Dublin Central Tramways Company

The Dublin Central Tramways Company was the smallest and youngest constituent of the three horse tramway companies that would eventually merge to form the Dublin United Tramways Company. It was incorporated in 1878, presumably by the same act that granted the promoters powers to build its various tramway lines. The company reached agreement with a contractor (and director of the North Dublin Street Tramways Company) — William Martin Murphy — on the 3rd September 1878 to construct the authorised tramways. On completion of the tramways, Murphy took a stake in the company, and was made a director; he was destined to play a major role in the development of Dublin's tramways, and in particular, the DCTCo and NDSTCo's successor, the DUTCo.

The DCTCo's Dublin network comprised 6.5 route miles, and was built to the Irish Standard Gauge, i.e., 5ft 3ins. Its three horse-drawn routes all commenced from a terminus at College Green, from whence they ran southwards over the tracks of the North Dublin Street Tramways Company along Dame Street, to reach its own tracks at South Great George Street. The NDSTCo had initially objected to the the DCTCo's proposals, but soon struck up a constructive relationship that benefited both concerns. From South Great George Street, the tramway continued southwards to Kellys Corner (the junction of Camden, Harrington and Harcourt Streets). Here the routes diverged, the line to Rathfarnham heading westwards along Harrington Street, through Terenure, to a terminus at Church Lane, the main line heading eastwards along Harcourt Street, then southwards through Ranelagh Triangle and Charleston Road to a terminus at Palmerston Park. The third route branched off the main line at Ranelagh Triangle, heading southeastwards along Ranelagh Road to a terminus near Vergemount, the destination being given as Clonkskea.

The first route to open was out to Clonkskea (17th March 1879), followed by the main line to Palmerston Park (3rd May 1879), and the Rathfarnham route, which was opened in two stages, to Terenure (on the 22nd June 1879), and in full at the end of the month.

Rather than obstructing each other, which served neither the populace nor their shareholders, the three main horse tramway companies — the Dublin Tramways Company (16.5 miles; 82 tramcars), the North Dublin Street Tramways Company (8 miles; 25 tramcars) and the Dublin Central Tramways Company (6.5 miles; 30 tramcars) — agreed, on the 13th July 1880, to merge into one larger entity, to be called the Dublin United Tramways Company. The amalgamation required legislation — the Dublin United Tramways (Amalgamation of Companies) Act of 1881 — the DUTCo formally coming into being on the 1st July 1881.

Photographs which unequivocally date from the period before the amalgamation that formed the DUTCo, i.e., between 17th March 1879 and the 30th June 1881, appear not to have survived, so it is currently impossible to say whether or not DCTCo horsecar crews wore uniforms, or for that matter, any form of insignia such as cap badges or licence badges. However, given that the successor company — the DUTCo — did not see fit to issue uniforms to its staff until the advent of electrified services, some sixteen years after its formation, it seems highly likely that staff of the DCTCo simply wore informal attire: jackets, shirt and ties, and the fashionable headgear of the day, in all probability the bowler hat.

Further reading
For a short history of this system, see: 'Through Streets Broad and Narrow' by Michael Corcoran; Midland Publishing (2000).