Horse tram services started 19 August 1872
Electric traction from 13 October 1898 until 4 September 1962
Tramway abandonment's started in 1926, with major route closures from 1956 onwards
Trolleybuses introduced 3 April 1949 - Abandoned 27 May 1967
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488: Last off Burnside by Martin Jenkins
I was delighted to hear that Glasgow Standard 488 is to run again at Carlton
Colville. This is a very special tram for which I retain a strong personal attachment.
Following the disastrous Dalmarnock depot fire of 22nd March 1961 in which 50 cars
were destroyed, Glasgow Corporation returned several recently withdrawn cars to
service and to provide a maximum fleet of available trams a few Standards and
Kilmarnock bogies were kept on the road. Perhaps most significantly they also
re-instated a couple of preserved cars which had already been beautifully restored. These
were round-dash Standard 488 of 1903 and hex-dash Standard 1088 of 1924 both of
which were assigned to Dalmarnock depot. For the enthusiast this was a true Indian
summer. For a few months it was possible to ride and photograph these cars in
all-day service but the end came all too swiftly with replacement of services 18/18A as
from 4th June 1961.
Determined to sample these classic cars for the last time, I made the journey north on
Thursday 1 June 1961 with another enthusiast, the late Allan Clayton. On the Friday, we
spent the entire day riding the surviving Standards and Kilmarnocks and chatting to
the crews most of whom were very friendly and amenable. As a result, we managed to
take the controls for a few short trips. My records show that Standards 585 [Partick
depot] and 1051 [Dalmarnock] were withdrawn after the Friday evening peak hour
and I recall driving 1051 into open section of Dalmarnock for the last time. It was
scrapped shortly afterwards.
Having ascertained that 488 and 1088 were both going to be working the next day, we
were up bright and early. In the morning we rode Kilmarnock bogie cars 1106
[service 9] and 1133 [service 26]. During the mid-morning peak [this was the era of
the 5½ day week] we rode on 1088 on its last-ever duty, a short-working 15 from the
city to Shettleston. I drove the car over the cross-over and then having cleared the
major intersection at Parkhead I again took the controls for the journey back to
Dalmarnock depot. The only Standard now in service was 488. During the afternoon
and early evening, several trips were made to Springburn and from there to either
Burnside  or Shawfield [18A]. I only wish I had recorded the exact time of these
runs. 488 was in immaculate condition - a credit to the workforce at Coplawhill.
Her paint work sparkled and her interior gleamed. She rode splendidly and her
recently renovated body was solid and devoid of the loose joints that had increasingly
bedevilled the neglected Standards. It was like riding a time-warp.
In the late evening, we had a last trip on 1133. After taking a precious
flash-light colour slide, we switched to 488 riding first from the city to Springburn. Having
spoken to the crew earlier in the day, I was permitted to drive the car on its last-ever
cross-city duty from Springburn as far as Ruchill at the junction with the Maryhill
Road. I remember the thrill of taking the Standard round the famous tight curves
either side of the bridge under the Forth & Clyde Canal. At this long distance I don't
recall who else was on board. Some enthusiasts avoided last nights like the plague
but this had seemed too special an occasion to miss and the car was reasonably filled
with fellow-enthusiasts and ordinary passengers. On arrival at Springburn more
flash-light colour slides before the final run into Dalmarnock during which I drove the car
from the cross-over at Dalmarnock into Ruby street and then into the confines of the
The abandonment's of the 3rd June 1961 were significant for different reasons.
Sauchiehall Street was now all bus and Argyle Street ceased to be the last major
British city street to be served exclusively by trams. Historically, 488 became the
last-ever traditional four-wheel British double-decker tram to carry ordinary
fare-paying passengers and I now realise I had the unique privilege of being at the controls
during the final lap of its historic journey. What I would give to put the clock back.
However, now I know I must hang on long enough to hopefully see 488 once again
carrying passengers. That will be quite a day!
Click on any picture to enlarge.
The colour pictures of 488 were taken on 3rd June 1961.
The B&W picture by Hamish Stevenson shows 488 with 1005 standing outside Coplawhill Works prior to an enthusiast tour on 4th June 1961.
The tour would visit Maryhill Depot, Dalmarnock Depot, Tollcross and Coplawhill Car works. This would be the last time that 488 would earn
revenue for GCT.