A Popular Tramway

The line to Chapelizod was opened on the 11st June 1881 and the following notice appeared in the Irish Builder:

"The Dublin and Lucan Steam Tramway

This tramway line is expected to be opened in a few days as far as Palmerstown. The line is a 3ft gauge, and the starting point will be near the terminus of the city tramways.

The steam tramcar is known as Parrett's patent. Messrs Manlive, Alliot, Tryer & Co of Nottingham built the one already furnished for this line. It will carry 42 passengers, 18 inside and 24 outside, and when fully laden will be about eight tons in weight. It has two boilers, one at either end, and these are built into the car. The engines have two cylinders, and together with the machinery, are under the floor. There is a roof surmounting the top of the car, serving the double purpose of protecting the passengers from the weather and from the heated air escaping from the funnels, two in number. The engine is a high-pressure one, consuming its own smoke, and the car, as a whole, is narrower and lighter looking in appearance than the ordinary horse trams".

By November of that year traffic returns showed 1,701 passengers had been carried. Due to lack of capital, the completion of the line to Lucan was delayed up and the official opening of the Dublin to Lucan Steam Tramway did not take place until 20th February 1883.

That the line was very popular can be seen from the half yearly returns for August 1883, which showed that 82,968 passengers had been carried. The Directors were at a loss to know where all the people were coming from, stating that some were coming in from Celbridge to use the line instead of the railway. It was noted that on the previous Sunday night 200 persons had been left behind at Chapelizod, this due to lack of accommodation despite 34 double journeys being made that day. By February 1887 passenger traffic had risen to 135,177 and goods traffic had risen to 150 to 200 tons per week.

The Dublin and Blessington Steam Tramway Company was developed under the same Act. A line was developed from Terenure to Blessington, a length of 15 1/2 miles. By contrast, the area to be serviced by the tramway was sparsely populated so it was anticipated that the main income would come from the transportation of produce in the form of cattle from the farms and stone from the many quarries along the route.

Excursions for both school outing and race meetings were a feature of both lines. The following report is of an outing of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland on Wednesday September 30th 1896.

"Excursion to Lucan and Leixlip

Start was made by special train on the Lucan Steam Tramway from Parkgate Street, at 10.10 a.m. The cars stopped at Chapelizod and a visit was paid to the Cromlech, near by, in the Phoenix Park. Then, descending to the village, the party was received in the church by he Rector. The journey was then continued to Palmerstown where the old church was examined. Thence to Lucan, which was reached soon after noon. A short walk southward brought the party to a dun in which is a souterrain known as the 'cave'. Returning to the village the journey was continued to the Spa Hotel where luncheon was provided".

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