The first real advance in public transport was the 1870 Tramways Act allowing the formation of companies to construct and operate local
tram systems. Very quickly companies were formed across the county and extensive systems of tram lines laid. Initially the tram cars would be pulled by two horses. In 1879 the Dewsbury, Batley
& Birstall Tramway Co. was one of the first to move from horse power to steam. Initially using small steam tram engines to pull the existing horse cars, but the increased power of steam soon made
it possible to pull far larger cars and by 1900 fully enclosed double decker cars were widely in use.
In the early 1900's steam began to give way to electrification and the counties roads became
lined with posts to support the overhead cables and equipment that supplied power to the trams. (The same system still remains in use at Blackpool.)
Strangely, although nearly every major town in
the county was served by the tram system, Mirfield never was. The line from Dewsbury ended at Fir Cottage near to the Swan public house and the Huddersfield Line ended at Bradley near to the White
Cross public house. The route to join these two points was planned and authorised but was never built. By the 1940's the days of the tram were coming to an end as the more outlying routes began to be
served by more conventional automotive transport.