Hill of Howth No.10

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Photo: Jim Dignan

Number 10 was one of two additional cars ordered from G.F. Milnes & Co. shortly after the opening in 1901 of the five and a quarter mile long Hill of Howth tramway, which was situated on a rocky promontory to the north-east of Dublin. For most of its life the tramway was operated by the Great Northern Railway (Ireland) and, by the time of its closure in 1959, was the last one left in Ireland.

The tramway itself led a somewhat precarious existence since the receipts that were mostly generated by the tourist traffic to the hill’s 560 foot summit were insufficient to cover the interest charges on the initial capital construction costs. Despite this handicap, it somehow managed to keep going for some 30 years after its closure was first mooted, possibly because it was seen as a way of providing more customers for the company’s railway operations.

The rationale for purchasing Hill of Howth 10 and its stable-mate number 9 is not entirely clear either, since the tramway managed to function for most of its existence with the original fleet of 8 cars. The newcomers were not only largely surplus to requirements but in many respects were also singularly unsuitable for the system as their extra length and absence of cross-springs between the bogies made them much more prone to derailment than the rest of the fleet.

Consequently, they were only rarely allowed down to Howth itself and for many years were largely reserved for peak traffic periods. Because they were so little used, both cars still retained their original chilled-iron wheels dating back to 1902 at the time the line closed over half a century later.

Specification

Type of tram
Electric double deck open-topped tram
Livery
Teak (originally crimson lake and ivory)
Seating capacity
73 (41 upstairs, 32 inside)
Date built
1902
Manufacturer of body
G.F. Milnes & Co
Manufacturer of truck
Peckham 14 D-5 Maximum Traction bogies
Gauge
Originally 5' 3"; now 4’ 8½” (re-gauged by TMS on acquisition)
Motor
GE 67 2 x 40 hp
Controller
BTH B18 (though should be B49)
Current collector
Trolley pole
Modification

1908 installation of glazed windows on lower deck
WW1 – original livery replaced by a ‘grained mahogany’ finish at a time when pigments were scarce.
1957 cross-springs from withdrawn cars 5 & 8 were attached to cars 9 and 10 thereby improving their performance

Withdrawn from service

31 May 1959 on closure of the tramway

Subsequent history

Acquired by the TMS and transported to Crich in January 1960

Restoration history

Regauged to 4′ 81/2”

Current status
Conserved; on display (non-operational)
Total mileage covered at Crich
0 (but it is estimated to have covered approximately 2,800 miles while operating in Blackpool in 1985 and 1986)
Current location
Exhibition Hall
Timeline
  • 1902 – 1959Fully operational on original tramway
  • 1960 – 1971On display
  • 1971 – 1985In storage
  • 1985 – 1989Operational at Blackpool
  • 1989 –On display at Crich

Crich Tramway Village is a brand name for the National Tramway Museum (Accredited with Arts Council England), solely owned and operated by The Tramway Museum Society, incorporated in England with liability by guarantee (no. 744229). Registered charity number 313615. Our ICO number is Z6700136.