THE photographs in this week’s trip down West Fife’s Memory Lane feature the trams which operated in and around Dunfermline from 1909 until 1937.  

Before the introduction of its tram system, Dunfermline at the beginning of the 20th century was like any other town of similar size the length and breadth of the country, reliant on railways and the local stagecoach owners to move the town’s residents from place to place.  

Many big towns throughout Scotland already had a tram system by this time but what had held up Dunfermline District Tramways was the lack of a local supplier of electricity that could maintain the necessary volume and power required to operate a network of trams.  

When Townhill Power Station came on line in 1906, that changed the situation and allowed planning and construction to commence.  

Our main photograph shows the trams running along Dunfermline High Street at its junction with Guildhall Street – a very busy-looking scene. In addition to the tram in the distance advertising Hodgsons China warehouse in the town’s Kirkgate, there are also some horse-drawn vehicles visible in the picture. 

Our next photograph shows the tracks being laid in East Port Street near its junction with Viewfield Terrace for this new form of transport in September 1909. 

It took one hundred men armed with just picks and shovels to build this first stretch of six-and-a-half miles running out to Cowdenbeath which was completed in just 10 weeks.

This new link was an important one for people from the Cowdenbeath and Lochgelly area who were employed in the many linen and silk mills in Dunfermline, with the trams being exceptionally busy transporting them to and from work. 

On November 3, 1909 an additional branch line opened serving Townhill.

An extension to Rumblingwell was added on December 27, 1913, and our next photograph shows a tram on that line in Chalmers Street approaching the junction with Pittencrieff Street.  

On May 27, 1918, the final branch was opened to serve Rosyth Dockyard, and our final photograph shows a tram sitting at the terminus for the Rosyth service which was situated outside the Alhambra Theatre in the New Row. 

The trams were only permitted to travel at 16mph and when motor buses later appeared on the scene with the ability to travel faster, this heralded the decline of the trams, leading eventually to the end of the service.  

In 1937, the vehicles were taken off track and stored on the Crossgates to Cowdenbeath road until they were dismantled and scrapped.

More photographs like these can be seen in Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries (an appointment to do so has to be made at present due to COVID restrictions) and also at 

A series of ‘Old Dunfermline’ DVDs featuring old images and archive footage of Dunfermline are available online at 

With thanks to Frank Connelly.