City of Derry Tramways

Derry's tramway system, which was owned by the City of Derry Tramways Company, was opened rather late in the day for a horse-operated concern, December 1897. It struggled financially and finally closed in 1919.

Photographs depicting Derry tramcars are very scarce indeed, and those which have survived only show the men working the vehicles indistinctly, and at a distance. They do however reveal that staff wore informal attire, including robust jacket, shirt and tie, and the fashionable headgear of the day, either the bowler hat or the flat cap. No badges of any kind, including a licence, appear to have been worn.

In 1901, the company employed eight drivers, eight conductors and one inspector.

It is unclear whether or not the inspector was issued with a uniform, as neither photos nor documentary evidence have survived.

Further reading
For a history of the system, see: 'The City of Derry Tramways' by A T Newham, in the Tramway Review, Nos 70 (p168-178) and 71 (p195-200); Light Railway Transport League (1972). For an overview of the Irish tram scene, including the Derry Tramways, see 'Irish Trams' by James Kilroy; Colourpoint Books (1996).


Horse tram drivers and conductors
Derry Tram Waterloo Place
A blow-up of a superb photo of Waterloo Place, depicting a nicely turned-out, two-horse tramcar with the driver, gazing backwards, clearly in informal attire, wearing a flat cap - photo undated, but probably early Edwardian. Original photo believed to be by Robert French, and held in the National Library of Ireland.

City of Derry Tramways Tram No 6
A rather careworn Tramcar No 6 in John St, with the conductor (on the rear platform) observing a rather keen passenger, mid-leap - photo undated, but probably taken in the second decade of the 20th Century judging by the fashions and the condition of the vehicle. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.