IT may be taking longer than many would like, but there's an electric transport revolution at last beginning to be noticed on the streets of York.

In March this year, the city council was awarded more than £8.4 million from the Department for Transport to buy 44 new electric buses. They will be used on First’s routes 1, 4, 5 and 6, for the York Hospital shuttle bus and on Park&Ride route 2. And, when they come into service, they will mean the city has a fleet of 77 all-electric buses.

An electric car charging hyperhub opened at Monks Cross in June (albeit a year late), with a second due to open at Poppleton in the summer. And there are increasing calls for a trial of an electric shuttle bus to boost access to the city centre for people with mobility issues.

We'll only see a genuine revolution, of course, when most people switch from petrol or diesel-powered cars to electric. But the hyperhubs - and the growing number of smaller charging centres in car parks around the city - will surely bring that day closer.

None of this is really a revolution at all, of course. It's more a case of 'back to the future'. Because well over a century ago, in January 1910, York entered the electric transport age for the first time when the city introduced its new network of electric trams and trolleybusses.

York Press:

The official opening of York City Trams by the Lord Mayor and Corporation, January 20, 1910

The city's new tram network was officially opened on January 20, 1910, by the Lord Mayor (we think it would have been James Birch) and other members of the City Corporation.

They were photographed travelling around York on top of one of the new electric trams. Huge crowds gathered in Clifford Street for a first glimpse of these wonders of technology.

Our photos today come from Explore York Libraries and Archives. They capture the full glory of York's golden age of the electric tram.

At its height, there were dozens of electric trams operating on routes across the city - as well as a handful of electric trolleybuses.

York Press:

One of York’s ‘new’ electric trams opposite the barracks in Fulford Road, January 1910

Sadly, it didn't last. In April 1934, the city's tram network merged operations with the West Yorkshire Road Car Company - and 18 months later, following a decision to abandon electric, all six of the city's tram routes had closed.

Let's hope today's electric transport revolution is a little more long-lasting.

  • All today's photographs comes from Explore York Libraries and Archives. Countless more images like this can be found on its digital databank at