The Changing Face of Irish Transport: From Horse-Drawn Trams to Trains




Ballinamore, Banbridge, County Dublin, County Leitrim, County Louth, Fintona, Howth, Lisburn, Moira, Mullan, Omeath, Portadown





21min 39sec




Standard 8mm

black and white, colour


Digitised as part of Unlocking Film Heritage


A.H. Martin, British Film Institute

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A.H. Martin

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A. H. Martin captures the changing face of transport with enthusiastic detail.

As steam and horses give way to diesel and electric, witness the last horse drawn tram in Ireland.

Can you spot the gunpowder van in the bustling Belfast traffic?  Jaunting cars that taxi passengers zip past. You can see the soft path of ash sprinkled on the tracks to protect the horse’s hooves. Glimpse the rusting shells of steam engines as diesel powered trains sprint across Northern Ireland. The last train to grace your screen starred alongside Sean Connery in The First Great Train Robbery.


The Fintona horse-drawn tram closed in 1957 after 104 years of service by horses all named Dick. There were so many people packed onto the final tram that Dick’s legs gave way. To spare the horse many passengers walked back to town. They reportedly sang, “Last tram to Fintona junction...if you miss this one you’ll never get another one" to the tune of Last Train to San Fernando. It was the second last horse-drawn tram in the UK. You can visit the tramcar in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.


Filmed by A.H. Martin. 

Digitised as part of the BFI's Unlocking Film Heritage project.



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