By Bill Garrioch
Sec. National Transport MuseumThe Dublin United Tramway Company L.T.D (known as the D.U.T) came into being in 1896, and this was an amalgamation of all the Horse Drawn Systems, and early electric trams. It was before this take over that the first electric tram came to Dalkey, operated by the Dublin Southern District L.T.D. in the shape of small open front electric trams. These eventually gave way to open toppers. and balcony came during the twenty's, and standard enclosed trams, which were the mainstay of the fleet. The enclosed and balcony cars lasted to the end of the D.U.T. system. From 1932 onward the Dublin Luxury Car was put into service, and were renowned for their comfort, speed and efficiency.
All of the Dublin Trams, apart from the early cars. were built at Inchicore, and were regarded as the most handsome trams in the world, built to the highest standard of craftsmanship. The system itself being recognised as one of the best in Europe.
The D.U.T. invented many electrical improvements which were adopted world wide, and still in use to-day. The Quaney Patent for example, was a devise to stop live trolley wire, from falling on to the road, should it break, and it is still in use, where there is an overhead electric system. The D.U.T developed and perfected the system, of changing points without a staff member having to leave the car.
The D.U.T. was a very efficient system providing a service every 3 to 4 minutes, but alas in July 1949 the system was closed, the Dalkey route servicing to the last day. People came from far and wide, as well as local people, to ride on the last tram, it left Nelson’s Pillar packed to overflowing, and the streets of Dalkey were crowded to welcome it at the end of its last journey. Later in the evening it was stripped of everything removable by souvenir hunters. It was the end of an era.
Happily some of the tram bodies survive to-day and two bogie standards have been acquired by the National Transport Museum in Howth. Number 253 is being restored under a FAS project in Cabra, and should be ready by the summer. Number 284 will be converted into a balcony car. Negotiations are taking place for a Dublin car, that resided at Barnhill Road Dalkey some 39 years.
The Director’s Car was regarded as the finest tram ever built, being fitted out by Clerys of Dublin at the turn of the century, and was kept as the Royal Tram to carry dignitaries and visiting foreign officials, it was sold to Mr H. Porter in 1949.
The trams will eventually be restored to working order, and will be displayed at the National Transport Museum, Howth Castle.
The Museum at Howth Castle, is open Saturdays and Sundays, Bank Holidays from 2 to 6pm