The main line opened on 6th September
1897, with the Mayor driving the first tram from the
to Buckland and back, and the Maxton branch opened in
December of the same year. Dover's new electric tramway
was the first in South-East England and only the second
in Britain. The initial cost of the system was £27,000
and the trams proved very popular with the population.
By the end of the first year 1,794,905 passengers had
been carried, rising to 2,710,420 in the year 1900-1901.
The 1901 Census
gave Dover's population as 41,794, which meant, on average,
every man, woman and child in the Borough made 65 journeys
a year. Four new tram cars were delivered in 1898, allowing
a five minute interval service on the main line and
a 10 minute interval service to Maxton.
In 1898 the main line was shortened, the section from
Street being abandoned due to delays caused by trams
having to wait at the Crosswall level crossing over
the railway. In 1902 another tram of more modern design
was delivered. In May 1904 the Corporation acquired
the Dover Electricity Company and no longer had to pay
a private company for the power used by the trams. In
1905 the line was extended from Buckland to River and
four new trams purchased for this service. In 1911 Sunday
services were introduced, and three more trams were
purchased in 1912.