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The Great Grimsby Street Tramways system was initially authorised by the Great Grimsby Street Tramways Act 1879 and opened on the 4th June 1881 using horse drawn trams on standard gauge track . They ran from the depot in Park Street, to Bargate in Grimsby. A branch departed the main line at Riby Square to serve Freeman Street. In 1887 the main route was extended to Cleethorpes. The system was operated by the Great Grimsby Street Tramways Company a subsidiary of the Provincial Tramways Company.
In 1901, the horse tramway was replaced with an electric tramway with a new depot in Pelham Road, Cleethorpes. The route was extended to People’s Park in Grimsby and Brighton Street in Cleethorpes. Six trailer cars were operated until 1918, mainly on football match days, in addition to 31 four-wheeled double-deck electric cars. An open touring car was built in 1922.
After long proceedings, in 1925 Grimsby Corporation bought the part of the tramway within Grimsby and in January 1927 moved its operation into a depot in Victoria Street an old sea plane hangar. As the rolling stock was showing signs of age, the Corporation purchased sixteen tramcars from the Sunderland District Tramways. The Freeman Street trams were replaced by trolleybuses on 3rd October 1926 and extended to Weelsby Road. The People's Park segment of the line closed on 3rd June 1928.
The line from the Old Market to Cleethorpes remained open with high traffic and In July 1936, the Cleethorpes Urban District Council, which became a Municipal Borough about the same time, bought the tramway in their area and operated the trams jointly with Grimsby. However there had been discussions over converting the tramway to a joint trolleybus operation. The conversion started on the 22nd November 1936 with the Grimsby section although a few trams remained in operation between Riby Square, Park Street and Cleethorpes until 1st April 1937 and conversion was completed on the 18th July 1937 with the Cleethorpes section which was extended to the Bathing Pool. The trolleybus operation along Freeman Street and Hainton Avenue was abandoned in October 1955 and the ‘main road’ route on the 4th June 1960.
Grimsby and Cleethorpes Transport departments amalgamated on the 1st January 1957, following which the Cleethorpes depot which had been the GGST depot from 1901 was closed on the 15th April 1957 and the premises let. The Grimsby Depot became the base for the joint operation and is still in use by Stagecoach Grimsby-Cleethorpes.