The Hill of Howth Tram


HOWTH TRAM No. 9 1902-1959

The Hill of Howth Tramway, connected Sutton and Howth Stations via the Summit. Opened in 1901, it encouraged residential and tourist development. The line began working with eight 67-seater trams built by Brush. In 1902, Nos. 9 and 10 were supplied by Milnes, primarily to cater for tourists; this largely explains the unusual lower deck seating arrangement.

The original crimson lake and ivory livery was replaced by varnished grained teak around 1918. Nos. 1-8 received the new GNR bus livery of blue and cream around 1930 but Nos. 9 and 10, seldom seen in service, remained in teak. Reasons for their lack of use included the awkward seating layout and a tendency to derail. Following modifications in the 1950s, their performance improved. By then these two trams were in constant demand and the invariable choice of the many student and enthusiast groups that visited the line in its twilight years.

Driven by Christy Hanway and with Conductor Alfie Reilly, No. 9 was the last tram to run in public service on the Hill of Howth on 31st May 1959, thus closing Ireland's first tramway era. Following the closure, No. 10 went to Britain's National Tramway Museum at Crich in Derbyshire, while No. 2 went to California and No. 4 to Belfast. Due to vandalism and apathy, No. 9 was the only survivor of three cars set aside for inclusion in a future museum here, Nos. 3 and 11 (the Engineer's or Work Car) being lost.

During years of outdoor storage, vandals, souvenir hunters and the elements reduced No. 9 to a pitiful hulk, most of its fittings and equipment being stolen. Restoration began in Castleruddery in 1979, and was completed fourteen years later in Howth. Many items had to be reproduced, while suitable motors, control gear etc. obtained from the Amsterdam Tramways and the Beamish Museum will, in time, enable this very historic tram to run again.

© Dublin City Public Libraries

previousPrevious - Dublin Trams
Next - Copyright and Acknowledgementsnext