Tramways in Exeter were operated between 1882 and 1931. The first horse-drawn trams were operated by the Exeter Tramway Company but in 1904 the Exeter Corporation took over. They closed the old network and replaced it with a new one powered by electricity. 

Once completed the system operated three routes:

  • Cross Park Terrace (Heavitree) to Cowick Street, via Paris Street, High Street and the Exe Bridge.
  • Abbey Road junction with Pinhoe Road to Stone Lane junction with Alphington Road, via Sidwell Street, High Street and the Exe Bridge.
  • Exeter St. David's Station to Pinhoe Road via Hele Road. Some trams terminated at Queen Street.

In January 1931 the service along Alphington Road ended and the final trams ran on 19 August 1931. The last every tram was driven by Mr E.C. Perry who as mayor, had driven the first tram. The last tram, car 14, was followed by a double decker bus to usher in the new age. One of the tramcars (No. 19) survived and was restored on the Seaton Tramway but as a single deck tram. 


Exeter Civic Society For fifty years from 1882, trams trundled noisily along the streets of Exeter, drawn initially by horses but later powered by electricity. Welcomed as the 'Workman's Car', trams took people to work, to shop or to enjoy themselves and were an affordable way of getting around the growing city. In 1931, however, the tram was superseded by the bus, which was seen as a more flexible method of public transport for the age of the motor car.

Exeter and the Trams, 1882-1931 traces the history of the trams in Exeter and, with illustrations from period photographs, will be of interest to those who want to know more about Exeter in late Victorian times and the early twentieth century and also to tram enthusiasts. 


Exeter Memories The first car ran on the 6th April 1882 from the Bude Hotel, Sidwell Street to St Lukes College. The last horse drawn tram ran on the 4th April 1905, when it preceded the first electric tram at 12.32pm from the Guildhall. It turned off down New North Road, to the tram shed and retirement. At 12.31 on Tuesday 4th April 1905, the Mayor E C Perry took the controls of the first tram of five to run along the High Street, down Paris Street to Livery Dole and back to the Guildhall. The Mayoress was presented with a bouquet with an attached shoe from one of the retiring horses. The procession was led by one of the old horse trams; the 22 horses were sold off for the total of £282-8-0d.  In 1929, single decker buses were introduced by the Council as feeders to the trams. Their success led to a decision to replace the trams with buses and on 15th August 1931, the last flag bedecked tram was driven by Councillor Perry into the tram shed for the final time. 


Seaton Tramway Tram 19 - 1906 - Ex-Exeter Tramway Car built in 1906. An Exeter Corporation Tramways 3'6" gauge open topper, 1906 - 1931. Rebuilt at Seaton, 1994-1998. The only Exeter tram in preservation. Enclosed tram for wet weather. 

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