 1922. Photo from Glasgow City Archives. (Image: Glasgow City Archives)

Another special aspect of Glasgow’s trams is the sense of pride Glaswegians had in their ever-reliable system. So proud were the public of the magnificent shuttles getting them from A to B that crowds of people poured onto the streets on August 11, 1922, to celebrate its ‘jubilee’.

This turnout was mirrored over forty years later when the final service travelled between Anderston Cross and Auchenshuggle.

Over a quarter of a million people turned up to bid farewell to their beloved trams and watch the final procession, truly marking the end of an era.

Do you wish we still had trams in Glasgow?